I'm not ready to fire Ted Roof, but after Duke's 0-2 start this season, I understand and accept that it very well might be necessary to make a coaching change at the end of this season. I'll be hoping and pulling for Ted to get over the hump in the final 10 games, but I think most of us would agree that if he adds another 0-12 season (or even 1-11 or 2-12), Duke would have to make a change.
I see by reading various threads on this board and at the other Duke sites, that Duke fans have already started speculating about a replacement. That's become an internet tradition and it's fun to throw out names and dream about guys like Bill Cowher, Paul Johnson, June Jones, George O'Leary ... hey what about Bill Parcells -- he's not working now!
In anymost every case, that's fruitless speculation. Most of those guys wouldn't come to Duke for $10 million a year. Maybe there is one who would come with the right financial incentive and the right guarantees of university support. Maybe there's a hot young head coach at a smaller college who would be a perfect fit at Duke. Maybe there's even a brilliant young assistant coach who is the right guy.
The fact is that we don't know ... I mean, we know a bunch of good coaches, but we don't know which established coach MIGHT be interested coming to Duke ... which small college coach is likely to be a good fit ... which assistant would be worth a gamble.
In the real world, that decision would be made by the athletic director, who is hopefully well-connected enough and a good enough judge of character and coaching ability to know those things.
Do any of you trust Joe Alleva to be that person?
It's not that his major hires have been disasters (yeah, I know that Dankowski worked out great ... I just wish Bill Cowher's son played on our football team), his two previous tries at fixing the football program have only gotten us into a deeper hole.
The 1998 hire of Carl Franks was inexcusable (contrary to what one poster claimed on another thread, Steve Spurrier did NOT gave Franks an enthusiastic recommendation ... he told Alleva that Franks should serve as offensive coordinator for a few years before being considered as a head coach). Worse, Alleva made that hire at a time when a number of promising coaches were very interested in the Duke job -- I know that both Ralph Friedgen (then the top offensive coordinator in the nation) and Paul Johnson (in the midst of his record-setting run at Georgia Southern) both asked for interviews, but were both rejected.
The choice of Roof in 2003 doesn't bother me as much as the fact that Alleva has so few options. Basically, it came down to Roof, an aging Bobby Ross (and if you think he was the right choice, look and see what he did at Army) and Dick Biddle, a winner in a non-scholarship league. My problem is that somebody with better connections or more drive should have lined up better options -- Norm Chow was interested, but had some demands that scared off Alleva ... Paul Johnson wouldn't return his phone calls.
I fear that if Alleva is in charge of the coming hire, he'll come up with a similar list of lame candidates. Does he have the insights to find somebody good or the drive to land somebody established? I'm not very confident.
That's why I say IF we have to make a coaching hire after this season, we need to hire Gene Corrigan to head our search.
For those of you who don't know, Corrigan is currently semi-retired up in Charlottesville, where he runs a sports consulting business. He's a 1952 graduate of Duke (where he played soccer and lacrosse). He was the AD at Virginia in the 1970s and at Notre Dame from 1981-87. He left to become commissioner of the ACC in 1987 and held that job for a decade -- serving his last two years as president of the NCAA.
Those who know him -- and I'm sure his buddy Bill Brill will chime in -- understand that he's one of the brightest, best-connected people in sports. He hired Lou Holtz at Notre Dame and as ACC commish, he orchestrated the entry of Florida State into the ACC -- one expansion that did work.
We should learn from our neighbors in Chapel Hill. They have an AD whose track record for hires was every bit as bad as Alleva's. He was responsible for the Torbush and Bunting fiascos and for the Matt Doherty disaster. Thanks to Dean, they landed Roy on the second try (after Baddour botched the first bid for him in 2000). When they fired Bunting and went looking for a new football coach, they hired outside help to take the decision out of Baddour's hands -- and they wound up with a superb hire (grrrh).
Our only chance is to do the same. We don't have an AD we trust, but we have an alumn who is the best in the business at this kind of thing.
If Roof has to be fired -- THEN GENE CORRIGAN MUST BE THE GUY TO MAKE THE NEXT HIRE.
He'll know if there's a hope in h**l of getting Paul Johnson or Bill Cowher -- and if there is a slim chance, he'll give us the best chance to cash in. He'll know if Dick Biddle is the real deal at Colgate or a non-scholarship illusion (sort of like Mark Duffner, whose record as UMass was even better than Biddle's ... or Bunting, whose Div III record was superb). He'll know if there is a football version of Mike Krzyzewski out there who can dig Duke football out of its hole.
I certainly don't know who is the right man to succeed Roof and I suggest that few of you know either. Sadly, I'm pretty certain Alleva doesn't know either.
I can't guarantee that Corrigan will hire a winner, but I'd argue all day that he has a better chance to hitting a home run with this hire than anybody else we could find.
PS Just to be perfectly clear, I am NOT suggesting that we fire Alleva and hire Corrigan as AD. As great as that would be, Corrigan would not take a fulltime job (and the administration is not ready to dump Alleva). I'm only suggesting we hire Corrigan as a consultant -- which is his job now -- and give him the power to run the coaching search.