ACC: Tyrone Willingham

Tuesday Mailblog: Midseason coaching changes

October, 28, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Dustin, in Concord, N.C., writes: Heather, 1st off love your blog, even being a Clemson fan and in the middle of a horrible season(What might have been?)I have enjoyed reading your work!! My question is what is the status of Clemson's coaching hunt? I mean i haven't heard anything over the last 2 weeks. Shouldn't we get this ball rolling like UNC did 2 years ago giving them advantage to start looking early? Thanks, Dustin GO TIGERS!!!!!!!!!

Heather Dinich: Thanks for reading, Dustin. Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips has done nothing but support Dabo Swinney, but he has also said he wants to name the next coach within 10 days after the end of the regular season. While I haven't talked to Terry Don lately about the search, you'd have to be naive to think it hasn't started in some form or another. They have to gaugue interest in the job. I talked to defensive coordinator Vic Koenning today about his defense and he casually mentioned it's a good group of young guys for whoever comes in next. Not exactly unwavering confidence that this staff expects to stick around. And if anybody keeps it real, it's Vic.

Steve, in Seattle, writes: As a Clemson alum living in Seattle, I've been reading up a lot on the coach changes for both Clemson and Washington. Both have decided to announce coaching changes mid season but each coach has responded differently. Tyrone Willingham will finish the year with UW while Bowden stepped down immediately. What are your thoughts on this and what assumptions should I make on the character of these coaches? My thoughts are Tyrone has put the program first making sure he finishes the year, while Bowden seems to have to problems walking away from his players.

Heather Dinich: First, let me say I have spoken with Tyrone Willingham before and have respect for him. I also respect Tommy Bowden, but you make an interesting point. It's hard to forget the image of James Davis crying after he heard the news. To me, both scenarios are less on the coaches and more on how the ADs handled it. If I'm an AD, I don't call my struggling coach into my office midseason UNLESS I'm going to fire him. Coaches know what their jobs are. They don't need a reminder of the program's goals. And if I DON'T want a coaching change midseason, then I don't fire my coach!

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