Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Terry Bowden, because everything comes back in style eventually

All right, come on, you've got to laugh at Holly's headline for this post over at DocSat's place:
Terry Bowden figures, if Terry Bowden can do it, how hard can it be?
Funny as that is, get past the crack at Bowden's ego (and, to some extent, Chizik's current Bowden-esque national stature) and you can kind of realize ... hey, he's kind of got a point. When Bowden tells Kevin Scarbinsky "Auburn's bigger than any of us coaches" and that anyone offering a blanket dismissal of the Chiznick's chances should probably be a little more rational about it .. well, he's right.

Of course, Bowden also couldn't just say "Chizik could turn out to be a successful coach"; he has to say "Chizik could turn out to be me!", because he is Terry Bowden speaking to the media, after all. And of course there's no mention of whether it'll be worth having a Terry Bowden 2.0 when 1.0 was mostly a patch on preexisting bugs that never solved (and in fact, enhanced) the program's larger structural problems.

But for all of that, there's no reason here to do anything more than chuckle at Bowden's foibles and wish him luck at UNA. As I've said before, despite the chaos of his departure and the various embarrassments of his media career, he's still the guy who gave us 1993. A lot of coaches at a lot of schools never gave his team's fans anything like that, and it's worth remembering, even if we'd rather forget almost everything that came afterwards.

Other assorted reaction to the Bowden pieces and the reaction elsewhere:

--Reading Scarbinsky's profile of Bowden at UNA, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he wins and wins big there. Whatever you think of the job Bowden did at Auburn and Jeff did at Florida St., they've got a ton of experience and Terry's always been a sharp X's and O's man. They'll cobble together something that works schematically. I don't doubt that Terry's work ethic is almost as intense as K-Scar describes it as being--he's been chomping at the bit for a coaching job for so long, I imagine he's going to do everything he can to make the most out of it. And lastly, name-recognition on the Bowden scale isn't easy to come by at the D-II level, as new Lions QB Harrison Beck (a one-time stud recruit and former starter for a decent N.C. State squad) will no doubt tell you.

--Sorry, Terry, but I disagree that you were any more out-of-left-field than Chizik. I don't have crystal-clear memories of that coaching search, but at the time Bowden was (as Acid Reign says) a "bright-up-and-comer" from just up the road with unimpeachable coaching bloodlines who was taking over what appeared to be a smoldering NCAA crater opposite the closest thing 'Bama had had to the Bear since that one dude stuck a plaid hat on a real bear. Chizik, on the other hand, was a coach on a 10-game losing streak taking over a clean program that had wrapped up a 34-5 three-year span just two weeks previous. I realize that in 1992 no one was going to show up at airports to boo David Housel unless he hired the hat-wearing bear, but seriously, from here Bowden's hire seems far, far more justifiable than Chizik's.

--If you're Tommy Bowden and you read this ...
"I couldn't see him not going back (to coaching)," Jeff said. "I always thought he was the best coach in the family."

The whole family?

"Let me say this -- of the sons."
... what on earth do you think? I think I think "Two-hand touch my ass, Jeff's getting laid out at the backyard game this Thanksgiving."

--Give Terry some credit: not too many would have the guts to detail exactly how brutal and swift their own fall was:
That's going from being national coach of the year in 1993 to being one play away in the fourth quarter from beating Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game in 1997 to less than 12 months away from being without a job at 42 years old.
He refers to that as "monumental failure," and well, again, points for honesty.

--Jay Coulter sums up the difficulty in assessing Bowden's tenure from the Auburn fan perspective in two easy sentences:
Because he didn't even last six seasons, Bowden can never be viewed as anything more than a transitional coach. Yet he guided Auburn to one of only three undefeated seasons in school history.
And again, in his conclusion:
Time has allowed him to get his due for what he accomplished in his early years. Unfortunately for him, the decision to quit on his team halfway through the season will be his lasting legacy among Auburn fans.
Personally, I've never held much of a grudge against Bowden for his midseason flight--I'm not sure I'd have played out the string for a bunch of Lowderites that had decided to fire me after seven bad games if I'd been in his situation. But that's not to say the program wasn't a shambles by then, and that's why the Bowden tenure is so tricky--in a span not even lasting full six seasons, we got both the high of a 20-game win streak and the low of the Gabe Gross Era. What do we do with that?

--That said, Terry would earn a few more points with me if he quit keeping a bust of Bear Bryant on his desk. Recruiting tool or not, man, shouldn't an Auburn coach keep it in a drawer or closet or something?


Anonymous said...

now that terry is back in coaching he'll have less time to spend with the lolly pop guild

Anonymous said...

I read the whole post having barely glanced at the photo, thinking that it was a bust of "Diddy". After your comment, I looked back and realized that it was, in fact, Bryant. I'm an Alabama fan and graduate and I don't even know anybody with a bust of Bryant on their desk, much less one that large.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Anon 3:07, to be fair, it's the award he won for being the national coach of the year in '93, rather than just some kind of weirdo tribute to the Bear.

He should still put it somewhere else.

easyedwin said...

OMG Coach T has blimped since I last saw him!!! BLIMPED

§teve From Columbia said...

Just stick an Auburn hat on the bust.