Never was a fan of the coach-in-waiting concept. It seemed a sneaky way of getting or keeping a valued assistant coach by promising that somewhere in the nebulous future the head coaching job would be turned over. There are few head coaches that will turnover the reins when they are winning and the fans are content. Most like the prestige, the job, or the money too much.. Think Mack Brown and Bobby Bowden.
The disadvantages of WVU’s coach-in-waiting concept have been well documented by television’s talking heads. So, let’s look at the advantages:
1.A more seamless transition- No full house spring cleaning with the total program disruption that often occurs. The incoming coach has a year to learn the team management details at his new school without having to actually deal with them. The outgoing coach gets a chance to bow out gracefully and, hopefully, on a more winning note.
2.The incoming recruits and existing players win- Since the head coach and a strong nucleus of the current staff remains in place, the players can be assured there will be no wholesale changes that will affect their current status. Also the new coach may improve the players numbers, resulting in a higher draft status and more wins.
3. The existing coaches win- They get a chance to audition for the new coach to show their value and, at the very least, an additional year to search for a new position.
4. Recruiting wins- A high profile coach, who reigns supreme in the area the team is deficient in, should attract quality players who want to play in his system.
5. Finally, the fans win- There is less likely to be a drop in the win total and fans will not hear, “It takes time to get my players in”. Think Michigan.
A coach-in-waiting contract is not worth the paper it is written on, unless there is a definite exit/start date on it. WVU has that date on its contract. WVU has a real coach-in –waiting.
Forget the rumors of animosity and hurt feelings, coaches are professionals and, as such, will conduct themselves in a professional manner. Failure to do so would only result in a shortened coach-in–waiting period and no person would benefit in that scenario.
WVU’s method of handling this situation could very well become a blueprint for other institutions and is to be applauded.