Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Surreal Time

So each day that goes by in the Chan Gailey saga, we get more information that would lead you to believe that Chan Gailey might not be back. What's the news today?

- Ken Whisenhunt will be the next head coach of the Arizona Cardinals - not the Steelers, not the Dolphins. Which means a bigtime hot prospect is off the table for the jobs that Chan Gailey is in the running for.

- Chan Gailey has been invited for a 2nd round of interviews with the Dolphins. Even though there were about 13-15 guys interviewed in round 1, Chan is only one of 3 guys invited back for a 2nd interview - along with Jim Mora and Brian Schottenheimer. So this really is serious. Who knows if he is a front-runner, but he's on the short list - and for those of you convinced that this was a "favor" of sorts from Dolphin owner Wayne H because they are friends - forget it. It's not the case. There is genuine interest on both sides.

- Word is that Bill Cowher personally likes Chan Gailey as the guy to replace him in Pitt. That's a pretty strong endorsement. Those two guys have talked on a regular basis since there days together in Pitt.

- Chan's post-interview, media interview (in Pitt Sat) was a glowing review of the Steeler's organization. There is no doubt that two of the best NFL jobs are in Pittsburgh and in Miami. Not only are they solid organizations with prestige and history, they have owners pretty well willing to let their guy run the show....... and it just so happens that Chan has worked both places, had success at both places and has relationships at both places.

- Chan's key comment about a difference in the college vs pro game is leading him to look to the NFL responded that Pittsburgh is what's different. He made it clear that he wasn't going to consider just any job. He's not looking "out" of Tech. He just sees these jobs as primo, and as such, would be doing himself a disservice not to consider them.

- The Dolphins signing up Dom Capers as the highest paid assistant coach in the NFL BEFORE hiring the head coach. The significance? Capers is known as a defensive whiz - which would lead you to believe that the Dolphins are probably after someone who is good on the offensive side of the ball. You may not like Chan's offensive prowess but that is where his NFL experience lies. Interesting though on the other side of the coin are Chan's comments when he made P.Nix the OC at Tech - that he basically didn't have time to keep up with all the offensive changes and needed someone to take over the offense. Not sure how that will haunt his chances.

So with all this, I find myself starting to feel some varied emotions. Those of you who follow this site know that I'm a Chan Gailey supporter. My criteria for a successful coach are as follows, in this order:

1. Integrity
2. Honesty
3. Pride in my institution
4. Development of young men as people
5. Spokesman for Georgia Tech
6. Development of a staff
7. X's / O's - on the field coaching
8. Winning
9. Recruiting

Yeah, there's some fluff there, but that's what I'm about. If "my" guy is leading our team with integrity, honesty............ if he clearly "gets" what it means to be a YellowJacket and can articulate that .............. if he develops young men to face the world..................... can develop a competent, knowledgeable, diverse staff. - if he can do those things, he's 75% of the way for me. That's NOT about accepting mediocrity. It's about accepting excellence and understanding what it is to mold young men.................... After that, it is clearly important for "my" guy to understand the X's and O's, to make the in-game adjustments....................... to win...................... then to build a pipeline of talent to keep the thing rolling.............. but he better build his foundation on those other things or I WILL have no patience when he loses.

For me, Chan was doing things the right way. He has had a ton of roadbumps along with way, but because he's doing things the right way, I have been willing to ride the coaster and support him 100% at the same time. I'm sorry, I don't want Nick Saban or Jim Tressel coaching Tech. If I question a guy's integrity I don't want him representing my school. It's that simple - no matter how many football games he can win.

So I like where we're headed with Chan Gailey..................... but now Chan Gailey might have a prettier girl asking HIM to the prom. So for the fanbase like me that has supported him, this is a time of mixed emotions. If we hear that he's coming back, I'll be happy. But I'm more and more convinced that the only reason he's coming back is if he does not get an offer to be an NFL head coach with the Dolphins or Steelers. He seems to want it. He seems to want it more than he wants to be at Georgia Tech....... and of course that makes me feel like we're "second rate" - even though we're not. It hurts a bit. Just does...........So like many, I have little moments of - fine, you don't want to be here - don't let the door hit you on the way out. D-Rad will bring in another guy that will do just fine. But then I realize I'm just falling into the same trap as many others. Changing head coaches now would be terrible for Tech. We would survive no doubt and move on (because the school is bigger than any one person), but we would takes a step back. There is just no way to sugarcoat that.

So we will all continue to struggle with our emotions and feelings on the situation and wait to hear about Chan's options and his corresponding decisions. While I have been placing odds of him coming back in the 95% range, those odds have crept down to about 65% for me at the moment......................Until then, I guess we'll just have to deal..................................

On a separate note - how's this for a rumor of the day - Jimbo Fisher just might have interviewed with D-Rad already - maybe even on campus. Total unsubstantiated rumor, but one that's going around.................