USC Trojans athletic director Pat Haden made a demonstrative statement to the school’s football program and those on the outside-looking-in by firing embattled head football coach Lane Kiffin last Saturday following the team’s 62-41 shellacking at the hands of the Arizona State Sun Devils. In doing so, Haden opened the door of speculation about some potential replacements for Kiffin in 2014, assuming current interim head coach Ed Orgeron isn’t offered a permanent job, which doesn’t seem likely at all.
Texas Longhorns athletic director DeLoss Dodds will announce his retirement — starting in August 2014 at which time he receives a longevity pension — from his office on the Forty Acres. There is a wide -spread and logical assumption that Dodds’ retirement announcement is the first of several dominoes to fall in Austin in coming months, with the next being the departure of head coach Mack Brown.
Should this come to fruition, and in reality, regardless of whether it does in the short-term, a full-scale bidding war and resulting musical chairs across the Division I football coaching community is a relative certainty. There are a few names which will be specific to the coaching searches at USC and Texas largely due to the individuals’ ties to the school in terms of coaching, playing or alumni history.
Other coaches will be mentioned in the replacement conversation for the two programs because they are widely recognized as up-and-comers due for a shot at the spotlight at one of the nation’s two best, and most tradition-laden football programs.
The two men who are eventually named the head coaches at USC and Texas for 2014– and yes, this is operating on the assumption Mack Brown doesn’t keep his job after the 2013 season– will set off a radical domino effect across the country and by default open up opportunities for other bright coaching minds that are only opened up under changes of this type. Changes which are very rare, and have to be capitalized upon with decisiveness.
That domino effect will be preceded, however, by a bidding war of monumental nature between Texas and USC for some of the first-tier candidates on both of their radars. A little research will provide you with some of the names which will appear in both conversations, so I won’t belabor the point here, but let’s just say there will be plenty of commonality.
The Boards of Regents of both schools will be working overtime behind closed doors to call in favors with big money alumni who can in turn call in favors with those they know in the business community with leverage with the coaches. It’s a wheel of influence that will be spinning out of control in a very short time.
We may catch bits and pieces of the process, glimpses of how it’s all operating, but in large part it’ll be hush-hush until one (and likely two) new coaches are announced formally sometime next spring and multiple other first-tier coaching opportunities follow into Summer 2014, keeping the sports media salivating and the message boards and social media popping with “analysis”.
You can count on it.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and Business Analyst for Rant Sports.