April 30th, 2012 03:00 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Georgia
Tags: Coach Tony Ball, Georgia, recruiting, UGA
Hines Ward loves his alma mater. It also sounds as if he loves the idea of coaching at Georgia someday. But does the recently retired Pittsburgh Steeler really want to invest the kind of time the coaching profession requires?
That’s what the ex-receiver is trying to figure out after shadowing current Bulldog offensive coordinator Mike Bobo this spring:
“I loved everything about it, it’s just the time commitment. I just left football. That’s something that I’m still deciding. I’d love to coach here, there’s no question about it. I don’t know if I’m ready for that commitment just yet because there’s so much time that you have to put in it. I love Georgia. If I ever get into coaching, it would definitely be here first…
I don’t want to be one foot in and one foot out. If I get into coaching I want to be all in…
I always said if I wanted to get back into coaching the University of Georgia would probably be my first place just because I want to give back to my university and I think I have a lot to offer to the state of Georgia and the kids because I’ve been in their shoes before. I think it wouldn’t be fair to my university (to coach somewhere else). I’m a Georgia kid… Georgia’s my home. It’s where I reside at. For me, it’s only 50 minutes commute where I live at. The possibility is there.”
Ah, but what possibility? If Ward were to join the UGA staff — and Mark Richt would have to actually offer him a gig before he could accept it, of course — someone currently on the staff would have to go to make room for him. (Yeah, yeah. We know, Dog fans, Bobo.) Ward is aware of that fact, too:
“I’m not trying to step on anybody. To be honest, that would be the worst thing. I don’t want to take anyone’s food off their plate. I’m a Georgia guy, played 14 years, I played the wide receiver position. Coach (Tony) Ball, I’m not trying to step on his toes. I don’t want him sweating or anything. I love the guy, respect him. He coached some great players through here. I just wanted to see if there was interest and see if I was interested in getting into coaching.”
Well, I’m sure Ball appreciates Ward tossing his position out as the obvious spot for Ward to land… should he decide to coach in Athens and should Richt offer him that opportunity.
With the Georgia staff currently filled, Ward is also considering broadcasting as a future field. At least in the short-term. ”We’ll see,” he said. ”It’s great to have options.”
Ward also shared with the press his thoughts on the Bulldogs’ program and in-state recruiting. (As you might have noticed, he’s not real shy about talking… something he’d have to change if he were to enter the super-secret, uber-stealthy world of collegiate coaching.)
“It irks me that talent goes to the University of Florida and Alabama and stuff like that. We need to keep our top recruits here in the state of Georgia. Because Georgia’s always been close. We’re on the cusp of doing big things. It’s just one game or one play here or there, who knows, maybe the player that we lost out of the state of Georgia, that player can probably make a difference and maybe we can win a national title.
“The recruiting process (if Ward became a coach), I think would be easy. The parents can recognize me, a lot of them grew up with me. A lot of them watched me on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ A lot of the fathers saw me play 14 years at a high level in Pittsburgh. So I think I have a lot to give back to the university.”
From a recruiting standpoint, the name “Hines Ward” would definitely open some additional doors for UGA. This is also the kind of potential move that heats up talk radio shows and messageboards. ”Why it’s a no-brainer,” most Dawg fans will bellow.
But not all great players make great coaches. In fact, the list of star players who’ve turned into star coaches is much, much shorter than the list of stars who’ve turned into total busts as coaches. But Ward is clearly interested in coaching at his old school and Richt and Georgia should weigh the possibilities accordingly.
That doesn’t mean the school should toss a full-time gig to someone who’s never coached before and who has — it seems — rather loose lips when it comes to discussing other coaches’ jobs, the ease of recruiting, and the fact that Richt’s program is “just one game or one play” away from winning a national title.
Look, we get it. At first blush, it seems that Ward plus Georgia would equal a perfect marriage. But perfect marriages rarely result from first-date elopements.
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