This week on Midweek QB, we're again going to forgo discussing the Xs and Os of this weekend's game with Missouri. The way this coaching staff is coaching and these players are playing, Missouri can name its score right now. Yeah, they had a close call with Baylor last week, but last I checked, we don't have a defense and don't have Robert Griffin.
So me, Panjandrum, and EMAW got together and had a cyber discussion of what we need to see moving forward. You'll notice I included a block quote from a newspaper article I wrote my senior year at K-State (2006). There is no live link to it on the Interwebs anymore, but if you doubt that I wrote it, I'll be happy to provide a photo of the July 5, 2006, edition of the K-State Collegian.
Panjandrum: PJ's plan (sans binder)...
Working under the assumption that we're going to make a change after this year, and Ron Prince is removed, you have to do two things beginning tomorrow:
1) Build the war chest
2) Identify candidates
First of all, we've got a buyout to save up for. Due to the contract extension (which I was accepting of just a few short months ago, but I digress...), we now owe Prince over a million to remove him. Therefore, that money has to come from somewhere. It's up to Bob Krause and Jon Wefald to start kissing ass and admitting they made a mistake. You'll probably have to spread the wealth a little bit and ask for some significant donations. This is definately going to sting because we were most likely relying on that money for the 'Wildcat Victory' campaign for facility upgrades. Cest la vie. You also need to realize that a decent candidate probably has a contract with a buyout as well, so we'll have to pay that too. Therefore, we're looking at somewhere around 2 million (rough estimate) to even hire someone new. That's a lot of money for KSU to come up with. They better get at it.
Second of all, with finances in mind, it's imporant for KSU to start identifying candidates. A few weeks back, we discussed a 'Super Secret Search Committee' (S3C). Well, that committee need not be secret anymore, but they need to get together at least once a week to identify candidates and track them throughout the season. Obviously, I'm biased; I want Gary Patterson from TCU. He's a KSU alumni, and his track record speaks for itself.
A guy like Patterson, the most obvious choice, is definitely a long shot. Therefore, a list of backup candidates must be compiled at this time. Now, we've got a tricky situation with the finances, so if you can't get the first choice, you need to make a run at other candidates with that in mind. For example, are there any coaches that are out of work that would make a good hire (i.e. a football version of Bob Huggins)? Dennis Franchione? Terry Bowden? I'm not exactly in love with either of these guys, but they are names that have been thrown around on message boards, and they fit the criteria of once successful BCS coaches that are currently out of work. You've got a guy like Chan Gailey in Kansas City (Offensive Coordinator) that has had moderate success as a head coach in a BCS conference (Six years, six bowl games), or you've got Dirk Koetter (OC - Jacksonville) that had moderate success at Boise St. and Arizona St. Again, neither are sexy candidates, but they are solid coaches with experience at both the collegiate and NFL levels.
Of course, what about Tommy Bowden or Phil Fulmer? Both of those guys are solid coaches who know how to win football games, and they'll be looking for jobs next year. Sure, they were removed from their current positions, but can anyone say that they would be worse than Ron Prince? If Tommy Tuberville is fired at Auburn, would he be a good candidate? Both of them are going to be living on some buyout money, so they may coach for less if we ask...
Also, are there any other mid-major coaches on the upswing? I'm a huge fan of Todd Graham at Tulsa, but he doesn't have any ties to KSU. What about a guy like Brady Hoke at Ball State? He's got his squad sitting at 8-0 after leading them to a bowl game last year. He was a candidate for the Washington St. job a couple years back, and he was informally contacted by Michigan when they were searching for coaches. Or, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but what about Turner Gill? Sure, he's a Husker legend, but he's leading the Buffalo Bulls back to respectability in the MAC Conference. He was the 2007 MAC Conference Coach of the year after leading them to a 5-7 record. If that's not telling of how bad they were before he got there, I don't know what would.
I think what it all boils down to is what you want out of the next coach at Kansas State. Do you want to swing for the fences and search for the next Bill Snyder? Or do you want a guy that's going to go bowling nearly every year and put this program on more solid footing in the next 5-10 years? Remember, we aren't that far removed from eleven straight bowl games and a Big 12 Championship; going to bowl games in three of the next five years means that KSU will have gone bowling fifteen times in twenty years...not bad for Futility U.
Do you want a formerly scorned coach that's looking to resurrect his career and save his legacy (Franchione, Bowden)?
Are you looking for a solid coach who simply didn't live up to the expectations of 'tradition-rich' schools even though they had a solid amount of success (Tommy Bowden, Fulmer)?
Do we want to pluck a coach from the NFL that's had an average career at the BCS level if all else fails?
Would a coach with his career on the upswing be the right choice?
Or, best case scenario, do you take every dollar you have and go get a guy like Gary Patterson? An alumni with significant success at the mid-major level with a winning record against BCS competiton?
