There is a fable about a dictator that I have heard years ago. I think it is even in the movie "Traffic." With all the struggles the football team has had this year and a lot of blame falling on the coach, it fits perfectly around this situation. I will re-tell it with the background of our football team instead of a dictatorship.
Coach Hazell arrives at his desk on the first day of his new job coaching the Purdue football team. He opens his desk and finds a letter. The letter is from his predecessor, Coach Hope. It reads:
To the next Purdue Football Head Coach:
I have enclosed two envelopes. If you shall encounter a football season with epic misfortune, please open the first envelope. It will contain advice in what to do next. If you have a second season of epic misfortune, open the second envelope and heed its advice.
After the first season Coach Hazell went 1-11 and lost such treasures as the Old Oaken Bucket. The alumni were up in arms at their new leader and were calling for action to remove him from his post. Coach Hazell, remembering the letter, went to his desk and opened up the first envelope. It contained a letter with two words:
The strategy worked like a charm and the alumni were then pleased as they looked forward to the next year of their fearless leader’s football campaign. But, the second year then was more troublesome than the first. Ticket sales were down, points were rare, and the team lost more of their incoming recruits. Coach Hazell then went to open the second envelope. The coach started to read:
Grab two envelopes…
Now, I’m not saying (or hoping) that the Coach Hazell will need to go and grab that second envelope, but chiding him for his horrendous first year makes us just as foolish as Notre Dame for giving Coach Weis a multi-million dollar 10 year extension after going 9-3 in his first year using most of his predecessor’s players. Although, I will admit that I lived in Chicago in the early 2000’s and maybe Coach Shoop needs to grab a couple envelopes.