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A Short Search at State

Things have been jumping in ACC football country. The Coach Hiring Season is in full swing. Of interest is who migrated south and which coach decided against escaping from the Li’l E. There are things to read other than on-line Underground restaurant menus.

NC State made much shorter work of this coaching search than they did the last. It’s a pity, as I was so looking forward to Pack AD Lee Fowler chasing around after Jim Tressel or Bob Stoops. Oh, well. Fowler, or Wendell Murphy, or whoever was in charge of not botching this hiring process, did a fine job.

Tom O’Brien is a terrific choice for State. The no-nonsense former Marine officer is the anti-Chuckie. Aside from the more restrained wardrobe choices, TOB is a proven winner who, unlike Chuckie, actually accomplishes the fact rather than simply weauxf about it. While the NC State coach’s show will not be nearly as entertaining, the results on the field will very likely be more so for Pack fans.

The Pack fans had much to do with O’Brien’s decision to jump from one ACC school to another. Unlike Boston College , State actually has them. While the passionate nature of State’s fan base can be a bit overbearing at times, as Herb discovered, that certainly beats having none at all, as was the case on Chestnut Hill.

Fredo’s skinny fan following, which is to State’s what Mary-Kate Olsen is to Rosie O’Donnell, caused the Eagles to again get stiffed in the bowl game game. The only thing that kept the Eagles off the Boise ski slopes, again, was NCAA regs that prohibited the Muffler Bowl from taking either Florida State or Miami and their 6-6 records.

O’Brien, who has been churning out the winning records like clockwork, also chafed a bit at being one of the ACC’s least-compensated coaches. With Big John no longer knocking down the little bucks at Carolina , TOB’s salary had dropped to the bottom of the ACC, not counting Duke’s Ted Roof, and who does?

Obie Tom’s constant griping about fan support, mediocre facilities and all the other things that coaches of the private schools yak about before moving on to the big state U’s had chilled his relationship with his boss, Empress Donna’s house eunuch Gene DiFilippo, also known as BC AD. If TOB even bothered to ask DiFredo to match State’s offer, the response likely would have been a link to the Raleigh MLS.

There was that little matter of one ACC school poaching another’s coach. It hasn’t happened since Jim Tatum moved from Maryland to Carolina back in the Fifties [Bobby Ross did stop off in Buffalo for an order of wings on his way from Maryland to Georgia Tech after Len Bias snorted the Terps’ athletic department]. Obviously, that ‘gentleman’s agreement’ doesn’t apply to the ACC’s edge schools. How is it out there on the ACC’s periphery, DiFredo? Selling many December tickets to North Carolina , other than the one to TOB? Did the Dwarf Dyke mention this when she got you to do her bidding?

While TOB was preparing to pack, there was more news concerning an ACC school’s coaching search. Greg Schiano gave the Canes a very public ‘Not interested.’ When a coach finds the land of the toxic waste dump preferable to South Beach , it might provide just a hint that Miami is no longer in possession of the World’s Greatest Job. Yikes, Canes.

Once again, Miami finds that the line of coaches lined up in Coral Gables begging for the job is not long. And there is not even a major probation hanging over this coaching search. When firing the hapless Uncle Fester for only winning one MNC, Canes’ AD Paul Dee claimed that the next Miami coach ‘must have had prior head-coaching experience. Let’s eat.’ You forgot the ‘unless he does not,’ Paul.

It appears that the Canes are not going to go through the alphabet of plans as they did back in 95 and will instead hand the job by default to Coker’s DC Randy Shannon. He will have to decide between coaching Miami or his other top-shelf offer, the one from Florida International. This is what it looks to be coming to for the Program of the Century, that being the 20th. When and if Shannon is introduced, that laughter you hear will be coming from the Kenan Center at Carolina .

While it is not ACC-related, there is more potential coaching movement that causes much hilarity. Up in the Hills, Rich Rod steadily burns bridges out of that charming state so the lynch mobs will be unable to follow him to Alabama if he goes and it is getting to the point that he better. I’m sure his family are enjoying those renditions of Robert Earl Keen’s ‘Merry Christmas from the Family’ being sung outside their house by the Cousins.

They try again with this whole ‘football thing’ at Carolina and State, this time with what appears to be adult leadership of the Pack. DiFredo goes coach-hunting for the guy who will not win nine games a year. I bet he finds him. Meanwhile, Frank Beamer gives his players a few days off before beginning preparations for his fourteenth straight bowl game. Frank will also make a few recruiting calls. When chatting with prospects and their parents, I imagine Frank will mention ‘coaching stability’ a time or two.

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