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.