So, at this point, you need to do some soul searching if you're Jon Wefald. Do you want your legacy to be sticking with a football coach that effectively buries our program like Tom Asbury did in basketball? Or do you want to go out as the guy that admitted he made a mistake and went out and hired a better coach?
All we can do, as fans, is tell them what we think. I know that we here at BOTC feel very strongly that change is necessary; it's up to us and you to voice our opinions to the KSU adminstration however we see fit. If you don't want to renew your tickets, tell the administration. If you just want to voice your displeasure, tell them. However, and I'll say this one time...
You have to be explicit in your disapproval because word is that Krause and Wefald think things are A-OK in Manhattan. If you don't agree, be loud, and don't let them think you're okay with what's going on in Manhattan. We here at BOTC will bang the drum as loudly as we can, but folks out there need to use whatever means necessary to express their desire for change.
Rant over. EMAW.
EMAW: Okay, so I here I sit in Chapel Hill, NC, right across the street from UNC, and all I can think about is KSU football. Yeah, I'm obsessed....especially considering the scenery I've seen tonight.
To make this short and sweet, here's my thoughts.
Yes, we most likely need a new football coach. Ron Prince has proved that he has no idea how to maintain the upkeep of a BCS football program. If I was New Mexico or Arkansas State, I would stick with him for another 3-4 years. But, this is K-State. Contrary to what Jason Fatlock or any other out-of-touch journalist thinks, we actually hold ourselves to a high standard.
With that said, I honestly don't think we get Patterson to KSU. If I was to guess, I would think our best-case scenario is Todd Graham, which I would still approve. For some reason, I just don't think Patterson will come back home. I would love it if he did, but I just have this strange feeling he won't. But man, I love watching Tulsa play this year. After Graham, I would pursue Phil Fulmer or Lane Kiffin, in no particular older.
All of these coaches on my wish list are probably a moot point, because I honestly don't think this is Prince's last season. I believe Krause does not want to rock the boat so early in his tenure, so he will give Ron another year. Who knows, I may be wrong. I mean, I was the guy that said Sarah Palin will probably pose for Playboy before she is done with her political career. Let's all hope I'm right....
Oh yeah, let's all not forget.....GO K-S-U...BEAT THE F*ING TIGERS!!!!!
TB: I'm going to use PJ's format here, and add something from a news article I wrote about two-and-a-half years ago. Unfortunately, I can't find a link to it on the K-State Collegian's Web site, so I'll post a picture of it in print and then just copy and paste from the original Word document for verification purposes.
There can be no doubt that this is not going to be a cheap process. We have to pay Prince's buyout, Patterson's buyout (if he's the coach we get), and then we're going to have to pay for assistants. It's the price of doing business these days. We tried to go cheap when we hired a young offensive coordinator with no prior experience, and we saw how that goes. Sure, sometimes when you go that route, you find a diamond in the rough, but you're more likely to get a guy who's not ready to coach in the Big 12.
Anyway, here is a blockquote from my story about Tim Weiser, published in the K-State Collegian on July 5, 2006:
Part of the department's financial solvency is the reserve fund, which Weiser introduced. For the first time in athletic department history, money is being set aside for the future. Weiser said he introduced a 10-year plan that proposed setting aside one percent of the department's operating budget each year. At this point in time, the department is slightly ahead of schedule. When he took over, K-State was unprepared for lean times financially.
"At the time, we didn't have one penny in a reserve account," Weiser said. "It's meant to give us an opportunity should another 9-11 occur and a football or basketball game we're scheduled to play at home is cancelled and all of a sudden there's revenue we had budgeted for that's not available.
"It is not for us to ever use on an annual basis. It's only meant to be used in cases of a significant emergency or unexpected need that we can't solve in any other way."
Also, take a look at these numbers from the Indianapolis Star. It shows we were operating almost $5.5M in the black in 2004-05. It seems to me that we should have some money built up. Now, I realize Weiser said that one percent per year was only to be used in the event of a 9/11-type situation or some other type of emergency, but I consider this a worthy situation. First, we should have enough money built up that this is not going to bankrupt the reserve account. Second, if we don't make a move now, this football program may be ruined for an indefinite period, and if K-State football isn't generating revenue, the rest of the athletic department is going to suffer.
So that's the athletic department side of the finances. As PJ notes, some of that money was likely earmarked for the Wildcat Victory campaign, so of course it's going to be essential to get the Vaniers and other big boosters on board so that we don't throw everything off schedule. At some point, there should be some accountability for Bob Krause over the reckless extension that was given to Prince after two seasons of very mediocre football and the disaster that was November last year, but considering he married into the Vanier family, he may be fireproof.
