6/8 Roundtable - Where Would You Coach?
USC head coach Pete Carroll
USC head coach Pete Carroll
Posted Jun 7, 2009

Money isn't an option. If you could take over as the head coach of any program in America, which job would you take? Do you want tradition, the city, a particular program? What would it take? It's the Monday topic in the CFN Daily Roundtable Discussion.

CFN Daily Roundtables

June 8

Where Would You Take Over As Head Coach?

Over the next several weeks, as part of the CFN 2009 Preview, we'll examine some of the key questions going into the year with a daily discussion of the big topics.

Past Roundtables
June 5 Who does the least with the most?
June 4 Who does the most with the least?
June 3 The star players of September
June 2 The star teams of September
June 1 The coach you'd want for one game
May 28 Should the Big Ten expand, and if so, then what team should be added?
May 27 Should the Pac 10 expand? If so, then what two teams should be added?
May 26 Chizik, Kiffin or Mullen?
May 25 Heisman race sleepers 
May 22 2009's most interesting teams

May 21 Is Tebow the best QB ever?
May 20 When should preseason polls come out?
May 19 Does 2008 Utah have a beef?
May 18 No BCS, No Weis?

Pete Fiutak, CFN

Yes, I'm part of the problem. You can check me out at twitter.com/CFN_Fiu and find out future roundtable topics and other random musings.

Q: If salary wasn't a factor, where would you take over as head coach?

I love everything about college towns from the young energy, the oasis from reality, the atmosphere, and the beauty of the buildings and the campus. However, visiting is the key word.

It's part of the equation when it comes to coaching that many forget about: where do you want to live? It's one thing for a coach who works 100+ hours a week to live in a small town, but no matter how many millions he's making, good luck getting the wife excited about living in a town that doesn't have a Banana Republic and a proper place to get a pedicure. Again, I love going to college towns, but I want to live in or very near a big city, and more importantly, my wife would go freaking insane in Gainesville, Happy Valley, or Columbia.

If I could take over right now as the head coach at any school in America, assuming I suddenly figured out how to coach and the school wouldn't have any problem with my belief in $100 handshakes and constant booster involvement, I'd have to start with the places I wouldn't go, even though they'd fit most of my criteria. 

No to USC. I'm not going to be the monkey act that follows the Beatles. No to Boston College. Even though I love Boston, there might be a ceiling on how far I could take the program. No to Miami and Arizona State. It's beyond me why human beings willingly choose to live in a blast furnace. No to Minnesota. It's beyond me why human beings (including most of my family) willingly choose to live in a freezer. No to Georgia Tech. Atlanta is fine, but it's not my first choice of major metropolitan areas. No to Colorado. It's close, considering Boulder offers the best of all worlds being so pretty and so close to Denver, but I don't ski. No to Ohio State. It's Columbus and I'm not Andy Travis (a big sloppy hug to anyone who gets that). No to Michigan. Detroit sucks.

North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin all get lumped in the same category of being schools in very nice, mid-level towns that have a nice mix of college atmosphere and cosmopolitan luxuries, but I want a bigger city. Northwestern or Stanford would be perfect if there was any remote hope of ever winning a national title at either place. I need a bigger program.

Washington is in the running since Seattle is great and it shouldn't take too much to get things back on track, but my wife would always complain about her hair not being right in all the rain. California would be very close. Very, very close, but it would come second.

I'm not the biggest fan of Los Angeles, it's a big, beige strip mall, but if money isn't an issue there are more than enough good places to live to make the family happy. UCLA has the weather and the program in place to do big things in a hurry, especially if USC starts to decline in any way over the next few years. It'll be interesting to see if Rick Neuheisel is able to turn things around in the next year or so coming off a great recruiting class, and it'll be interesting to see just how big the program can become.

Richard Cirminiello, CFN

Q: If salary wasn't a factor, where would you take over as head coach?

USC. Everyone has different motivations when it’s time to choose a job, but for me, the USC gig would meet most of my requirements.

