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CoachSearch10… Hopefully Better than CoachSearch08

This is the decision of your life, Tom

Suffice to say, this isn’t a breaking news post. The breaking portion of the news about Stan Parrish being terminated as the Ball State head football coach came to me via about a dozen texts from players, friends, and fans on Tuesday as I was driving across central Ohio as I made my way back to southern Indiana for the Thanksgiving holiday. Once here, I’ve had to battle spotty rural internet, a little brother who dominates the one computer in the house, and just taking a step back from life for a few days. Apparently, the monkeys in the machine room of the country internet provider have decided to get to work today and since the little brother and the family are out shopping, I’m finally allowed a brief little moment on the world wide interwebs to finally put some thoughts out about Stan and the future of the program.

I, like many others, apparently, can’t say I’m shocked or floored by the decision by the Ball State administration to terminate Stan Parrish. I think the results on the field, or more specifically, the lack of positive ones, speak volumes to the ability of the current leadership to build on or even sustain the successes of the Hoke years. I don’t think that comes as a large surprise to anyone, as most of the year, I and the rest of the Cardinal realists were far from happy, but also understood the pennies and nickels of the situation. To buy out Parrish’s contract seemed like the financial mountain that was unclimbable. According to AD Tom Collins private donors stepped forward to cut Stan a check and cut the program’s losses before they got unfixable. That, and really only that, is the surprising fact in all of this. In fact, based on my experience with the BSU program, it is quite a shocking turn of events.

BSU fans, for the most part, are known to grumble loudly about the lack of a successful football program but ultimately unwilling to pony up the dollars, efforts, and support needed to make success a reality. The shoestring budget of the program has hindered progress in facilities, coaching hires, coaching retention, and really each and every facet of a program. The fact that Brady Hoke was able to achieve what he did his last few seasons is even more remarkable when tempered with the sheer dollars and cents of the program. Does BSU finally have fans that speak with their wallets and not just their big boy angry voices? Because if so, that would be a remarkable change of pace that could actually serve some good instead of simply severing the fanbase.

I certainly feel for the assistant coaches, who are now on the receiving end of the most unfortunate situation that an assistant coach can go through. Whether some, all, or none will be retained would ultimately be up to the new head coach, but I can’t imagine many (if any) will be wearing cardinal and white come next season as a total demolition of the staff and program will probably happen and is probably what’s needed. My thoughts go out to those who aren’t retained and I wish them luck. I feel also for the juniors, who will now play for their 3rd head coach next season. Unfortunate for them, and I certainly hope that Cardinal Nation supports them and the rest of the team as this transition unfurls and more importantly, throws their support whole heartedly behind the next head coach.

So now, Tom Collins, this is your moment. The hire you make this time around will ultimately define your career at BSU. It’s understandable that the last time you had to fill the head football coach’s role, you were in a bit of a panic. Saving the recruiting class, continuing the successes of 2008, and salvaging some semblance of continuity led to Stan Parrish’s hiring in a very fast search that was ultimately over before it really began. I certainly hope you have learned from that fiasco and more importantly the results that followed it. This is not the time to rush. This is not the time to freak out. This is the time to take time, do your job and pick the absolute best possible hire for this University. You’ve said since the termination that the candidate pool is deep and there will be significant interest in the job. Prove it. We’ve heard that line before, after Hoke went to SDSU and Parrish ultimately drove this program into a ditch, lit it on fire, and then cackled away with his $1.4 million.

Much of the fanbase has painted Collins as a bumbling know-nothing lapdog intent on doing the bidding of President Gora by not paying enough attention and effort to football. A talented hire that puts a team on the field we’re proud of may go a long way in proving that theory incorrect. A retread head coach, a promotion of a current BSU assistant, or a BSU alum with nothing better to do simply proves that the loudest and most vocal of the BSU fanbase were simply right all along. No pressure, though, Tom… it’s only the most important decision you’ll ever make.

So with that, consider CoachSearch10 underway.


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