Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Doba Relaxed for Being on Hot Seat?

For a guy who would be fired by pretty much any other BCS school in America for going 19-26 over the last 4 seasons, old Dobes is pretty relaxed this week. In his typical, whimsical hee-hawing that makes Doba such a fav among the local scribes, when asked about his shaky job status and subsequent "hot-seat" perch, he reacted with, well, humor:

"It is? Well I'll be danged" he said, politely chuckling.

That's part of the beauty of Doba. He's always quick to point out that hey, it's just a game at a college institution. There's a war going on, the housing market is crashing, a cyclone just killed at least 3,000 people (and perhaps closer to 10,000 when it's all said and done - brutal story)...etc, etc, etc. There's always more important things going on, so what if we just lost 52-17?

It's a healthy outlook for a man that's had some serious personal tragedy, losing his wife to cancer a year and a half ago. And it's easy to make too much of a game, especially during a rivalry week showdown of 4-win teams. But I have one question - if Doba really IS on the proverbial hot seat, he sure doesn't seem concerned. In the same article he said he doesn't think about it, but of course he must at some point. If you had under-performed for four straight years at your job, and you know a review is coming in the next week, wouldn't you be thinking about it, maybe just a LITTLE bit?? How couldn't he wonder about his job status after another unsuccessful season?

The article also examined his contract, and the clause specifically related to competing successfully against other division 1-A programs, and that hasn't been the case these last few seasons. Yet here he is, relaxed and calm as ever and waxing on about the big picture. Hmmm....maybe he's too relaxed. Maybe he knows something that we don't know?

I had a good conversation with a friend of mine last night, about Doba and everything going on. We both kind of were surprised about how tight-lipped things have become around the program these last few weeks, where earlier we were hearing whispers but now, it's almost like a cone of silence has enveloped the program. I think you can read that one of two ways - 1) they really don't know what they are going to do until this season is put to bed and they can see if they can do a "cash call" to some of the fatter donors. Or, 2) the decision has already been made, and Doba knows it and no matter the decision, he's already accepted it and is at peace with what will happen.

One more thing on the contract. This number of $2.8 million keeps getting thrown out there in the media. But that's not entirely true. Sure, it would ULTIMATELY cost 2.8 large to make this whole group disappear on Monday, but we know that isn't likely to happen. What some of these articles are overlooking is that the reality is that when you make a change like this, the odds are very good that the WSU staff will hang on to many of these assistants. In fact, I'd guess at the very least, 3 of them will be back, for sure, regardless of who the head coach will be. So not only is that less money they'd have to find to fire some of these guys, but it's also less money that is projected or an entirely new staff. And does anyone think it's a stretch that Levy, Yarno and probably Burtnett would stick around for a new head coach? Wouldn't Sterk want to keep those guys in the system, as Levy with all his experience and general WSU greatness, Yarno for being regarded as a damn good O-line coach, and Burtnett has done pretty well as well as his recruiting ties to Texas?

The other side to the finances is that it's very, very, very unlikely that if Doba is asked to step aside that they would need to write a fat check. There were rumors to this at least a month ago, but there are certainly buyout provisions that allow for the settlement to be paid out over several years, and not just a big check. In other words, in the American way, hey, take your time in paying it off! Spread it out over the long haul. For a program with a cash-flow issue as well as a $55 million dollar stadium renovation that is right in the middle of the process, every penny is sacred. So you know they'll spread out the hit for as long as it's possible.





14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not only does it make sense to spread out the hit as long as possible, nobody should overlook the success of sexy Tony and the hoops program that is a major factor right now. The cash raised under that program doesn't have to 100% set towards the hoops program if you follow? A few hundred thousand could go towards the football 'situation'.

That wouldn't be surprising or probably the first time something like that has happened at a major university, and like you said a BCS school with cashflow issues. I believe Floyd is beyond concerned and the embarrasment Saturday can honly hinder any future fund-raising efforts. These guys aren't dumb.

CougzoneFAN

Anonymous said...

You really have to step in the shoes of a 67 year old. They have perspective on life and work at this pt is really something to pass the time and not something to sweat over. I applaud him for having that perspective, I just don't like that perspective coming from the HC of a BCS football program.
Ptowncoug

Nuss said...

