Wednesday, November 5, 2008
A buzzword that has been at the forefront of our presidential election for well over a year now and with the election of Barack Obama as our 44th president last night, the word change might just become the most used word of 2008.
With the ousting of, Tommy Bowden at Clemson, Ty Willingham at Washington, and Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee, change and hope for a brighter future have become buzzwords around campus in Clemson, Seattle, and Knoxville.
"The only thing that remains constant in life is change." While this is true, there are some important things to think about when facing change within a college program.
In some cases change has proven to be a good thing.
In Gainsville, Gator fans decided enough was enough with Zooker, lets give young Urban a chance. One title and a Heisman trophy winner later, Myer's spread option has turned college football upside down.
In Tuscaloosa, Tide fans said no more to Alabama native Shula in favor of a coach with no Crimson in his blood. Some may argue that only the color of money flows through Saban's veins. None the less, so far, so good.
Trojan fans chose an unsuccessful NFL wash out, Pete Carroll, over a former NFL coordinator in hopes of change. We all know the success that has brought LA.
Sometimes the answer is no change at all. A storm is recognized for what it is, a weather system, not the inhalation of the sun and the end of life as we know it.
Players involved in off the field incidents in the off season combined with the apparent lack of success on the field, Joe Pa was questioned repeatedly before the season began if this would be his last year. A 9-0 Nittany Lion title contender has shut those rumblings up.
During the off season, plans were made in Tallahassee to ensure a successor was in place to replace their legend. The question was no longer who is next, but when. A quick start to the 2008 season has silenced those questions.
Sometimes change just isn't the answer.
Squeaky voiced Chuck Amato was asked to leave NC State in 2006. What Wolfpack fans really should have done is signed Phillip Rivers to a long term deal.
The administration at Colorado State thought their program was bigger than it is and asked long time coach Sonny Lubick to step down. Needless to say the Rams still play on Sonny Lubick field, but not to the level they have grown to expect.
Arizona State relieved themselves of a coach that couldn't "win the big games" and replaced him with one that hasn't won a big game yet. Dennis' Sun Devils have lost 6 in a row for the first time in program history.
Once the decision has been made to change, two important things must be addressed.
The first is the easiest to figure out. Recognize who you are. What have you done in the past and why you want change? Is change really necessary? The move of firing a coach can be so simple sometimes that the root of the problem is never discovered and never addressed.
The second issue is the most important; assessing who you want to be as a program and putting a plan together to get there. This involves goal setting, developing strategies and setting standards that will usher in the desired results. This is most difficult phase of the process, because without it, the change you seek ends up being no change at all.
So remember Clemson, Seattle, and Knoxville, if you do not fully understand who you are, why you want a change and where you want to go, you might end up fulfilling another famous prophesy. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results."