Not a good week to be a college football coach, I guess.
First, The University of Maryland fires Randy Esdall after the team got off to a 2-4 record. What's interesting here is that Maryland had just extended Edsall's contract four months earlier, saying he was the guy to elevate the Terps to football greatness. Oops. Maryland will now pay Edsall about $3 million, while having to come up with even more cash to hire a new, exciting coach.
It used to be college would at least wait until the end of the season to fire the coach. But no more. As with everything else in our distracted, hyped-up culture, hiring and firing coaches has sped up dramatically.
More proof, USC fired Steve Sarkesian last night amid curious and vague allegations about "personal problems" the coach was having. Earlier in the season, he had been taken to the woodshed by USC AD Pat Haden for bad-mouthing his competition in a much reported slurry of words at a booster-fueled venue. The rumor is Sark needs assistance.
What I am wondering is whether USC invokes a morals clause to stiff him, or chooses to buyout the remaining years of his contract? In either case, we're looking at millions in costs to both fire and hire. A new coach will not come cheap at USC. anyone have a check for four or five million ready?
In other news, Steve Spurrier quit South Carolina last night without warning -- or at least a lot of the usual speculation. The team was off to a bad start and Spurrier, normally one of the more humorous coaches around, was increasingly testy. What the hell, he's 70 years old and has done all that he needs to do. He also seems to own most of the real estate in St. Augustine. Retire to the beach house and enjoy the sunsets.
Spurrier was paid about $4 million, so I guess SC is going to have to fork over more big bucks. After all, it is in the SEC, where the average salary now tops $4 million and Nick Saban is paid $7.1 million. The fans demand a good football team in Columbia, so look for another ridiculous hire and big bucks.
The idea that there is a rational market for football coaches at the highest levels is nuts. This is a model forged of desperation and absurdity, not to mention the feckless college presidents who go along.