Wednesday, January 13, 2010

COLLEGE COACHING HAS BECOME QUITE A BAD SOAP OPERA

Photo of Former Tennessee and new USC head coach Lane Kiffin, by the Associated Press

Loyalty, honesty and family values are just a few of the qualities that today's athletes are lacking.

They do come by it honestly, though.

The people who should be most influential in developing these important virtues into today's young athletes don't possess any themselves.

Just look at the recent college football coaching scene. It's like watching a bad soap opera — everyone is cheating and moving from one person to the next.

Let's take former Cincinnati head coach, Brian Kelly, for example. The offensive guru leaves the Bearcats for Notre Dame — and doesn't even stay for the biggest game in the school's history (the Sugar Bowl against Florida).

That's like leaving your wife for another woman while she's heading to the hospital to give birth to your first child. And all because he thinks the other woman is hotter. Come on, Notre Dame is like Sharon Stone — they haven't been hot since the 80's.

The players and the entire institution at the University of Cincinnati was distraught, heart broken, smitten over Kelly's decision to ditch them. So how do they react? They do the very same thing that was done to them, snagging Central Michigan head coach, Butch Jones, away from the Chippewas — prior to their bowl game against Troy.

As the great philosopher Archie Bunker once said, "Do unto them, before they can do unto you."

It doesn't end there.

Perhaps the best college football coach of the past decade, Southern California's Pete Carroll, decided to leave the perennial powerhouse Trojans earlier this week — or shall I say run away from the plethora of NCAA violations that are stacking up — to take over for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

Carroll was like, "well, it was fun SC, we had some great times. But, you're getting a little too high maintenance for me, so ... see ya!"

Much like Jessica Simpson did after being dumped by Tony Romo, the Trojans just batted their eyelashes, showed off their pearly whites, among other things and bing, bang, boom ... the young — and dumb — Lane Kiffin of the University of Tennessee came calling. And only after one year of marriage with the Volunteers.

"This was not an easy decision," Kiffin stated at his press conference following his hiring at USC. "I really believe this is the only place I would have left (Tennessee) to go to."

Interesting? Do you think Kiffin told that to the prep stars he was trying to recruit at Tennessee?

"Hey kid, I really hope you come play for me at Tennessee. But, you know, if a school like USC offers you a scholarship, you should probably go there, instead ... I mean, I would!"

It's highly doubtful that those words were ever uttered. However, Kiffin may be saying that to those same recruits now that he's in SoCal.

Kelly, Jones, Carroll and Kiffin are not the only ones ... Rich Rodriguez (Michigan), Bobby Petrino (Arkansas), Nick Saban (Alabama) and Urban Meyer (Florida) are just a few of the coaches who left their former programs reeling following their abrupt departures.

These guys will be fine, though. Millions of dollars can do that. But the ones who are being hurt by this behavior, are the same ones who are damaged following a nasty divorce — the kids.

How are the athletes today going to learn what it's like to have honor, integrity and be part of a family unit, when the ones who are molding them are as straight as a paper clip?

Seriously, how in the world can these coaches look at these young recruits — with a straight face — and say "I care for you and your future, come play for me and this great institution," knowing that they will bolt if a better situation presents itself?

Seantrel Henderson — the nation's top prep football prospect in the nation, according to numerous scouting services — has been greatly affected by this crazy coaching carousel. The 6-8, 330-pound offensive tackle from St. Paul, Minnesota has schools like USC, Notre Dame and Florida amongst the top places on his wish list, along with Ohio State and Miami, FL.

However, with Carroll leaving USC, Notre Dame canning former coach Charlie Weis for Kelly and the uncertain status of Meyer down in Florida, what should have been a fun recruiting adventure has become a major headache for the country's best high school football player.

"This definitely has an effect on our situation," Seantrel Henderson's father, Sean, told Scout.com recruiting analyst, Bill Greene. "To be honest, I'm not really looking forward to any of the visits at all at this point. It just keeps becoming more and more stressful.

"I don't know."

Neither do any of the rest of us.

And that's the sad, sad truth.