What a couple of weeks it's been for coaches of major college programs. Here's my takes on all the big comings and goings:
-Brian Kelly (left Cincinnati for Notre Dame): I don't really have a problem with Kelly leaving Cincinatti for Notre Dame. ND, as much as I dislike it (Overrated U, in my book), is still one of the premiere coaching jobs in the game. With Kelly's background, it must have been especially appealing. My issue is with the timing. He really left his players at Cincinnati hanging for the Sugar Bowl, which was not right. I don't fault them at all for rallying against him (really, Coach, announcing you're leaving at the season victory banquet wasn't a good choice). He should have waited. I understand there is a lot of work to do in South Bend to move on from the Weis years, but you can't tell me it couldn't have waited until the second week in January. He built Cincinnati into a big football program, and I don't understand why he wouldn't want to coach his last game there against Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow, and one hell of a Florida team.
-Mike Leach (fired from Texas Tech)/Mark Mangino (resigned amidst pressure from Kansas)/Jim Leavitt (fired from USF): I have some mixed feelings on these firings. If what they're accused of doing is true, then it is fair that they're gone from their coaching jobs. There's no place in football for sadism in punishment, especially at an age when a coach is still supposed to be a mentor to his players. That being said, football is a violent, draining sport that does require some harsh drills and practice methods. There needs to be a quality middle ground between playing through pain and going too far.
-Pete Carroll (left USC for the Seattle Seahawks): I actually have no problem with Carroll leaving USC. I question why he would want to leave USC for the NFL, especially when LA has no pro team, but he is leaving USC in better shape than he found it. My only concern is that he's bailing right before the hammer comes down on the athletic program because of the Reggie Bush/OJ Mayo/other player mishaps. My feelings on this one may be changed once the NCAA speaks on the matter.
-Lane Kiffin (left Tennessee for USC): I understand that Kiffin has connections to USC that preceded his attachment to Tennessee, but Kiffin has proven to be a tool with this move. Bolting after one season isn't cool, especially with the way he sold himself to UT last year. This jams his recruited players, and may jam the whole school if any sanctions come down from Kiffin's numerous recruiting violations. Kiffin also leaves with UT's defensive coordinator and their head of recruiting. With signing day only a few weeks away, Tennessee is going to be in a huge jam in the ultra competitive SEC. The news that they've been trying to get some Tennessee players to follow them to USC doesn't help either. Can someone explain to me what Lane Kiffin has done to be this desirable by so many football programs?