Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Rise of Scelfo

All Tulane fans must constantly deal with a gnawing fear- if the Wave wins too many games the architect of our success, the head coach, is always soon gone. A tornado of cash, a few bitter recriminations, and an "Era of Good Feeling"- a reference the Tulane grad can appreciate/understand- is over

I doubt if a win versus Louisville would put Scelfo in the mix for a new job anywhere. That might be aggressive. But I am confident if the Wave has the kind of 8-9 win season they ought to next year, there will be a tangible buzz around him. There was when he won the Hawai’i Bowl last time; I can’t imagine suitors would not come calling again. If 2005 is in fact a Bowl season, then that would be two post-season appearances in four years for Tulane. That is outstanding for a place like Tulane- and will draw interest.

I am actually surprised at how little flack Scelfo gets in New Orleans. Clearly the administration loves him- as Tulane has four goals: find a coach that can get them to a decent bowl game every 4-5 years, play most seasons around 3-7 wins, graduate tons of players, and run a program that causes zero off-field problems and embarrassments. I believe them, I am convinced the athletic dept. believes them, and Scelfo executes to that standard.

I think the part of the Tulane community that has brains and has a lick of understanding how I-A athletics works as a whole appreciates that Tulane is a hard place to win consistently- and thinks the Scelfo regime is doing an altogether commendable job.

With a 2005 8-4 season under his belt, Scelfo would be an attractive hire: literally zero embarrassments, low maintenance, affordable, an exciting offense featuring NFL quarterbacks one after another. Match him with a recruiter and a defensive guy- and why would he not be a good fit at a lot of places? But I-A jobs are rare- and there are always a lot of attractive candidates- so it is hard to project.

But heck, what about say, a place like Pittsburgh. Pitt has not renewed Harris’ contract because they are unhappy with the off-field stuff (40% graduation rate, the player that got drunk and died when he fell through the roof, etc.). That nonsense is okay for, say LSU, but not a place that aspires to academic revelance- and perhaps one day responsible Big Ten status. Harris clearly wants to move to a better job- one where his players can gamble, blow off class and assault people- much like the University of Washington. The Big East is a probable non-BCS league in 2006—and a good Scelfo 2005 campaign would stamp him as a guy with morals who can play entertaining, winning football in a mid-major league. He might be a nice fit there. Or a place like that.

The best part for the Scelfo detractors here at Tulane would be the press conference where the Wave alumni are introduced to Greg Davis Jr.– another guy who the Tulane athletic department loves too. A Louisiana guy and one of the chief recruitershe could slide right in.

Public school grads can learn more about the "Era of Good Feeling" here: