Mickey Plyler: My Agenda

by - Radio Host -
Dabo Swinney took over for Tommy Bowden on October 13.

The following is the latest post on Mickey Plyler's blog sponsored by Tom Winkopp. Plyler updates his blog at least once every weekday and it can be found on TigerNet at http://www.tigernet.com/blogs/plyler/ or on the right side of the front page of TigerNet.

I have hosted over 2,500 radio shows and have written over 600 blogs on this site but have recently realized that I must be a awful communicator. Good communicators express their thoughts clearly and their message gets across with little confusion.

That is not the case with me however.

Either I can’t express my thoughts well or people hear what they want to hear because I had a couple of phone callers on my show say they disagreed with me on hiring Dabo as the full time coach after the season. A poster on the blog yesterday said I had an agenda to get Dabo hired.

I went back and read every blog over the past three weeks and can’t find that statement anywhere. But it is my fault for not making that clear and I am the cause of any confusion.

To avoid further confusion and just to be clear, here is what I have said:

*I thought Tommy Bowden should have been let go after the Maryland game.

*I thought Dabo Swinney should have been named the interim. This would give Dabo a chance to win the job and would give Terry Don Phillips a better sample of what to expect with Dabo as the head coach.

*I think we should go “ALL IN” with Dabo over the next six weeks and give him every chance to prove himself even more.

*I would hope Terry Don has made it clear that he is responsible for the hire and would not expect veto power or input from the administration.

*I think Terry Don should continue to gather information on candidates he is considering for the job. It appears he is doing so.

*I think Terry Don should lean heavily at this stage on the consulting firm he has hired to help in the search.

*I think Terry Don should proceed as if he will have to hire someone other than Dabo just to be prepared.

*Before the end of the season I would have a list of my top three or four candidates and have a good idea of their availability.

*At the end of the season I would interview Dabo and three or four other candidates in the first week.

*After considering all of the information available, I would hope to hire the best candidate by December 10.

With that said, here is what I also understand:

*I am not qualified to make this hire. Fans are not qualified, the president is not qualified and the rest of the administration is not qualified.

*Only Terry Don knows what candidates are interested on the job. For me or any fan to think we know who they should hire without knowing exactly who is interested in the job is a little unrealistic. All candidates should be considered and we don’t know who some of those available candidates are.

*We don’t know what the budget for the next coach will be and this is another reason we have no idea who to hire. Terry Don is informed on what the market will demand and specifically what each candidate will cost. He also knows what he can afford. We don’t know either of these items.

*We don’t know what kind of staff each candidate will put together. Terry Don will interview each candidate and have a pretty good idea of the salary structure the new coach will have to work with and who the new coach hopes to bring on board as a staff.

In the end, every candidate is still a risk. No one is guaranteed to win. Some coaches can win in some programs and in some parts of the country. Some will be able to win short-term and others may be a better long-term fit.

Terry Don has choices when it comes to risk. He can go with a safer candidate. This would be someone with less risk but maybe comes with a lower ceiling. He may chose to hire someone that is more of an initial risk but has a much bigger upside.

I understand the argument that Clemson needs a clean break from anyone on the current staff. I also understand the argument that Dabo has what it takes and can make a few adjustments to get the program where we all want it. I am fine with the folks that claim the Tigers need to make a huge big name hire but totally understand those that feel they already have their man and could care less what the perception is at this point.

With the little information I have on the potential candidates, I think I could narrow my search in my mind down to just three or four names at this point. But again, if I knew the entire list of potential candidates then I would be better qualified to make this list.

Maybe Bill Cowher is interested, but I would doubt it. Again, only Terry Don knows for sure.

I don’t put a lot into what a potential candidate says about not being interested in a job when asked by the media because they have to say that publically. However, Tommy Tuberville and Jim Grobe say they are not going anywhere.

Current head coaches may be available and Gary Patterson, Bobby Johnson, Jim Leavitt, Brian Kelly, Mark Mangino, Gary Pinkel and Chris Petersen are doing fine jobs at their current schools but Rich Rodriguez already has ties here and he makes some sense. Maybe he is not interested. Again, Terry Don knows more about his availability than we do but Rich Rod would be very high on my list considering all of the information I currently know and it would be hard not hiring him if he was interested.

In the last five years he was at West Virginia, he coached 27 football games where his team took the field ranked in the top 10 in America. During that same stretch, Clemson played in one game where the Tigers were ranked in the top 10.

The list of current assistants is also impressive and I am sure Bud Foster, Brent Venables, Burton Burns, Dave Christenson, Mike Locksley and Dan Mullen are outstanding coaches. However, with what I currently know about the list, Will Muschamp looks like he is the most prepared to be a terrific head coach.

Muschamp has prepared under Bill Oliver, Nick Saban, Tommy Tuberville and Mack Brown. He has coordinator experience, NFL experience and has a national championship ring.

And I also think Dabo is a legitimate candidate who deserves full consideration when the interviews begin. Dabo has proven in one week that he is a leader and has a great grasp on what changes need to be made here.

Again, I don’t have all of the information and maybe many of those names mentioned have zero interest in the Clemson job. Maybe there are many more that are much more qualified that have not been mentioned that do have real interest in the job.

But with what the limited amount of information I have, I would look to interview Rich Rodriguez, Will Muschamp, Dabo Swinney and a wild card.

The coaching search will be handled privately and few will have details. Until Terry Don names a new coach, we should go “ALL IN” and support Dabo and give him every chance to win the job.

I hope this clears up any miscommunication on my part.


The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency

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