First, it’s a school with a fantastic tradition and a long line of great moments and former players. When you coach at a place like USC, you can feel the history around you, and the facilities are akin to museums. It’s a unique institution with only a handful of peers across the country. As Pete Carroll has proven, it’s an ideal place to win and win big. In a Pac-10 that has no clear No. 2 challenger, the Trojans are the perennial heavy favorite to take the league championship and earn a high-visibility BCS bowl game. The pool of available talent is as deep as any in the country. Plus, you usually don’t have to go far to court it, meaning most nights are spent having dinner with the family, an underrated luxury. Landing a slew of blue-chippers is an annual event, and if you want to recruit nationally, there are no geographic barriers to success.

Okay, so USC is steeped in tradition and tailor-made for winning championships. The exclamation point is Los Angeles. I know, it’s not for everyone and it certainly has its warts, but I need to be near a city, preferably one on either coast. The Trojans offer an opportunity to play in a pro city, yet have no competition from a pro football team. In other words, you’re the only show in town, providing enormous amounts of exposure and interesting benefits usually reserved for Hollywood types.

It might be an acquired taste, but by many measures, USC is a perfect head coaching job. It’s no wonder Carroll spurns the NFL every December and January

Matthew Zemek, CFN

Q: If salary wasn't a factor, where would you take over as head coach?

Boston College. A Jesuit school (big plus), in a Northeastern hub with a rich history (enticing to a Phoenix native and Seattle resident), led by an athletic director--Gene DiFilippo--who sticks to his guns and hires solid football and basketball coaches. If I wanted to work at a national championship school, the answer would be different. If money and championships are not the foci of this question, BC would gain my signature.

Jon Miller, Publisher, HawkeyeNation.com

Q: If salary wasn't a factor, where would you take over as head coach?

One thing I can draw on from my experiences living in Iowa is that winters are easy to deal with when you are younger and they are actually a lot of fun when you are a kid and into your twenties.  But once you start pushing 40, and you are on the business end of a shovel or snowblower quite a bit, the mind starts to wander south. 

I am not a California guy, so those schools are out.  I have lived in Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Kansas.  Since I have been to three Outback Bowls in my time covering the Iowa Hawkeyes I have grown to appreciate the Gulf Coast of Florida.  Tampa and St. Pete are great places to visit, and I think there are some good places to live there.  I don’t know that I would pick the state of Florida if I had a young family, as the Midwest would get my pick there, but if it were later in life, I think I might choose South Florida, an up and coming program in a BCS conference (at least for now) that has one of the easiest path’s to a BCS bowl of any league there is.  Plus, even if you are fourth fiddle on the recruiting front in that state, you can still pull in some real good talent.  If I had a young family and I couldn’t say Iowa, I would choose Kansas; 20 miles from Kansas City, winters aren’t horrible and the place is beautiful.

Hunter Ansley, Publisher, DraftZoo.com

Q: If salary wasn't a factor, where would you take over as head coach?

I’ve got to mention LSU, because the Tigers have the greatest fans in the world, and no one in the country produces an atmosphere like Baton Rouge when it comes to football.  And I’d probably work at Florida for free considering the level of success the program is enjoying.  It’s easy to look good as a coach when your players have speed like that.  And I want to give some love to Colorado because Boulder is a great town.

But if I’m going to move somewhere and have to spend most of days in any one city, it’s Athens, Georgia. 

First of all, Mark Richt seems like a great boss, and although I’d probably burn those black jerseys when he wasn’t looking (after what happened in the Alabama game), I think it’d be great to be on the inside of those meetings to decide which motivational ploy to use next.

Then, there’s the fact that there’s not a cooler stadium than the one between the hedges.  Especially when you’re sitting in the East end zone watching the sun set over the north Georgia hills.  The city is incredible.  No better nightlife in any college town in the USA.  And in case you haven’t noticed, no one can compete with UGA’s co-eds.  The summer I lived in Athens was one of the best of my life. 

And just to top it all off, you’d get to coach in the strongest conference in the nation at a school that has a shot to end up in the BCS every year.