Bobcat fans and followers,
Brant Freeman here, ready to start blogging about all things Texas State! I've been the radio voice for the Texas State football program since 2003, doing everything from calling the play-by-play of the games on Saturdays, to hosting the weekly coach's shows and this season they actually decided to put me on television as co-host of "Inside Bobcat Football". You'll hear me behind the mic occasionally for other Bobcat Sports as well, such as basketball and baseball.
This is my first crack at the whole blog thing, so I hope I get my points across in a clear and concise manner. Keep in mind any "writing" I do is usually for broadcast form so here we go! (It took me 28 minutes to come up with those first two paragraphs)
Let's start by discussing football. The 'Cats haven't played a down in nearly a month and won't be taking the field again until September of 2011, yet football is an extremely hot topic at Texas State these days. Namely because the Bobcats are searching for their next head coach.
Before I get into the "new guy", I would first like to state that Brad Wright, as Texas State AD Larry Teis pointed out, is a good man and did some great things at Texas State. He was the only coach in Bobcat history (on the D-I FCS level) to both have back-to-back winning seasons ('08 & '09) AND win a Southland Conference Championship ('08). He is an alumnus of this great university and a former player who played for the late, great Jim Wacker. I, along with many of those associated with Texas State and its fans, wish Coach Wright nothing but the best.
So why the change?
Only the powers that be can truly answer that question. Best guess? With all the change about to occur at Texas State (i.e. the move up to the FBS in 2012), Texas State is simply looking for a fresh start and to hit the ground running. That doesn't necessarily mean a "name" coach (although if Bill Belichick were to call Texas State expressing his interest I would think the Bobcats would have to consider him), but the right fit. Maybe that's a coach who has a proven track record (W-L record) on the FBS level. Maybe it's an assistant coach somewhere in the FBS ranks that's "the next great coach" looking for his first head coaching gig. Maybe it's a coach with head coaching or assistant coaching experience that's proven to be one HECK of a recruiter. The bottom line is there are a lot of factors to consider when bringing in the "new guy". What would make a good fit at Texas State? Here are some questions to ponder...
CAN HE RECRUIT?
X's and O's are great, but if you have 1 or 2 star players running that playbook it's hard to get results. I don't have to tell you how competitive recruiting is in this state (but I will, just wait!). One would think that with the move up from the FCS to FBS, better players will start flocking to Texas State. I agree. But consider the recruiting competition (in no particular order): Baylor, Houston, UTEP, Rice, SMU, North Texas, UTSA, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M. Those are just the in-state rival programs. Consider the 547 other schools that recruit Texas (I made that number up but you get the idea), AND add in the fact that 107 D-I FBS scholarships in this area just became available (UTSA's new program and Texas State's jump) and the recruiting war became that much tougher.
IS HE LIKABLE?
Yes, we've all heard nice guys finish last, but I'm not necessarily talking about being nice. I'm talking about being likable. Head coaches have to get along with donors, alumni, boosters, fans, parents, student-athletes, the media and me (please). Along with being the guy that decides whether or not to go for it on 4th down, college football coaches are also public figures. Sure, you want a bulldog of a coach on Saturday, to light into the players when necessary and to have a "killer instinct" come gameday and in the recruiting battles. But the more likable you are, it becomes infectious. People will want to be associated with your program, come to practices (and more importantly: games), give monetary support, cover your program in print, television and radio and simply: care. Let's face it, with Texas up north and UTSA down south, those two programs garner a lot of attention in the Austin and San Antonio markets respectively. This program needs to establish itself in a big way in the coming years and nothing does that more with a likable coach who wins.
DOES HE UNDERSTAND TEXAS STATE?
Is he aware of where this program wants to go (bowl games! Wow, did I just type that?) the importance of academics (if you're an alumni, be proud of that degree hanging in your office), what makes Texas State unique, the passion of the fans, the AD's and University's desire to take the program to heights it's never seen before? This isn't just a job. Ask those who are closely associated with the program and they'll tell you this is the most important hire in the history of Bobcat Athletics. Whoever comes in here needs to understand that.
Of course, I'm not on the hiring committee (I applied but was turned down), just someone expressing his own thoughts on the next hire. I can safely say that I'm just as excited as the rest of you on who the new head coach will be and where Bobcat Football goes to from here. Now can someone please get me Mr. Belichick's number?
Eat 'Em Up!
(contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bobcat fans and followers,