I was so dead set on a complete house cleaning needing to take place, but now I'm not so sure. There's a part of me that thinks obviously this guy can still coach defense, and clearly this team rallied and played hard for the remainder of the year. It's a young team, especially on defense -- a defense that played pretty darn well down the stretch.

Could this team be in for an uptick next season, especially with the rest of the conference not projecting to be as tough as it was this year? And if so, would it benefit the program to stick with Doba?

The only thing that really concerns me is the lack of commits. That's the kind of thing that can cripple a program for years, no matter how the team performs this upcoming year -- evidenced by the years after 1997.

Sedihawk said...

I think there certainly are some reasons as to why he should be retained. While it's easy to say he'd be fired at any other BCS school, well, to be honest we aren't exactly your run-of-the-mill BCS contender. We are in a very unique situation, even compared to our Pac-10 peers, so we do things a little differently. And he's a genuine, sincere guy with a ton of class and true loyalty, and that's something we value. If they keep him, clearly the administration is looking at the bigger picture and they deem it's more valuable to what he does off the field vs. what happens on the scoreboard (even if they want it to be a sparkling new scoreboard which could be in place next year!).

But the problem now is that the media is on the Doba should go story. Columnists have been saying it since the Oregon loss. And everyone knows it. The end is near, and whether it's now or if they choose to put it off until the end of the 2009 season, everyone knows it's only a matter of time.

And that is REALLY BAD for recruiting. Let's get real - the Pac-10 is a brutal conference and these assistants out on the road are going to say and do as much as they can to convince a kid that their school is the only choice for them. Think of a kid in the recruiting pipeline right now. Don't you think that any kid with WSU on his list will get the whole story from a rival school of what a mistake WSU would be when you won't even know who the coach is when you are what, a sophomore?? We know kids are ultimately going to choose where they want to play based on many things, but with a siutation that is already in flux and likely to be even "fluxier" going forward? Yikes. It's not like we need to give anyone else arsenal against our recruiting pitch, and Doba is so damn honest that he'll have a very difficult time standing in a living room and tell a family he'll look after their son for 4 years when he might be out of a job in 2 years or less. Especially when the family already knows the story!

I shudder to think how bad our recruiting will turn out to be if we're sitting here one year from now, staring at another 3-4 wins and the writing is just so clearly on the wall at that point. The hole by then will be so deep that we could be looking at UW-2004 depths. And I know that's not a place we want to visit anytime soon!

Anonymous said...

Sedi - You're usually pretty intune with this stuff. I dropped a rant on the Spokesman blog on how I think it's pretty awful the athletic department hasn't come out and said anything directly about Tony Harris's death. My contention is that it's one of the little things that always seems to get overlooked by these guys. How hard is it to issue a press release with condolences from WSU athletics, maybe post something on the website. Personally I'm just unimpressed by a coach, or AD that seems to lack attention to detail. At the very least it shows you care, at most it impresses a recruit that believes that WSU is a family.
Cou97

Nuss said...

That's the conundrum: Stick it out with a guy who might actually be headed for a decent season but potentially bad ones after that, or fire him because of the potentially bad ones after that.

The UW is showing you just DO NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES want to let you program get that devoid of talent. It takes YEARS to get it back to where it needs to be in order to be competitive in football.

Even during the dark times after '97, we knew there was talent in the program that just had to mature. I don't see a similar pipeline after this year ...

Sedihawk said...

On Harris, it is borderline-shocking that they haven't acknowledged it. If they did, I've missed it. That doesn't make any sense AT ALL.

On the whole coaching situation, it is dicey, but Nuss, you are absolutely right. The hole can be so deep that it can feel like you'll never get out. When you look at Montlake, you get varying degrees of blame when you ask someone who follows UW as to how they got in this downward spiral. But the quality just took a nose-dive with all their coaching turmoil from 02-05. Even with Willingham coming in as a steadying presence, it's a long, slow trudge up the mountain that they are still trying to climb. They've improved, but my God, what a tough road that it is to go down in today's Pac-10. They haven't even to a bowl game since 2002? Ask yourself, after UW won the 2001 Rose Bowl and finished 11-1 that year, who would have believed in their right mind that they'd be a 1-win team in 2004, or 2 wins in 2005? They were higher than we've been under Price, only to fall deeper than we've fallen under Doba! You think we're frustrated, just imagine what they've gone through. It can go to hell in a hurry if you sleep at the switch. I can't think of a better message for them to send than to send Doba into retirement and reboot the program with some energy and excitement. I can't think of a program that needs it more right now.

