Four years ago, Will Muschamp and Brady Hoke were hired with great expectations. Heading prestigious football programs such as the Florida Gators and Michigan Wolverines meant immediate and constant pressure to win.
Unfortunately for each of them, they couldn’t deliver.
After looking at how the past couple seasons have gone for both head coaches, watching them get fired wasn’t surprising. Diehard fans have been waiting and hoping for them to get the axe as soon as possible so the respective programs can move on to the next chapter.
It’s times like these that show how drastically different the perspectives fans and athletes are.
The people that watch games from the stands and their TVs desperately want wins, and would “do anything” to make that become a reality. No matter how close they monitor their favorite team with every piece of news and/or rumor, they’re not as closely associated to the program as the players.
Thanks to a 24/7 news cycle and the powerful presence of social media, college football players are basically celebrities. We forget a lot of them are 18, 19 and 20 year olds playing a sport because they love it. And maybe because of a scholarship, too.
They’re regular people just like you and me. Hearing fans and the media come down on their coach is tough. Throughout the course of a season, players and coaches on sports teams spend enough time together to be considered one big family. The head coach usually takes on a father role.
Wouldn’t you be upset if people were bad-mouthing your father and officially declaring him not good enough? Especially when they don’t know the type of person he is when nobody is watching?
These guys are.
Great coach but an even better person, I’m thankful everyday for the opportunity coach Muschamp gave me. Sad day for Florida
— Frankie Velez (@F_Velez95) November 16, 2014
I’m hurt man
— Rod Johnson #⃣5⃣5⃣ (@Almighty_rod55) November 16, 2014
— Shane Morris (@ShaneMorris_7) December 2, 2014
Did every player on each roster give their now-former coach a shout out on social media? Probably not, but nobody forced those that did.
The connection between head coaches and college athletes is special because of the college selection process. Most athletes currently at FBS schools were being courted by college programs as impressionable high schoolers.
Hoke and Muschamp we’re tasked with helping these players grow from boys into men, while also trying to put a winner on the field.
They were unsuccessful in the eyes of fans, but it appears they did a great job of making a positive impression on their players. Ultimately, that didn’t help them hold onto their jobs and there isn’t a stat to keep a record of it, but it’s something those players will never forget.
*Section Photo credit to Rob Foldy, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) to Rick Osentoski, USA Today Sports