But What’s Good For the Hogs Is Not Good for Weber State
One coach falls and another steps into his place.
One coach’s actions threaten to handcuff a program and in order to save it, that program hires a coach who then leaves his previous program in the exact position as the first program.
Ronald Regan called this the “trickle-down theory.” Except he was talking about economics, not college sports.
Well, it’s happened again.
The Bobby Petrino trickle has hit a small school called Weber State, a suitcase college (only 800 of the 25,000 students live on campus) in the Utah mountains.
When Petrino was fired at Arkansas for an “inappropriate relationship” (his words, that’s coachspeak for “I know I was screwing around but please let me keep my job!”) then Razorbacks Athletic Director Jeff Long turned to former Petrino assistant John L. Smith.
That was a good move for Arkansas. Certainly a much better one than Long made in hiring Petrino in the first place.
Smith has been a head coach previously with some success – 41-21 at Louisville (ironically, he built the program that Petrino inherited) but just 22-26 at Michigan State, although he was Big 10 Coach of the Year in 2003.
The problem with the hire is that Smith had just taken a job. In December, he left Arkansas for Weber State, his alma mater. He had just completed spring practice and even had a nice little session with fans and alumni to introduce the coaching staff.
Now, he’s off like a prom dress.
For its part, Weber State handled the defection with class.
“We knew when we hired John L. as our head football coach that we were getting a high-profile coach that we felt would move our program forward,” Director of Athletics Jerry Bovee said in a statement. “Obviously, the timing of this announcement is problematic but at this point we are going to move forward in making decisions that are in the best interest of our program.”
Unless there’s an internal implosion – quite possible when instability hits a team – Arkansas should pretty much do under Smith what it would have done under Petrino this season. And that is to finish in the Top 10 and beat every team on its schedule except Alabama and LSU.
Weber State? Well, it will do just fine without its alumni Smith running the show. Maybe not on the scoreboard, but most certainly in the sportsmanship department.