Rumors were flying around last night that Tyrone Willingham will resign as coach today but will finish out the season much in the same manner that Keith Gilbertson did in 2004. That doesn't necessarily mean that there will be an announcement at today's press conference. Sources are also saying this could drag on until after the USC game.
The truth of the matter is there are only three people out there who really know exactly what is going on and that is Tyrone, Emmert, and Woodward. The rumors are likely the result of insider speculation. No matter what the timing is the administration has decided that the program will be in much better hands with Willingham running the show till the end of the season rather than making an assistant an interim head coach.
Jim Moore of the Seattle PI chips in with these and other comments:
There's another part of me that does not enjoy watching Willingham go out like this. Can you imagine feeling like you're pretty good at what you do and busting your tail and getting these kinds of results? Then having everyone tell you how terrible you are all the time?
My friend Nathan Ware adds these comments this morning:
I wrote my post game column with half-sarcasm and half-truthfulness. I wanted to throw a verbal hand grenade after the game and sometimes doing that makes sense. In all honestly, I really don't care what they do with Tyrone Willingham at this point. It's possible that firing Willingham could have made a difference a couple of weeks ago but now it's too late. Putting an interim coach in at this point will have zero effect either way. They are going to lose by 6+ touchdowns on Saturday no matter who is coaching. They are going to lose to ASU, UCLA, and Cal.
Nathan goes on to say that the Athletic Department doesn't really care about what the fans think and they have been ignoring them ever since Todd Turner came on board as Athletic Director.
That is a pretty easy to agree with and Scott Woodward's number one job in my opinion once he names a new football coach is to start filling in the divide between the football program and it's fan base. Every week you see signs in the stands and posts on the message boards which state "I want my Huskies back". That statement really breaks down the root of the problem.
When Turner was hired he went about establishing a completely new culture at Washington which excluded for the most part boosters, fans, alumni, former players and anyone who wanted to get close to the football program.
When he hired Willingham he had the perfect guy to carry out that plan because he didn't want anyone at all around his program. The "W" on the helmet began to mean Willingham not Washington.
No matter who Washington hires as their next head coach it won't matter if they don't heal the relationship between the fans and the team. Washington is a public University and historically there has always been a sense of ownership between the fans and the football program.
All successful college football programs thrive on the relationship the team has with it's fan base. It has always been a mystery to me why Turner and Willingham turned their back on the programs biggest asset. While it may be a mystery five straight years of losing is the net result.
Woodward needs to get that relationship turned around pronto if he is really serious about rebuilding the program to it's past glory. That is the point of Nathan's column this morning because we haven't seen Woodward make a public move in that direction yet.
Gary Pinkel has to be at the top of the list because of his success at Missouri and his ties to UW as an assistant coach. Pinkel is a little less hot now after a couple of Big 12 losses. Odds are that he retires at Missouri.
Mora seems to be the fans front runner going into this week. You have to wonder when Seahawks management is going to throw some cold water on this and ask Mora to give a statement saying he has no interest in the job. Until that happens speculation will continue.
I like Tedford because of his experience, work ethic, and built in West coast recruiting network. To me he makes the most sense if he is truly interested in the job.
Commons sense tells me it will be none of the above. All three have good jobs and more security where they are currently at. Pinkel and Tedford can retire where they are at and that is rare in college football circles. Mora of course has a $20 million dollar contract and one of the better management teams in the NFL surrounding him.
If it isn't one of the top three who will it be?
I am pretty sure Pat Hill will get an interview if the top three stay put.
Keep an eye on Edsall and Muschamp who both have a relationship with Mark Emmert from his days at U-Conn and LSU. The knock on both of these guys are that they are not geographically desirable.
Personally I like Peterson, Patterson and Graham the best at this point of the remaining candidates.
- Gary Pinkel
- Jim Mora
- Jeff Tedford
- Chris Peterson
- Pat Hill
- Todd Graham
- Brian Kelly
- Gary Patterson
- Will Muschamp
- Randy Edsall
Pac Ten Power Ratings
1. USC....Tougher than expected game with Arizona means that the Trojans are up and down from week to week.
2. California...Big game with the Ducks could decide a Rose/Holiday Bowl berth.
3. Oregon...Very impressive in taking apart ASU this past weekend.
4. Arizona...Closer than expected loss to USC means that the Wildcats are for real and Mike Stoops will be back for another year.
5. Oregon State...Getting better every week.
6. Stanford...Healing up after a bye.
7. Arizona State...You don't often see Dennis Erickson teams nose dive like this. Like UCLA they have too many holes to fill.
8. UCLA...Neu has them fighting every game but they have not been able to fill some serious holes left by the previous regime.
9. Washington...Looks like some of the team quit on Willingham this week.
10. Washington State...A much needed bye week for the worst team in college football.