Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Like Mike. Too Bad the Higher-Ups Don't Agree

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been quite impressed with the job that Mike Canales has done since being named interim head football coach at UNT last month. He added a couple of wins to an otherwise dismal season, and his energy and enthusiasm captured the hearts of the fans and the team itself. At Saturday's game, one of the biggest cheers being led from the student side was "MIKE-CA-NA-LES! (clap! clap! clap clap clap!)," and at game's end, several team members joined in and pointed toward the man as he headed to the sideline. Even if the wins weren't all there, the team played with a new sense of purpose and determination that hadn't been seen in a while. From this fan's standpoint, it sure seemed that Canales had done enough to earn the permanent job.

But the "powers that be" don't seem to see it that way. As I noted last night, some of us at the game had barely sat down to dinner when reports started to surface that former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney had been offered the job...which seemed to leave Canales, who had openly expressed his desire to be a head coach somewhere, out in the cold. I know that neither the fans nor the team can play too active of a role in the choice of the next coach, but it seemed that something was wrong here. And from reading the forums deep into the night last night, I was starting to see a troubling picture, if any of the following scenarios are true:
  • Athletic Director Rick Villarreal wanted to give Canales the head job, but he was vetoed by university President Lane Rawlins and/or the Board of Regents.

  • McCarney is an old crony of Chuck Neinas, the head of the consulting firm hired to assist with the head coaching search.
But that's the hearsay; here is what we know for sure: McCarney may have been the winningest coach in Iowa State's history, but his overall record was 56-85 in 12 seasons at the helm. (And an Iowa State fan on the forum said that McCarney should get the Mean Green to a bowl in 4-5 years, as if that was a good thing.)

Look, I understand that RV and company probably feel burned by what happened (or, more correctly, what didn't happen) in the Todd Dodge era, and I know that they wanted a proven college head coach. But still, I can't get past the 56-85 thing right now. Didn't Canales do enough to prove himself at this level over the past month? Isn't it time to keep the outstanding coach who's in your own backyard, rather than go for a retread who's sort of well-known?

There's only one way this could end happily at this point: If McCarney offers Canales the chance to stay--offensive coordinator again?--and Canales takes it. I don't know a thing about McCarney; is he a confident enough man to retain the most popular coach who's been at UNT in a long time, knowing that there would be calls for Canales to take over if McCarney can't right the ship in time? And would Canales settle for the consolation prize, knowing that he might have been able to get the top job at another school?

I'm still not a very happy alum right now, but I guess I need to suck it up and give "Coach Mac" a chance, if this deal does indeed go down in the next few days. And I wish Coach Canales (clap! clap! clap clap clap!) all the best, no matter what happens.

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