Andy Katz has written an interesting article on coaching succession in college. He isn’t talking about football (his focus is on Syracuse basketball), but this is certainly a relevant topic for the imminent retirement of Lloyd Carr.
Will Michigan follow the suit of Syracuse basketball (and Wisconsin football), or let Lloyd retire before searching for a head coaching candidate? It seems that, although Syracuse and Wisconsin certainly look forward, it’s definitely not a trend in the NCAA.
My take on the matter is that I would like to have a successor named prior to Lloyd’s final season (which is likely to come this year, or almost certainly in 2008). This would ease possible hits to recruiting, because recruits would know there is going to be continuity, and other head coaches (Miles, Meyer, Weis), would not be able to cast doubt on Lloyd’s tenure as head coach. Naming a successor would likely require promoting from within, something I am in favor of, though many in the Wolverine Nation are not.
The two prime internal candidates are quite obviously the two coordinators, OC Mike Debord and DC Ron English. Erik Campbell has been associate head coach for a while, but I don’t believe that he is looked at as a legitimate head coaching candidate, or he probably would have been promoted to a coordinator position in his 13 years at Michigan.
One knock on English is that he hasn’t proven that he is a great coach, but rather than he is a great motivator and recruiter. However, my opinion on the matter is that those two domains are where the head coach must excel, and let his coordinators and other assistants do the scheming, etc. Another advantage of English is that he has shown to have a slightly more aggressive philosophy than fans are used to seeing from the Maize and Blue. English is a hot commodity, and it is likely that he would last only one or two more years as a Michigan assistant before being hired as a head coach either here or somewhere else.
Debord, on the other hand, is a less exciting candidate. He gets a lot of (undeserved) flak for being uninspiring in his offense, but he is a brilliant coordinator and game planner, with the sole exception of the Rose Bowl debacle. Debord showed at Central Michigan that he may not be the most successful head coach in the world, but one must take into account the inherent advantages that Michigan holds over a MAC program. Still, a head coach shouldn’t need to have built-in advantages to succeed, and perhaps a better head coach (who could succeed at the lower level), would be able to use these advantages to take the program to all-new heights.
If you disagree with my take on the matter, feel free to debate in the comments.
Posted under Coaching