If you are a Tennessee fan, the decisions by athletic director Dave Hart are crucial this week. The Dooley era is done. Jon Gruden is not in the picture. So what now?
Drafting a quarterback in the NFL is very similar to picking a head coach in college. If you make the right decision on your signal caller, your team usually makes repeat playoff appearances, your fan base grows and making more money is inevitable.
Draft Ryan Leaf, Vince Young or Akili Smith? It will set your franchise back five years.
The same goes for the college ranks.
Alabama hired Nick Saban in 2007 and have gone 67-13 since. Oregon under Chip Kelly is 45-7 in his four years. It took Jim Harbaugh four years at Stanford to get to 12-1, making progress each year.
Hiring Derek Dooley cost the Vols three seasons and it will take another two years for the new coach to establish his scheme with his players.
It may be hard for the Big Orange Nation, but look at Vandy. They made the right coaching decision and a team that is usually not close to six wins, has had two straight bowl appearances all based on the hiring of James Franklin.
That is the exact reason why it is all on Dave Hart.
Several reports have said that Hart spoke with Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy on Sunday to discuss the Vols opening. Gundy is a perfect example.
It took him three years to recruit, build his brand and turn Oklahoma State into a nine-win team, all while gathering a couple of lower echelon bowl wins.
Besides time, coaches want power.
They don’t want to have to run to the AD every time they think something needs to be done. Dave Hart was hired in September of 2011 and he is trying to establish power, not give it away. That is another underlying factor.
I expect Hart to name a coach later this week because time is ticking. Whoever it is, it will be a five-year decision no matter how long the new coach stays.
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