By Shawn Muller-
(CBS) Football coaches always preach to their players about the importance of living their lives with character, honor, and integrity.
Lately, however, it seems that more and more coaches are having trouble practicing what they preach.
When Todd Graham took the head coaching job at the University of Pittsburgh prior to the 2011 season, he said, “I’ve spent my whole life working to get this job.”
Less than 12 months later, he left Pittsburgh to take the head position at Arizona State, telling his Panther players of his move via a text message that was actually forwarded to them by Pittsburgh’s director of football operations, Blair Philbrick.
Of course Todd Graham is the epitome of a snake (He left Rice for Tulsa after just one season, and one day after accepting a contract extension), but he isn’t the only coach that snuck out the back door in the middle of the night.
Greg Schiano was scheduled to meet with some key Rutgers Scarlet Knights recruits yesterday morning at Don Bosco Preparatory School in Ramsey New Jersey at 8 a.m sharp.
As expected, current Rutgers commitment, wide receiver Leonte Carroo, was there. Highly regarded defensive end Darius Hamilton made it on time. And five Rutgers assistant coaches also managed to get to the meeting as planned.
But Schiano never showed.
No one knew where Schiano was. No one knew that Schiano was busy hammering out a contract to become the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
No heads up.
Now, before I go any further, I want to stress to you that I don’t have a problem with Greg Schiano taking the job with Tampa Bay. If Schiano’s dream was to become an NFL head coach, then he did what was best for him. My problem is with the way he and other college coaches are leaving.
It is one thing for someone to leave for what they believe is a better opportunity, but not telling your assistant coaches that you are shopping around, not telling your current players that you may be leaving, and not telling current recruiting prospects and commitments that you may not be their head coach is cowardly.
Schiano’s assistant coaches earned the right to know that he was interviewing with Tampa Bay because they may soon be out of a job. The current Rutgers players deserved to know what their head coach was thinking because they should have had time to prepare themselves to either stay at their current school, or get their transfer requests ready. Recruits and commits needed to know what was going on so they could be sure that they were basing their decision to attend Rutgers because of the school, and not solely on the head coach.
Greg Schiano literally did none of this, and judging by the reaction of his assistant coaches, current players, and current commits, no one knew his jump to the NFL was coming.
He may not be in the same category as a Todd Graham, but Schiano’s actions—or lack thereof—were just as damaging.
Practice what you preach, remember?
If a coach expects his assistants and players to live with character, honor, and integrity, then they too should live by the same rules.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.