JohnBHusky's post on The Beginning of the end for Sark at UW just didn't quite sit well for me. It could have just been an issue of semantics, but I really think that each successful head coach needs to have games like the one that happened last Saturday against Arizona. You know, that game against a team you really should have beat, but ends up turning into a three-headed mutant that looks like Yoda? I couldn't help but add my two cents, because I think each coach NEEDS something like this. It really ends up being the crux of his tenure, the make or break point. Lot's of coaches fail when this point comes, but the great ones take it by the head and run with it. The real question follows: is Sark a good coach, or a great coach?
You can always smell the beginning of the end of a college football coaching career.
It is very possible that there is a game that marks the beginning of the end for a head coach at a particular school. Generally, it happens sometime early in a coaches career, but not always, and it really ends up being the defining moment for a coach. However, that is most definitely not always the case. You might be able to smell the end of a coach's career at a specific place, and it might be because of one game. However, many times it is more than just a game. It could be entire seasons, it could be because of sociopolitical issues (like for Jim Owens). However, there that single game is just an indicator of what might happen, but isn't necessarily the beginning of the end.
Performances like this are more than just simple losses. They are the definitive signs that the coach is losing the control and respect of his team. Once that happens it is almost impossible to recover the momentum it takes to get the train back on the tracks and headed in the right direction.
There are times when a team loses a game and it very well appears that the coach has proverbially lost his team. However, these types of things do happen quite often, but turn out to be nothing other than aberrations. Take the 1977 Huskies as an example. They started the season at 1-3. The third loss was to a middling Minnesota team by a final score of 17-19. At that time, a time you need to remember that there was only a couple of newspapers and not much as far as TV networks go to promulgate these rumors, people were talking. The loss to Minnesota seemed to be a clear sign that players felt disconnected from Don James. Remember, this was only his third year as head coach, and his two previous seasons were both middle of the road seasons, the Huskies finishing at 6-5 and 5-6 respectively.
However after observing Husky football for nearly forty years you can begin to see the writing on the wall. That writing tells me that it will take an absolute miracle for him to get this turned around because his players aren't believing in him anymore.
The rest of the story of the DawgFather in his third season is history. The following week, in Autzen Stadium, UW Booster Dave Torrell was able to stand behind the Huskies in the roped off area as they ran through the tunnel. Something happened to the team, and Torrell thought that the Dawgs looked intense. He hadn't seen them look that intense in forever, and that the game had the makings of a slaughter ... he proved prophetic as the Dawgs went on to collective beat the crap out of the entire Oregon Team, staff included.
Is it going to take a miracle to save Sark? That is a complete possibility. However, it could something as simple as an apology coupled with a promise, if that's necessary. Maybe it will take an emotional speech, or something darker. However, rather than looking at this game as the beginning of the end for Sark's coaching career at UW, it really should be looked at as a turning point in his tenure. Is this the time he takes tribulation by the sack and runs it out of the building, or will he allow the hard times to make him fly out of here. Only time will tell.