Many were shocked when former Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino left the Cardinal program to head to Atlanta in the NFL. Petrino was a successful college coach, but took the big contract the Falcons were willing to pay (five year, $24 million contract) to help Michael Vick reach his full potential. Oops!
I’m torn on this, because I always try to relate these stories to my own personal life, but it’s difficult to do. First, I truly believe that a person has a right to make their own choices to better themselves. We’ve all left jobs for something better. I get that and there’s apart of me that says, if you can get it, go for it. I would do the same thing, anybody would.
However, what I don’t understand, is when a coach signs a contract and then opts out for the next best option that comes along. In this case, Petrino didn’t even make it a full season, lasting just 13 games. I understand he didn’t get the job that was advertised. His starting quarterback, his pet project to help Vick reach his potential was tossed in the slammer and he was left with re-treads to replace him, but Petrino signed a contract. He gave the Falcons a commitment for five years. Yes, absolutely, the Falcons could fire him before that time, but Petrino would have been compensated.
I just feel if you sign a contract for millions of dollars, there should be more of a commitment. Will the NFL wake up and realize that hiring college coaches may not be the best move, but rather move up through the ranks promoting coordinators or assistant coaches. I also find it ironic how all of these NFL moves involve the SEC.
Off the top of my head, I remember Dennis Franchione skipping out on Tuscaloosa for the Texas A&M job and never saying goodbye to his Crimson Tide players face to face. Then you had Steve Spurrier who was going to take his visor throwing antics from Florida to Washington and bring the Redskins back to their glory days. He lasted two seasons going 12-20 before heading back to South Carolina of the SEC. Then of course there was Nick Saban, who led the LSU Tigers of the SEC. He denied over and over he wasn’t leaving the Dolphins, before he bolted for the Crimson Tide, also of the SEC. Saban really tore up the NFL with his Greg Norman goofy looking straw hat, going 15-17 in Miami. (Although that’s better than the 0-13 record they have now).
What do you think? Should coaches be held more accountable or are they free to come and go to the SEC as they please? Send me your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
"…what I don’t understand, is when a coach signs a contract and then opts out for the next best option that comes along." What’s not to understand? Owners can terminate the contracts of players and coaches for no reason at all. So, if there’s nothing to hold owners to every year of a signed contract – and there isn’t, just check the collective bargaining agreement – then why should players and coaches be expected to be the "loyal" ones? Unfortunately, this is what the sports world has become. When we were kids, we knew pretty much who the coaches and players would be every year on any given team. Now, there’s so much movement by all involved, the genie is out of the bottle and won’t go back. Compounding the situation is "money-first" owners like Jerry Jones. I stopped looking for loyalty in sports many years ago. When you find it, be pleasantly surprised. But, there’s no need to complain when it’s not there. That’s the norm now.
Kevin C, Dallas, TX
As for the coaches and the SEC, it’s a sad sign of the times. Instead of condoning it though, you can only hope that any players and/or fans of the SEC will be so negatively influenced by these so called role models, that it will all someday backfire. These SEC coaches have given everyone a valuable, and free lesson on what is wrong, and what not to do. As they continue to fail in their endeavors, their selfish motivations may backfire, and their disciples will not fall into the same traps or patterns in the future.
To be good and excel in any sport requires perseverance. Coaches should understand and instill that beyond anyone else, and yet, that’s not what this group of yahoos is demonstrating. Do as I say, not as I do will be their lasting impression. But hopefully a byproduct of all this will be a character builder for the players and fans of today, as they become the coaches of tomorrow. Perhaps there are players somewhere in the SEC who will remember this period of coaches abandoning everything they preach, and turn it around when they themselves become coaches. Perhaps they’ll want to see things through, and remain loyal and committed to their own players and organizations who have made a commitment to them. Perhaps reaching goals and leaving lasting, positive impressions on young players is an intangible success beyond monetary gain. Just takes that right kind of character, someone who’s willing to work hard and possibly take the more difficult path, who’s not constantly looking for the easy escape route. Of course, there’s always leaving Cleveland in the middle of the night and high tailing it straight to Baltimore!
Jeff W, Chicago IL
"How foolish the owners have become over all these years…… Players win ball games and players loose ball…. Coaches, well they are just real lucky to have a place to stand on the side lines. Name one great team that was not full of great players!!!!!! Yes, one can make the argument that the "coach does matter", but when you discuss the winning teams like the Patriots, Dallas, Packers, etc… the discussion will include quarterbacks, running backs and receivers…….
Give me great players with just a decent coach and I will beat you every time with your so called great coach and decent players….
Jamie S, TX