So Long, Art Briles. Stay Away, Jack Pardee.

I’m a UH grad. I want my school to succeed in all endeavors. Including football. And while I hate to see Art Briles leave the school, I understand his reasoning and wish him well. But things are taking a turn for the bad, and I’m not very happy.

First there’s the fact that one of the candidates for the job is Michael Haywood, the offensive coordinator for Notre Dame. What’s surprising about this is that I didn’t know Notre Dame had an offensive coordinator, primarily because I didn’t know Notre Dame had an offense. And frankly, I don’t want anybody from a major program like Notre Dame, especially someone who has never been a head coach. The Coogs need to get someone who’s used to dealing with mid-major status, and with funding issues.

And, believe it or not, there are coaches out there who are used to dealing with these issues. That’s who UH should be talking with.

But that’s not the really bad turn bugging me. The bad turn that’s really bugging me came to light yesterday. Apparently, the Coogs are talking to 71-year old, former head coach Jack Pardee.

I’ve got nothing against Pardee, and Pardee did a decent job of keeping the Coogs relevant in the late ‘80s, back when the Coogs were still playing in a relevant conference against major competition. But he bailed on the school when the school needed him most, and the school’s never recovered. And if the school’s interested in the trick offense stuff, why not just get John Jenkins back? I’m sure he can get the school back on probation pretty quickly.

For what it’s worth, Pardee has been out of coaching since the mid ‘90s, when he was coaching in the Canadian Football League. Is this really the best the Coogs can do? You really mean to tell me that there’s not some other Art Briles out there, dying for a chance at a school like UH? And I’m really not crazy about the idea of David Klingler being the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Nothing against Klingler, but he’s never coached, and offensive coordinator is just not the place where you plug in some guy who’s never coached. Sure, Klingler’s been the color analyst for the Coogs’ radio broadcasts, but as Larry Dierker will tell you, there’s a big difference between talking about the plays and calling the plays.

This move bugs me most because it’s a move of desperation. UH isn’t Rice, or Stanford, or Duke. And it’s in a lot better shape than SMU. There’s got to be some young go-getter dying to give this team a shot, the team’s just got to go out and find him.

But this is what UH has become nowadays. UH was a forward-looking school back in the ‘60s and ‘70s and early ‘80s. Back in the glory days of Bill Yeoman with his revolutionary offense and his ability to recruit. But a pick like Jack Pardee is a backward-looking pick. It’s a pick trying to return the school to what it used to be, whereas the Coogs need to be looking forward to what the school can be.

Long live Bill Yeoman, but it’s time for the Cougars to move into the 21st century. That’s the only way the team’s going to survive. – John Royal


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