You know it’s a prestigious group, because look at all that marble.
While yesterday was one of the better days for the Kentucky basketball program, things in the football program continued in much the same way they have all year.
We can all acknowledge that Joker’s on the hot seat, and for a minute, let’s speculate that Barnhart does in fact have to make a hire this offseason. One of the biggest draws of the Kentucky football HC position is that, in addition to getting to hang out with Calipari, you get to call yourself an SEC football coach. That’s not a small deal. Iron sharpeneth iron, and there’s no better group of peers to associate yourself with as a coach wanting to get better. There’s a certain level of prestige that goes with being an SEC football coach; like smart people being in MENSA, or Louisville fans being in the Ed Hardy platinum rewards club. Most years, anyway.
This year, though, Kentucky isn’t the only team with some issues. SEC football blog Saturday Down South examines four potential head coaching vacancies that the league could see in the coming months. Auburn, Arkansas, Tennessee, and UK might spend their offseasons trying to make a splash with a solid hire.
Regarding UK, SDS gives a harsh dose of reality in saying that “[t]he Wildcats just want to be competitive, and they’re nearly last in every single offensive and defensive statistic in the SEC.” Any new coach coming in wouldn’t be expected to start picking up SEC titles immediately, but rather get us out of the gutter.
The question is, if almost a third of the league has coaching vacancies, does the appeal of “SEC coach,” one of UK’s biggest selling points, lose a little bit of its luster?
Imagine that you’re a fairly successful coach in a largely anonymous league, like the Big East. If you’re looking to break into the SEC, and you get calls from UK, Tennessee, and Arkansas, which call are you most likely to return?
Supply and demand is the simplest tenant of good business: when the supply is high, without a great demand, the price is low. If the rest of the season goes poorly for the four teams looking at a possible coaching change, then the supply of available SEC head coach positions will be extraordinarily high. The appeal, then, would have to plummet. For a school with relatively few selling points (comparatively), a devaluing of one of them can’t be good. So what should we hope for? Believe it or not, it may be advantageous to hope that Arkansas, Tennessee, and Auburn do just well enough to keep their coaches around for another year. Actually, just Arkansas and Auburn. I still hope Tennessee embarrasses themselves.
But the point remains: if there are a ton of SEC openings, up-and-coming coaches may be less impressed by the Kentucky position. At that point, we’ll just have to hope they like blue.