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Bill Stewart-Dana Holgorsen Scandal Shows Why Coach-In-Waiting Setup Wouldn't Work In SEC Football

OK, so technically the concept of appointing a coach-in-waiting has come to pass in SPEED country, but I think we can all agree that the sole exception carries enough of an... assumed irrelevance for us to still debate this as a hypothetical.

First, the exception:

Me: What are we talking about today?

Jason, SB Nation Atlanta Editor: How about some speculation on what would happen if a SEC team ever dared to try that "coach in waiting" crap like West Virginia?

Me: Interesting topic, but it's technically happened, and recently: Rich Brooks set the table for Joker Phillips at Kentucky, and by all accounts it was a smooth transition.

Jason: Oh. Well I meant SEC football.


Jason: LULZ.


See? No disrespect to the architect of the 1998 Atlanta Falcons' "Bomb Squad" defense, but we can still speculate freely as to the feasibility of a coach-in-waiting personnel structure without actually having to talk about Kentucky football. 

It won't work:

Because the concept never clicks in high profile circumstances at high profile programs. It's impossible to accept that Will Muschamp is now the head coach at Florida without assuming he saw no sign of Mack Brown willingly passing the reigns over at Texas, a program of equal if not greater prestige and attractiveness. 

Because its purpose of applying kid gloves to aging icons is irrelevant. The closest regional example of the model would be Florida State, where we assume the inevitable awkwardness of shoehorning Jimbo Fischer in and Bobby Bowden out after three decades was still more appealing to FSU than an outright dismissal of their program's icon. But that's a scenario unlikely to play out in the SEC during our lifetimes - the venerable coach of 20 (or even 10) plus seasons struggling to find his own terms of closing a career. Be it because of burnout or brownout, this conference has long since left behind the concept of generations-long stewardship.

Because the level of attention devoted to most of the SEC would never tolerate a self-imposed transition period. Fans in the bottom half of the league wouldn't abide a ploy contrived to soothe a "losing" coach's ego - the need to improve their program as immediately as possible is blinding. And fans in the top half of the league are already creating the worst case scenario of a coach-in-waiting strategy with a recipe of impossibly short tempers, impossibly high expectations and a braggadocio that assumes they can ditch current this current bum for their pick of the nation's best potential coaches. 

As disastrous as West Virginia's arrangement has become, it still pales to the continual strife inside of fan bases at Georgia under Mark Richt or Auburn under Tommy Tuberville, and if you're still not convinced, LSU under Les Miles. A fan base that can rationalize a distaste for a BCS title winning coach in a record turnaround is far more frightening than these sewing circle antics in Morgantown.

Because (CRAZY REDNECK / SECESSION / CIVIL WAR ANALOGY HERE). Dividing a fan base is a daily occurrence anyhow - we're refined at the art and its darker trappings. If the Mountaineers played their games somewhere near I-20, there'd already be FOI'd cell phone bills and a scrambling midnight teleconference at governor's office with federal authorities so that Karen Stewart could safely assume the role of Donna Jenkins, a nondescript retired secretary and volunteer at Desert Springs Retirement Village Yuma, Arizona, by sunrise Wednesday. 

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.