Monday, December 26, 2011

Going To School

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Three weeks ago, I wrote about the numerous coaching changes in college football.

There have been plenty of NFL coaches that decided to take their pro credibility to college to entice college recruits that they have the connections to play on Sundays.

There are cases it doesn't work out while in many others, it has.

Very few college coaches win Super Bowls.

The only cases that come to mind are former Dallas Cowboys head coaches Barry Switzer (Oklahoma) and Jimmy Johnson (Oklahoma State and the Miami Hurricanes). Switzer won his ring with Johnson's players.

Former Texas A&M Head Coach Mike Sherman was relieved of his duties after posting a 25-25 record. Evidently, his bosses didn't want him to guide the Aggies into the SEC in 2012.

Two BCS Conference Schools made some interesting hires.

In Lawrence, Kansas., the Jayhawks landed former New England Patriots offensive mastermind and Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis. Unlike his critics, I wouldn't classify the Notre Dame Alumnus five-year tenure a failure. The Fighting Irish, who always have lofty expectations, finished 35-27 under Weis.

Kansas would take that record in a New York second since KU was 5-19 under former Coach Turner Gill the past two years. Kansas all-time record on the gridiron is 573-570-58 for a .501 winning percentage. Weis has no big shoes in Kansas and at age 55, I like this hire for the Jayhawks.

There is no bigger credibility tool than to tell a potential recruit that he helped lead New England to three Super Bowls and developed future Hall Of Fame QB Tom Brady.  No NCAA violation here.

The other intriguing hire is in Los Angeles or should I say Westwood, California.

Jim L. Mora, 50, doesn't have to be the "Wizard Of Westwood" as John Wooden was, but if he becomes a "Winner In Westwood" then the UCLA Bruins can become relevant in Los Angles and put more fans in the Rose Bowl.

Mora's two stops include Atlanta where he and Michael Vick took the Falcons to the 2004 NFC Championship Game. From Atlanta, Mora became the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. His career NFL record is 31-33.

Add his recent time with the NFL Network, plus working under his father Jim Mora Sr. and recruits will see this guy has the connections to get them to the NFL.

Despite finishing under .500 in the NFL, there are coaches that had great runs in college.

Howard Schnellenberger, Lou Holtz and Gene Stallings won National Championships with Miami, Notre Dame and Alabama respectively.

Schnellenberger was 4-13 with the Baltimore Colts. Holtz was 3-10 with the New York Jets. Stallings was 23-34-1 with the St.Louis/Phoenix Cardinals.

Schnellenberger was able to tell recruits that he was on Don Shula's staff for the only undefeated season in NFL History posted by the 17-0 Miami Dolphins which began a string of two Super Bowl Titles.

So we have two coaches in their 50's that are Going To School.

As long as Mora doesn't lose 50-0 to USC like his predecessor Rick Neuheisal did, then his life coaching in the Rose Bowl will be less stressful than it was in the NFL.

As for Weis, his hiring is definitely going to energize the Kansas fan base and could force people to take the football program as serious as its legendary basketball tradition.

Three days ago, Weis landed a former Notre Dame top recruit, QB Dayne Crist, who will play his senior season in Kansas.

That's a good start.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

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