Texas Coaching Search: Reality Edition

Charlie Strong (Justin Wells/IT)
Charlie Strong (Justin Wells/IT)

I wanted to relay some information in light of the misinformation and speculation floating around. Rumor peddling is fun intrigue, but there can be a cost to constant misinformation. Not always to the peddlers. But sometimes to the program.

1. Charlie Strong is gone. Neither reason nor courage are required to act now. When I wrote that fear will now do the work of reason, I could have just as easily written that necessity will now do the work of courage. “Optics” no longer exist, there’s no “Texas didn’t give Charlie a fair shake” narrative to advance, steep buyouts no longer matter (analysis: plummeting ticket sales and declining alumni donations with 2017 Strong retention vs cost of 2016 buyout) and administrators don’t have to wring their hands about making big decisions.

The decision was made on the field in Lawrence, Kansas.

2. The loss in Lawrence dynamited inertia. Committing six turnovers and losing to a team that hasn’t defeated a FBS opponent since 2014 will do that. The danger of retaining Strong wasn’t a losing season in 2017. It was a 8-4 or 9-3 season in a depleted Big 12 that wins him a grudging 3 year extension, tepid resignation from the fans and a protracted six to eight year ordeal.

We were done a painful favor.

3. Multiple sources have told me that he will be fired or have a negotiated resignation by Friday. How or when that’s announced publicly is a different matter, but largely immaterial. He knows. We know. The rest is formality. Mack Brown was fired seven days (on Dec 14th) after his loss to Baylor in 2013, but his actual status was unclear until it happened. Not so here.

4. Strong was announced as the Longhorn head coach on January 5, 2014. Take a heavy under on a January date for this hire.

5. December 12th to January 11th is the recruiting dead period. A head coach installed by mid-December can work phones, mail and social media to set himself up for a reasonable run to signing day. Particularly if that coach has some existing familiarity with the state of Texas.

6. Texas will talk to and pursue Herman. Anyone suggesting otherwise has an agenda or needs a better filter.

7. An open Texas job gets other coaches raises and contract extensions. Agents will float their guys as candidates and 95% of it will be gamesmanship using gullible media.

8. But Texas will talk to a few candidates informally. Insurance. A real exhaustive Longhorn coaching search – while theoretically laudable and it could turn up some incredibly interesting options – inspires no confidence given our current structure.

I have three terrifying words for you: Korn Ferry consultants.

9. Herman won enough games to land the gig and lost just enough so that he a). can get started right away and b). not completely hold us over the barrel financially. Other schools will pursue him. He wants to coach at Texas.

10. There are several constituencies to satisfy in a head coaching search. Media, fans, big money donors, the athletic department, UT higher ups, current athletes, recruits etc. Picture Venn Diagrams. Right now, Herman is the only point of agreement overlap for all. It’s not 100%, but he’s in the sweet spot. That means he’s halfway to the finish line while other candidates are lacing up their shoes.

That could change quickly with real interest from a big name or a contract negotiation gone sour, but reread point #6.

11. You will be a fed a consistent line of nonsense and speculation in the media over the next few weeks. Stay sane and read IT.

Now, about that new Athletic Director search…