Sedihawk said...

Howie Stalwick - only the most informed WSU writer on the planet - is hearing rumors that Doba has agreed to resign after the season ends. Interesting.

http://www.sportstricities.com/sportstc/college/cougars/story/9467624p-9378950c.html

A very good read too. Howie's coverage of the Cougs this year has been the shining light since Glenn departed.

Anonymous said...

the article sounds more like speculation than it sounds like credible source having told Howie of this rumor. It doesn't exactly say "I heard this rumor while walking around Bohler Gym." It just says rumors are swirling. I don't know where Howie is from, but Vince is in Bohler probably more than most reporters...I'm just saying everyone is jumping on Vince because he didn't tell us about this, but again, it just seems like speculation not like Jim Sterk's secretary told him...

Anonymous said...

one more thing, I will say that the part about our players walking off the field is interesting. However, I did see Alex Brink stay after to shake what was left of the fans hands. Guess not all of our guys can hold their head up, or aleat appear to, after an embarassment like that.

longball said...

Does anyone else have trouble even getting fired up for Apple Cups anymore? Its not that i dont care, its that i KNOW we will lose. It is such a forgone conclusion these days that playing the game is hardly necessary. In recent times we have managed only 2 wins, both of which were pretty lucky, over TERRIBLE husky teams. Our teams are never prepared for this game and no matter how bad the Dawgs are they always play their best, just as teams SHOULD in their rivalry. The failings of the current coaching staff are many, but i think this is one of the most overlooked, and most glaring. They suck at coaching up the kids for apple cup. I can accept that the kids, being mostly from California, have no sense of the importance of this rivalry, but our coaching staff is loaded with former Cougs and they have completely failed to instill the kind of passion in the team that it takes to win this game. If you think the calls for this staff to be scrapped are loud now, just wait till this team gets embarassed in Husky stadium on Saturday. Our performance in this rivaly is completely unaccpetable and another reason that wholesale changes are needed imediately following the final whistle saturday.

Of course, I'd love to be wrong. GO ahead Cougs, prove me wrong! Unfortunately i just know they dont have it in them. So dont get too full of Turkey this week, Coug fans, save room for the truck loads of crap we'll be eating from Dawg fans. again.

Nuss said...

I have no issues getting fired up. In fact, I'm fired up right now, watching a replay of the 1997 Apple Cup. I remember being at that game like it was yesterday, and I'm so jacked up for Saturday.

Damn, that team was good. Every once in a while, I need to remember the better days.

Anonymous said...

perhaps that is why we won't see Rogers or Lopina in the game on Saturday, and why we will see some more failed fake punt attempts....Doba knows he's going and is just sticking it to us once again, just to show who's boss....

I am beginning to think that Doba is a spiteful old fart....

do people NOT remember how horrible most games were called this year?...not just the failed fake punts at the worse time of the game, but time management, player management, play calling, lack of preparation and poor execution....

if Doba doesn't have the players to compete...which is a lie......then only he is to blame....his failure to recruit the type of player he likes...but I don't think he'll find another AB again....a compliant, do as your told qb with average or less ability....but he can "yessirree" with the best of them....

E said...

Longball, I have no problem getting fired up for this game. How can you possibly say that! We have an opportunity to win 3 of the last 4 games. I was just talking to PtownCoug about this, and pointing out that for all of Brink's deficiencies, he would go down as the only QB in Wazzu history to take 3 from the purples. This clearly does not make up for all the other losses and blown opportunities, but would be its own special footnote in Cougar lore, and give AB at least some positive legacy in the W/L column above and beyond all the personal stats.

Let me also point out that Doba is currently 2-2 in the Apple Cup. Our hallowed savior, Mike Price, was 3-11! Granted, Doba's wins have come at the expense of some crappy Husky teams, but in this game the most tired cliche stands true ... a win is a win. If Doba manages to pull off another victory this Saturday, he'll be the only head coach in recent Cougar history with a winning record against those bastards.

At any rate, I'll be there cheering my guts out and making fun of captain Huskies leotard from Section 10.

Go Cougs!!!