Thursday, December 04, 2014

Settled Dust

Yesterday, I posted on the chaos surrounding the Jim McElwain/CSU/Florida ordeal and the opinions developed as things progressed. This morning gave us the finality that we were seeking. Now that we have a much better idea about what is going down in Fort Collins, I have more thoughts. First, the facts;
  • McElwain has been released from his contract and has been hired as the head coach of the University of Florida football team.
  • In return, Colorado State will get a buyout totaling $7 million. Florida will contribute $3 million over six years, McElwain will contribute $2 million (unknown time frame), and $2 million will be paid for a future game between the two schools in Gainesville.
  • The agreed-upon buyout is the largest in college football history. WE'RE NUMBER ONE!! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!! 
  • Offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin has assumed head coaching responsibilities in the interim, including our upcoming bowl game. 
  • Tony Frank, with the assistance of Interim Athletic Director John Morris, began a nationwide search for a new head coach. According to Morris this afternoon, the athletic department had received between 40 and 50 inquiries about the position. 
Now the opinions:
  • Tony Frank held strong as Jeremy Foley pressured him to reduce the buyout. The publicity of the whole matter should have provided Florida with all the leverage to negotiate down the buyout. However, the buyout ended up reducing by only $500k. That is on TFrank. What a stud. Thankfully, I did not have to lose any faith in that man. If this were Twitter, I would say #TonyFrankIsMyPresident. Jon of Jon of all Trades sent me this article, which explains the resolve of our fine president. 
  • If the negotiations on the buyout had failed, I do not know how McElwain could have returned to coaching at CSU. It would have been impossible for him to recruit players knowing that he was looking to leave on the next plane out of town.
  • I'm not sure that I agree with how Jim McElwain handled the whole situation. From what I could gather from those journalists following the events closely, his players were in the dark until after ESPN reported that the deal was finalized. Maybe McElwain was unsure if the buyout could be negotiated, but the players and his coaching staff deserved to know what was going on. 
  • As much as I deny it to myself and others, I knew that McElwain was going to leave (despite my longing for second Sonny Lubick tenure). It was the timing that surprised me. I was shocked that the courting by a power team in a power conference happened this year. After another successful season in 2015? For sure. But not after one great year. 
  • In my last post, I called CSU a "stepping stone" school. Is it really? Besides Jim McElwain leaving for the money and grandeur of the SEC, only one other coach in recent history has left for greener pastures (Tim Miles to Nebraska, at the "greener" part is debatable). Sonny Lubick was declining rapidly when he was let go. Steve Fairchild was 3-9 for three straight seasons when he was let go. Maybe CSU is not such a stepping stone school after all. . .
  • This whole situation would have gone differently if Jack Graham were still at the helm. With his passionate and fiery demeanor, it may have actually been much uglier than it ending up being.
  • The hiring of the next coach should be interesting for a couple reasons - first, we do not have a true athletic director. John Morris has been the interim AD since the firing of Jack Graham, but he admitted at his press conference today that Tony Frank would be leading the hiring process with Morris' assistance. The lack of stability at the AD position may be an issue for an incoming coach. Secondly, it is tough to envision a football coach search with a team that has a record of 10-2. That record makes the job a lot more enticing to those quality coaches looking for a new position. 
  • I truly believe that Dave Baldwin will be retained as the head coach for next year. He has been an integral part (if not the most integral part) of our success on the offensive side of the ball. No other FBS school has a quarterback/wide receiver/running back combo that we have in Grayson/Higgins/Hart. Plus, Baldwin has previous head coaching experience and our questions at the AD position make this an easy and safe choice. Hopefully it is a smart choice as well. 
  • I cannot tell you how many people stopped by my desk today to make sure I was okay. Clearly, I display my loyalties toward CSU loudly and proudly. Shockingly, I took the news far better than a lot of people I know and countless people that I do not know that I encountered on social media. Based on some of the reactions, you would have thought we were eliminating the football program like poor UAB. Poaching of your coach by an SEC team means that you are doing something right. 
  • A lot of people had issue with McElwain leaving the program just months after talking about CSU as his home. I cannot blame the man for leaving - the pay increase and chance to compete for a national championship are both incredibly enticing. I wish him all the success in the world, except when they play us in a few years. If you question his motives, that is your deal. The players that were sitting in that locker room today when he broke the news to them all came out of that meeting with the same message - they were thankful for the time they had with him, they were excited to move forward toward a bowl victory, and they understood why he made his decision. 
  • Let's hope that the climb continues and we continue to make strides toward national relevance on the gridiron. 
  • I really hope that the person responsible for those "The Grind" videos sticks around. They are incredible. Check them out. 
  • Any chance we can slide into the Pac12 or Big12 now?!!
Go Rams. 

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