5-31. It is the rallying cry of many fans looking to replace the head coach. Really, despite all his better qualities, the most important thing he can do is win. Winning helps everything. You need more funds for the athletic department? How about after a ten-win season capped with a bowl victory? Now we have twenty people lined up for box seats next year. Oh wait. You only won two games? Eh. Maybe they’ll buy a hot dog and a t-shirt when they come for homecoming. Maybe.
I’d really like the head coach of North Texas to be an awesome guy that makes everyone around him like him. . . . if he wins. Unfortunately, being a nice guy isn’t a top qualification for being a head coach.
A look back:
Probably the most lasting poor decision made by PapaDodge was to come in with his high school staff. I really don’t blame him for wanting to be loyal. It smacked of arrogance at the time and proved to be folly. Having staff fresh out of high school is not dumb. People have had success doing so. Generally they come in one-at-a-time though. The experience of the college staff helps with the transition. Unfortunately for our staff it was a harsh transition. Ron Mendoza was out-schemed and out-classed at this level. Aside from the obvious on-field ramifications, it affected the moral of the squad (had to right?) the moral of the fan-base and probably recruiting (“Hey, kid on our staff we have guys that know what they are doing.”)
During a period and at a place where any mistake, regardless of size, has tremendous consequences Dodge made rookie head coach errors. This, perhaps was the thing everyone should have thought of at the time. Although we like to talk up how this is a pivotal point in UNT’s history. I would argue that that 2006 season was equally, if not more important. Coming off a recent winning period, we weren’t a complete laughing stock yet. We have lost any momentum from that time.
I respect a calculated gamble. You have to risk some things if you want to get a big payoff. Hiring the hottest high school name in Texas was a very risky play with potential for a big payoff. It didn’t work. We did salvage some things from it. Apparently Dodge was a big help in getting the stadium built. Whether or not some other guy that could have came in here would have piled up wins and accomplished the same thing is left to the imagination.
What to do
We as a school, a fanbase, a support group do not have the means (or wherewithal , some say) to hire and fire coaches at a whim. We need to take calculated gambles. I side more with the thinking that firing Dodge, although justifiable, is not feasible. Instead, we should focus on hiring quality assistant coaches. They are reasonably priced, and do all the things we need. Sure, an army is nothing without a leader, and Dodge’s ability to lead a staff may be in question. That means the search for quality assistant coaches should lean toward those who may be qualified to take the big job too, for a nice even transition when and if it comes time to sack Mr. Southlake.
A decidedly unsexy option to be sure, but to my outsider eyes perhaps the most effective given our situation.
In any case,