March 25th, 2014 11:30 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: BCS, Bret Bielema, Cam Newton, SEC
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs is riding high these days. He hired Gene Chizik who in turn brought in Cam Newton who in turn led Auburn to a BCS championship. After firing Chizik he hired his former offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, who immediately led AU back to the BCS title game last season. And after firing Tony Barbee two weeks ago, he immediately coughed up a hefty sum for new basketball coach Bruce Pearl.
From a fan’s point of view that’s exactly what an athletic director should do — bring in coaches who win and be willing to pay for them.
“The university is committed to winning and the administrators have given me the latitude to go out and do what we need to from a financial resource. This is no longer a place you come in and cut your teeth. You come in with proven track records, particularly in our major sports, and proven success…
People know we’re committed to winning championships because of what’s happened to football the last few years and these guys sit and talk to me about, ‘Are you as committed to do this in basketball as you are in football?’ Absolutely, yeah, and I’ve demonstrated it. And we’re going to continue to demonstrate it because we’re going to win championships. That’s what I’m committed to.”
Sounds good, but there are two things to keep in mind. First, Jacobs has just backed himself into a corner if he has to hire another football or basketball coach down the road. There will be no up-and-comers, only guys with “proven track records” and “proven success.”
Second, there’s another AD in the SEC who’s made splashy hires that were initially met with thunderous applause from his school’s fanbase — Jeff Long of Arkansas. But Bobby Petrino blew himself up and took the UA football program with him. Bret Bielema has gone from a “wow” hire to an “ow” hire in just over a year. And his big-money swoop for Missouri’s Mike Anderson has resulted in one NIT berth in three years.
The lesson? Just because you hire someone with a proven track record, it doesn’t guarantee success. But for Jacobs, fresh off an SEC title in football and the splashy hire of a new hoops coach, it’s easy to understand his big smile and big talk.
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