Yesterday’s press conference introducing Gus Malzahn as the new Arkansas State Red Wovles’ new head coach became the Feel Good Story of the Year involving the December Coaching Carousel.
The news of Todd Graham abandoning the Pitt Panthers to become the new Arizona State Sun Devils’ coach reminded us all why we need stories like Malzahn’s.
Graham left Pitt after just one forgettable 6-6 season and takes over a program left behind by fired coach Dennis Erickson, who ironically just finished a forgettable 6-6 season.
This isn’t Graham’s first one-and-done stint with a program. He was named head coach of the Rice Owls on January 1, 2006, coached the team to a 7-5 record and an appearance in the New Orleans Bowl where it was soundly whipped 41-17 by Troy. Graham was named Conference USA Coach of the Year, received a raise and signed a contract extension. But on January 12, 2007, he bolted to take over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
So, why the Dennis Franchione reference? Well, Wikipedia says: (click the image for a zoomed version)
Dennis Franchione was hired by the Alabama Crimson Tide in January 2001, taking over a program hit with the NCAA investigation into the Albert Means recruiting scandal and a monumental 2000 season collapse under former coach Mike Dubose. After two seasons of telling team members, fans and media to “hold the rope;” that he was in Tuscaloosa for the long term, Franchione bolted for Texas A&M.
Franchione didn’t have the spine to tell his players face-to-face that he was leaving them holding the rope. No, he did it via teleconference. Todd Graham took the spinelessness to a whole new technological level—he told the Pitt Panther players of his departure via text message.
Congratulations “Coach Graham” on being named the winner of the Dennis Franchione Award for Shameless Job Hopping.