micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Monday, November 04, 2002
Spartan Football Coach Bobby Williams Fired
I was debating whether or not to go over to The Lansing State Journal as I didn't want to read more bad news about the MSU football team but I figured nothing else was likely to happen and so I did. It turns out head coach Bobby Williams has been fired and Offensive coordinator Morris Watts is taking the helm on an interm basis.
Michigan State Athletic Director Ron Mason made the decision and in a statement said:
When I was named athletics director, I promised decisive leadership. I assured the administration that I would make the decisions I thought were in the best interests of the athletics department and the entire university. I knew some of them would be difficult ones, and didn't expect one this early.Bobby Williams' career record can be found here.
Especially interesting is school trustee Joel Ferguson's statement, which implies that Ferguson believes racism is a factor in the firing.
To me an issue that needs to be remembered is how Williams got the job. Nick Saban left to go to LSU in 1999 after MSU finished 9-2 in the regular season and was heading to the Citrus Bowl. Williams became the interm coach because well they needed a coach and for some reason that escapes me the running backs coach got the call. The players particularly liked Williams and campaigned for him and got Williams made into the permanent (for the forseeable future, at least) head coach even before the Citrus Bowl. Since MSU beat Florida, 37-34, in that game, in all liklihood Williams would have been named head coach shortly afterwards if only because he was part of the system and it is hard to turn away a guy with a perfect record as head coach at your school.
All of this seemed normal and logical at the time and, because nobody ever knows for sure what the future holds, it was probably the right course of action to take. At the same time it should be apparent that this was far from an ideal way to pick a coach and maintain the momentum the program had built up in 1999. As I said on Friday, picking a coach is always a risk and picking Williams didn't work out for one reason or a couple.
Hopefully the team's meltdown will allow somebody fresh to come in at the end of the season and build the program up again. Yesterday I wrote that any prospective coach should be asked, "In your mind what would constitute sucess for this program?" In my mind the right answer is to be a top 10 or top 20 team consistently in years when with a loss to Michigan.
As far as the speculation about Williams, Jeff Smoker, the program and what not that is no doubt stoked by the firing, I would encourage anybody who wants to try to do some indepedent reporting on the topic. But if you don't do that, to not speculate with abandon about the situation. That doesn't do anybody any good.
And I guess I also feel the need to say that it will be interesting to see what impact this has on a certain website.