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Mike Casazza: Remaining employed job No. 1 for coaches

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Given how college sports have evolved and how players are a little like employees who get a couple weeks of vacation, is it odd that there are three NCAA football teams and six NCAA men's basketball teams without coaches?

Maybe not. These aren't great openings. One of the basketball jobs is for a Division I school and none of the football jobs are at a FBS school. The quality of the jobs isn't my concern. They have job descriptions, though, and that was all I was interested in finding.  

Savannah State football, which made waves last season for historic point spreads and discussions about whether it had the worst team ever, unloaded its coach April 17 - three days before West Virginia played its spring game. Savannah State wants a coach who will actively try to increase attendance, but who also "develops student-athletes physically, mentally and emotionally for competition."

The new head coach at Grinnell College will also be an assistant coach for a second sport and teach physical education classes. The hire at Mooresville College will "be responsible for the daily management of the program, travel arrangements, scheduling, hiring and evaluating of assistant coaching staff, practice and game management planning and other operational areas," which isn't an unusual set of demands for a Division III shop.

University of St. Francis has a bizarre explanation for its basketball job: "Substantial time is spent working on a computer." The Fighting Saints are searching for someone to handle "sedentary work which requires the following physical activities: sitting, walking, bending, stooping, finger dexterity, repetitive motions, talking, hearing and visual acuity."

The University of Chattanooga, the sole Division I job, and UMass Lowell, which is transitioning from Division II to Division I, have normal descriptions, the sort of thing you'd expect a Bob Huggins to handle.

Here's the point, at long last: After reading through all of those descriptions, never once was a head coach's ultimate duty listed: Stay employed. From the moment you get a job, your biggest responsibility is to keep your job - though that could be difficult at Division III College of the Ozarks, which offers a nine-month contract and might lead its coach to bagging groceries at Harvest Food in the summer.  

Now more than ever, as a new generation of innovative coaches rise through the ranks, as athletic directors work with higher profiles and more pressure than before, everything every coach does must go toward that goal.

Win games, compete for championships and win a title every so often. Recruit and develop talent. Keep players eligible and graduate them. Follow the rules and encourage players to obey laws. Pay heed to a budget.

At Carroll College, the next basketball coach must "retain student-athletes."

That's not always realistic, though. You only need to follow what's happened with Huggins' program this offseason. Gone are four players who were on the 2012-13 roster and could have been on the 2013-14 roster. Huggins has filled two of his three open scholarships with junior college players, one who has a court date next week to resolve a case that involves two felonies.

The third scholarship could go to one of two point guards, neither of whom is eligible right now.

And none of that matters. Huggins' job is to keep his job. He knows a 13-19 record was not the way the job is to be done. Let's not ignore this, either: Huggins was bothered by his roster two seasons ago and often threatened changes. That didn't happen and the Mountaineers paid. Now you're seeing changes.

Gone are Jabarie Hinds, Aaron Brown, Volodymyr Gerun and, just this week, Keaton Miles. It's not fun seeing players you've tracked and cheered for a few years find or shown the door. To listen to the story as told by Miles, he learned his diminishing role would diminish further in the future and his minutes would go to new players.

That's a harsh reality, but that's reality. Huggins doesn't lie to his players, whether it's about their postseason chances or their playing time potential. Don't blame Miles, either, for finding greener grass.

What Huggins has done by releasing players and signing Remi Dibo from Casper College and Jonathan Holton from Palm Beach State, all he might do by adding Daxter Miles from Dunbar High or Shadell Millinghaus from Believe Prep, is what he thinks will help him win games. Results matter.

If that doesn't work, if they have trouble with grades or rules, well, then there's a discussion to have at that time. But not now.

Huggins said he was going to fix things and people cheered it. Those same people have to wait it out now.

Dana Holgorsen's offseason hasn't been quite the same with his football team, but he's added from parts unknown. Junior college transfers are not this common at WVU, not in the number that will arrive for the 2013 season. But if Huggins was tiring of the nice guys he said he could find in the library, Holgorsen was worn out by players who were compromised by a sense of entitlement and a lack of toughness.

The theory in the programs where it is practiced best is that junior college players have been hardened, take nothing for granted and play with a point to prove (See: Irvin, Bruce.). Holgorsen needed infusions for running back, receiver and pass rush and dropped junior college recruits there. Whether it works is an issue best discussed later.

What truly matters is both coaches have a job that insists they find and implement ways to keep their job.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at or 304-319-1142. His blog is at


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