Some people, specifically Jason Whitlock, don't think we can possibly get a good coach with the leadership vacuum in the administration. While it's true that Jon Wefald is on his way out as University President, it is also true that he is quite possibly the most activist U.P. in the country with regard to athletics. Most U.P.'s give far more deference to their AD over the decisions in the athletic department, so I don't think the next U.P. is going to have much of an effect on whether a football coach candidate would decide to come here. Much more important is what is going to happen in the athletic department. Is Krause a long-term solution there? Will Jim Epps continue overseeing the day-to-day operations? While I don't think Wefald's exit as U.P. will cause a coaching candidate to be nervous about coming here, the prospect of a new athletic director could.
Anyway, on to the candidates. In my mind, things begin and end with Gary Patterson. You guys did a good job of detailing his K-State background, but I'm going to note something that has been mentioned yet. He grew up in Rozel, Kan. Why is that important? It means he grew up in a small town in Kansas. He went to school in Manhattan. His background is in Kansas, his roots are in Kansas. Kansas is home to Gary Patterson. True, he's been gone a long time, and maybe he isn't interested in coming back, either because he thinks he has a good thing going at TCU or because things are a mess in Manhattan, or some other reason.
But he's a better candidate because he's a Kansan and a K-State guy. Lane Kiffin is probably a very good football coach, but he's an L.A. guy. I have to believe he would hate living in Manhattan, and he has no background here. Todd Graham's a possibility, because he's had coaching success in the Great Plains region. Every other coach is a possibility, but for me at least, the list begins and ends with Gary Patterson. We need to throw money his way. We need to promise him money for his assistants. We need to have Bill Snyder go tell him how important it is for K-State to have him come home. We need to make it clear we don't expect miracles, we just want to see progress. Put simply, we need to do absolutely everything in our power to get him in Manhattan. I know we hated OU when they raided our staff in 1998 before the Big 12 CG, and while we don't want to turn this into a media circus, we can't play Mr. Nice Guy. That's how business goes sometimes.
The choice is clear, Wildcat Nation. Gary Patterson in '09!
Panjandrum: One additional thing that I want to make clear...
None of us at BOTC feel this change should be made because Prince hasn't won the Big 12 Conference in 2.5 seasons. We don't have some sort of asinine expectations about where this program 'should' be. I consider myself a pragmatist, and I wasn't expecting much this year. I figured a bowl game was most likely possible (still is I guess), but the one thing that I expected was for this team to be much more competitive than it is today. I expected a much better showing against a slightly better than average KU team. I expected for the team to give up less than fifty-five points in a half against Oklahoma. Most of all, I expected the porous defense that showed up at the end of 2007 to improve. None of these things happened.
What concerns me the most about this program are little fires springing up all over the place. TB's latest fan shot is one example. Message board scuttlebutt says that a lot of K-State fans will not renew their tickets and/or donations until Prince is relieved of his duties (I'm one of them.). We've got fans starting "Fire Prince" websites and "Hire Patterson" ones as well. I won't relay specific rumors that TB and I have heard, but there's a gigantic game of telephone going on in the state of Kansas in regards to rumors coming out of Vanier, and as they say, where there's smoke, there's usually fire in some regard.
When you look at the level of disatisfaction in the fanbase, and you combine that with the rumors and scuttlebutt, it becomes very hard for a coach to seize positive momentum...especially when they are in the midst of a pretty ugly losing streak. It begins to eat away from your ability to recruit, and if you go to Scout.com or Rivals.com and look at the commitment lists, you will see reason for concern. Not to take away from the kids who have committed to KSU; we're glad that you chose our school, but the number of commitments is kind of frightening. Some schools have mostly filled out their classes and will finish them off after the season; KSU still probably has 50% more to go. How well do you think we're going to sell a program in turmoil with a coach that's perceived by nearly every local media outlet as a lame duck?
The backlash against Prince has been swift and fierce. He's been smacked with a haymaker in the mid-rounds of his tenure at KSU, and he's leaning up against the ropes. Two more losses, and we're looking at a guy who is knocked out for the count. If Wefald and Krause don't act after the season (remember, I do not condone in-season firings), we're looking at going into next year with greatly reduced season ticket sales, who knows how many new assistants (as Prince has a history of high staff turnover every year), and a senior class laden with JUCO players that have skewed our scholarship numbers to the point where 2010 looks like we'll be really filling up with more walk-ons just to get to 85 scholarships.
Guys, the future looks bleak. Prince is nearly knocked out. If our adminstration is Hell bent on letting him come back, it's up to us as a fan base to tell them how poor of an idea that is, and how we will not support a coach who can't even field a competitive team and recruit in a competent manner.
Speak out people. E-mail the administration. Tell your friends about this site, and link them to it. We're going to spend the rest of the season doing our best to keep people up to speed with what's going on in Manhattan, and if you have friends on the fence, we'll do our best to put all of the facts (as we know them) out there for public consumption.
In the spirit of election night, you have a voice. If you don't like what's going on in Manhattan, let your leaders know. Vote for change.
Patterson in '09.
Or Todd Graham.
Or, basically, anyone but Ron.