Coaching Players Off the Field

Friday, November 14, 2008

As a football coach at a college university there should be two objectives, win football games and mold good men. The Liberty Mutual College Coach of the Year Award is meant to be awarded to a coach that does both extraordinarily. In my first post about the award I broke down coaching football into Integrity, Sportsmanship, Responsibility and Excellence. In my last post I talked how much responsibility a coach has to his community. In this post I will break down the current leaders and eliminate some who have not shown this year that they are both excellent on and off the field. First let's take a look at the current candidates from 1 to 15.

Paul Johnson (Ga Tech), Mark Richt (Georgia), Nick Saban (Alabama), Bronco Mendenhall (BYU), Joe Paterno (Penn St.), Mark Dantonio (Michigan St.), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Randy Shannon (Miami), Les Miles (LSU), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Skip Holtz (ECU), Brady Hoke (Ball State), Jim Tressel (OSU), David Cutcliffe (Duke), Urban Meyer (Florida)

Off the Field Incidents

If you want to be a well rounded coach then you need to be able to teach your student athletes responsibility to the community. Every year Every Day Should Be Saturday puts together the Fulmer Cup, a standings of the College Programs who suffer off season arrests. To me if you want to win a Coach of the Year award that tags responsibility as one of its prerequisites, that you can't finish on this least.

So, as a result Nick Saban should be eliminated as his team had the most arrests in the offseason. Next, Mark Richt and Joe Paterno should be eliminated from contention as they finished 7th and 8th respectively.

Excellence in the Classroom

Again if you want to be well rounded you should excel both on the field and in the classroom. You should not only be top 25 in the AP rankings but top 25 in the Graduation Rates. So let's take a look at which coaches should be eliminated because their student athletes don't care to be students.

Bob Stoops and Oklahoma finished 2nd to last amongst BCS conference schools with a 46% rate so he's out. Jim Tressel and Ohio St. finished 58th of the 65 BCS schools with a 52% rate. Les Miles and LSU finished 52nd with a 54% rate. Mark Dantonio and MSU finished 60th with a 51% rate.

But I think it's not enough to just note failure but also excellence. Duke and Northwestern stick by their academia and have graduation rates of 92% which ranks 3rd in the BCS.

Excellence on the Football Field

And finally we break down to who performed the best on the field. Let's eliminate those outside of the BCS because none of them have accomplished the extraordinary. This leaves us with Randy Shannon, Urban Meyer, David Cutcliffe and Pat Fizgerald. David Cutcliffe managed to get Duke 4 more wins than they usually have, but at 4-5 that's not cutting it. Fitzgerald has great kids and has a perennially doormat at 7-3 and amongst the elite in the Big Ten. Urban Meyer has a chance to go to the National Title game and is in the low top 25 in graduation rate, second in the SEC. Randy Shannon took a downtrodden Miami program got them clean, got them in the classroom and could potentially get them an ACC Crown.

Fitzgerald, Meyer and Shannon are all worthy of your vote but for me I'm taking Shannon because when you think Miami you do not think classy players and he's seemingly kept them out of trouble, kept them in the classroom and has them winning again.

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