Sunday, October 4, 2009

Coaching Carousal Part 9: Loose Ends

Army Has a Coach
Army AD Kevin Anderson wanted this search wrapped up quickly, and, having terminated seven year Head Coach Jim Crews on the eve (practically) of Midnight Madness, Anderson has, indeed, identified and, according to the Times Herald-Record, the news outlet that has been on this story from the first whispers, hired Zach Spiker, the 33 year old assistant coach at Cornell. Cornell's head coach Steve Donahue was Anderson's original target. According to the Times Herald-Record Spiker will be introduced as the Army head coach at a news conference scheduled for Tuesday October 6.

Credit the 2009 Offseason?
Are Crews and Spiker the last act in the 2009 season (and off season), or the first fire/hire of the 2010 season? Like most sports these days, the news cycle does not appear to stop, even at the least active point in the off season. Full fall practice does not start for another 2 weeks...though Grambling may not have settled it's own coaching vacancy (teams in the SWAC tend to allow their interim coaches the opportunity to erase the "interim" from their titles), I'm calling Army's hire the last act in 2009 off season. Though I reserve the right to change that if something else pops in the next ten (or so) days. It may have been a relatively inactive off season, logging the fewest number of turnovers in (at least) 4 seasons, the duration has been unusually long. Scott Edgar's (from Southeast Missouri State) termination back on December 31 of 2008 marked the first vacancy, stretching this fire/hire cycle to a full ten months.

By the Numbers
Crews' firing made the Army job the 31st vacancy in this cycle; Grambling, following Army's announcement by two days, became the 32nd vacancy. As in prior cycles, the employer initiated most of the vacancies, and consistent with prior seasons, the employers moved overwhelming in the period between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the spring signing period. While employer-initiated turnovers are unusual at other times (during the season, after the spring signing period ends), they are not unheard of, largely explained by exigent circumstances. Edgars' termination at SE Missouri State came as the culminating act that started with an NCAA investigation into program violations. Both Grambling's Rick Duckett and Army's Jim Crews were terminated as a direct result of alleged player abuse.

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