The Ten Commandments for the Next Head Coach
To many individuals, Penn State football is more than just twelve (or, hopefully, thirteen) games in the fall; it is a religion. Certain sacred traditions and holidays accompany any religion, and that is no different in this instance: Bowl Games, Blue-White Weekend, Football Eve, Beaver Stadium, just to name a few.
Every religion needs leaders, and currently the football program is in search of a new leader as it enters life A.P. (After Paterno). Names, and subsequent opinions, are flying everywhere. At this point, I do not even know who I prefer to be the next head coach, as my top two candidates, Urban Meyer and Al Golden, were taken away from me. Still, a few of my friends and I are talking about a roadtrip to Miami with the hopes of convincing Golden to come back with us. Regardless of who David Joyner and his search committee ultimately choose, there will be some central advice that applies to whoever is selected.
Here are the Ten Commandments that the next coach should live by, no matter who it happens to be:
I. Thou shall not stay at casinos past 3 a.m. It may be acceptable in Morgantown, but it will not fly here.
II. Thou shall not ask to get fired after less than 17 days on the job by physically abusing anyone. Stupidity and violence will be frowned upon in Happy Valley.
III. Thou shall not insult the uniforms. We get it; unless Penn State goes way outside of the box and hires some fictional pee-wee coach like Danny O’Shea, the uniforms from your previous job are going to be fancier than ours. It was a big deal just having the trim on the sleeves and neck removed before this season. Anything negative about the uniforms will not go over well.
IV. Thou shall emphasize defense. Regardless of your background, Penn State came to be known for hard-nosed defense and has earned its name Linebacker U. The tradition of great defenses will be expected to continue.
V. Honor thy former coaching legend. Nobody expects Joe Paterno 2.0 to walk through the door. However, saying something positive about him early on will make fans happy.
VII. Thou shall not commit football adultery. Fans expect that Penn State is your dream job and that you have no interest in leaving after a few years for another program. If people do not approve of the job you’re doing, they’ll let you know about it, but they do not want you leaving on your own.
VIII. Thou shall not commit recruiting violations. Penn State takes pride in never being sanctioned by the NCAA. They expect it to continue.
IX. Thou shall care about academics. Joe Paterno was known for his high graduation rates and number of Academic All-Americans. This is not the SEC.
X. Thou shall be media savvy. Sticking up for your players is cool. Meltdowns like this may not go over well.
There you have it, our Ten Commandments Penn State coaching style. When a final decision is actually made, there will be some tips tailored to the specific individual, but the above will apply to everyone.
If you have any commandments that you feel should be included, share your thoughts in the comments below.
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About the Author
After losing my father to cancer, I thought there was nothing THON could offer me that I didn’t already know. After four years, I found comfort in the familiar.
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