January 10, 2008

Will Ty Willingham Ever Coach His Own Seniors Again?

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, we now know that attorney and developer Ed Hansen has pledged $100,000 to a U. of Washington Law scholarship fund if Ty Willingham is fired, as well as $100,000 if the AD, Todd Turner, is fired.

Willingham is 11-25 in three years at Washington, having finished 9th or worse each year in the Pac-10. In three years at Notre Dame he was 21-15, including a ten-win season. In seven seasons at Stanford Willingham was 44-36-1, winning the Pac-10 in 1999 and finishing fourth or better in five of those seasons.

Now Willingham faces the possibility of once again being dismissed without even having the opportunity to coach his own senior recruits. I am uncertain why Ty draws the ire of so many well-heeled alumni at Notre Dame and Washington. I don't think race tells the whole story.

When a school hires a coach like Ty Willingham they MUST commit to at least five years with him. He is not going to come in and shake up and underachieving but talented group (which wasn't the case at Notre Dame or Washington.) He's going to instill discipline and cerebral football, which will pay off in recruiting and not in instant success. Washington could afford a five-year wait given their post-Steve Emtman history (though they did go to the Rose Bowl in 2001), but Notre Dame could not. If Washington buckles under alumni pressure now, they truly have wasted three seasons.

2 Responses:

"ben" said...

I could be wrong, but I really don't see this as a threat to Willingham.

First of all, $100K or even $200K isn't the biggest donation a University has ever seen. Secondly, if they took the donor up on his stupid offer, the PR hit against UW would be unpleasant, I would think.

It's just some alum who wanted to be able to tell his friends what he did at parties.

J-Red said...

It is indicative of the kind of pressures that any coach faces, but after Houston Nutt's misadventures in Arkansas, the press routinely FOIAs public universities. I find it hard to believe that this is the first such conditioned donation that has been uncovered. It is likely indicative of the kind of pressure the University of Washington AD faces on a daily basis.

Lord knows what kinds of e-mails they get over at Mississippi State.

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