Friday, December 27, 2013

Hey Coach

TigerBlog was rooting hard for Bowling Green last night in the, um, well, in the bowl game that Bowling Green was in.

TB knows it was in Detroit. And that it was named for a pizza company. Turns out it was the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

And why was he rooting for Bowling Green? Its interim head coach, Adam Scheier.

As it turned out, the game was a pretty good one. Pitt beat BG 30-27 on a late field goal as freshman James Conner ran for 229 yards while also playing defensive end.

So Scheier went 0-1 as BG's interim coach. He took over for Dave Clawson when Clawson was named the head coach at Wake Forest.

This seems to happen every year in bowl games, when teams from leagues like the MAC always appear at least to have lost their head coach to a BCS conference school that had recently fired its old coach.

Bowling Green hired Dino Babers from Eastern Illinois to replace Clawson, which means that Scheier appears to be on his way to Wake Forest to reunite with his old boss. That's why it would have been nice for Scheier to get to 1-0 in his head coaching career, because there is no guarantee for an assistant coach that there will be another chance to be the head man.

Consider Scheier's resume - Wake Forest now. Bowling Green before that. Lehigh before that. A Dartmouth grad who once blocked two punts that were returned for touchdowns in the same game (click here and scroll down a bit), he began his coaching career at his alma mater before moving to Columbia.

And then? He spent two years at Princeton, where he was special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach. TigerBlog remembers Scheier mostly for being one of the best passers in Jadwin lunchtime basketball history.

It's not easy being an assistant coach in any sport. There are way more people who want to be head coaches than there are head coaching spots, and most assistants will never achieve the top spot.

TB thinks it's hardest in football, maybe because there are so many more coaches on a staff that the math suggests the odds are longer of becoming a head coach. Plus, when the head coach is fired (which happens all the time in football), the assistants almost always lose their jobs as well.

Princeton has had pretty good consistency in its football coaching staffs in TB's time, probably more so than most schools.

Bob Dipipi, one of the assistant coaches that TB worked with passed away recently, at the age of 78. Dipipi was a tough football guy who worked on Steve Tosches' staff and then was the head coach of the sprint team for a few years.

Some of the former assistant football coaches have gone on to become high school head coaches. TB can't think of one who became a head coach on the college level. Maybe he's missing someone.

And maybe someone on the current staff will get there. If TB had to guess, he'd say the odds are pretty good that at least one will.

Still, these are the realities that these guys live with.

Yes, not every administrator in college athletics will become an athletic director. It's a little different existence, though, as people like TB don't have to consider that if the football team doesn't win that his job is at stake.

And while some people in administration bounce around from school to school, it happens much less frequently than it does in coaching, especially among football coaches - who often go from school to school against their will.

Even at Princeton, where the staff is stable and the team is coming off its best season in years, TB didn't see much of the football assistant coaches for the month of December, during which they are always away recruiting all over the country.

Another head football coach with Princeton connections is Jason Garrett of the Cowboys, who was the quarterback at Princeton when current Tiger head coach Bob Surace was the center. Garrett has achieved the highest level of his profession, only he has to live with the weekly "will he be fired, will he not be fired" discussion.
Yes, he makes a ton of money. Still, his job perhaps rides on the outcome of one game, this Sunday against the Eagles, when the winner makes the playoffs and the loser goes home.

As an aside, TB isn't sure which team he's rooting for in this one, as they are tied for first among his least favorite NFL teams.

Anyway, it was good to see an old friend like Scheier on TV, with an opportunity to be the head coach for a game. It was good to see him in all the closeups, good to hear commentators debating his decisions.

Hopefully he gets another chance.


Anonymous said...

TB, besides being an entertaining writer, you are enjoyable to read because you're an old softie.

By the way, Joe Susan, former Princeton offensive coordinator under Steve Tosches, is head coach at Bucknell.

And Roger Hughes is head coach at Stetson University; I guess technically he does not count as a former Princeton assistant.

Princeton OAC said...

How could TigerBlog have left out Joe Susan? Apologies.