Sunday, September 27, 2009

Coaching Carousal Part 8: Never Say Never?

Proclaiming September 24 as the latest date in the off season that a coach has been terminated was...premature!? A sign perhaps that the 2009 season & off season will not behave, Grambling University terminated 1st year coach Rick Duckett by letter on Friday. Like Army's late termination of Jim Crews, the proximate cause was the treatment of a player, though in Grambling/Duckett's case, the player in question, Henry White, a 21 year old Milwaukee native who transferred into Grambling from Hill Junior College in TX, grew ill during a training exercise and died 12 days later. Stranger still Duckett, in the hospital receiving surgery on the day of the training exercise, was not present to supervise the activity. Subsequent to White's death on August 26, Duckett, an assistant coach at South Carolina under Dave Odom and a DII head coach for 8 seasons, compiling a 150-75 record, and two of his assistants were placed on administrative leave. A third assistant, Robert Washington, was retained as the interim coach. Duckett was notified by letter on Friday, that he would be terminated on October 31.

By the Numbers
Grambling is the 32nd vacancy this off season, the 22nd initiated by the employer, pushing employer-initiated vacancies to 68.8% of the total. Higher than usual, but given the circumstances (as suggested by the extremely later point in the offseason cycle) surrounding both Army and Grambling's situations, understandable.

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