Today was a welcome surprise for most Husky fans because it showed that President Emmert has been listening to you, and change is coming.
This parting doesn't seem to be as amicable as Emmert painted it to the media today as Todd Turner has a different story to tell according to Ted Miller. In a nutshell Turner didn't want to go, but he was forced out of the job and both of the parties agreed that now was as good a time as any. The Washington fan base wasn't buying into Turner, and his ability to get anything done was becoming seriously compromised. The writing was on the wall this Fall when the stadium plan was tabled for more discussion this Spring. At that time most surmised that Emmert didn't want to kick the project off with someone that wasn't going to be in charge very much longer.
Turner's parting remarks were, "I learned a lot about the institution and the leadership and the support group during the last two or three months. And I can understand why -- if what I've learned is true -- why there's some people who might not think I'm the best fit at Washington."
Todd Turner feels betrayed, but the truth is Todd never understood the culture he was trying to change. He didn't understand that it only needed to be cleaned up and not changed. He didn't understand that finishing last in football is not acceptable no matter how hard the kids play, or how much they attend classes.
The inside word is that Ty Willingham was as good as gone before the first snap of the Hawaii game. The only thing that saved his job was a decent recruiting class, possible pressure from the NCAA, and the NAACP. Added to the mix was the fact that Emmert is going to the Legislature to ask for a record amount of money and firing Ty, paying him off with 3 million wasn't going to float that boat. In the end Emmert made the right decision, and when he got back to Seattle he decided to start the rebuilding of the athletic department, and Husky football by showing Turner the door first.
How does this affect Willingham? Well he has to know he is next unless he pulls out an unlikely miracle season in 2008. It is going to take eight victories for Ty to have a chance at retaining his job next year. You can label Willingham a "Dead Coach Walking". Willingham doesn't have any buffer anymore with Turner gone, and you have to wonder if his agent is on the phone with Duke, and Navy this weekend where Willingham would be a good fit.
The dead period is coming up after this weekend, and that is the time when Ty has to bite the bullet and fire some of his coaches. Baer, Tormey, and Simmons are the likely sacrifices. With Miles already gone that would mean a lame duck coach has to hire up to four assistants in the off season. Ty just might be better off keeping what he has and circling the wagons. Thinking about bringing in a top defensive coordinator? Think again because unless a top guy has his eyes on Ty's job, he isn't going to come here.
Change is in the wind at Montlake, the people have been heard, and the resignation of Turner isn't a scapegoat type of move, it is the first step in a year long process that will yield a football savvy AD in the Mike Lude style and a new football coach to lead the program back to the top.
We all would have preferred a swift execution of all parties after the Hawaii game as was planned, but I like the way Emmert is going about this. I made a comment that if I was in his position I would have probably made the same decision based on the way the pieces were currently placed on the chess board.
Today was a big day Husky fans, it signals the start of a positive change that should lead Washington out of the basement in the Pac Ten.
In conclusion Todd Turner never got it. He was trying to recreate Vanderbilt on the shores of Lake Washington, and while he is a fine man, he never gave the people what they wanted which was a top twenty football program. The key to success in any political position is giving the people what they want. Todd gave us what he wanted, and that was his biggest mistake.
He was totally disconnected from the fan base, and he did everything he could to build an us versus them relationship with the fans, and boosters. I will never forget the story I heard about longtime Husky booster Herb Mead getting in trouble for walking in to visit Randy Hart without the right credentials. Turner simply never got it, and because of that he is now gone.
Who should be the next AD? Well he should be somebody cut from the same cloth as Mike Lude. You need a guy that understands football. A guy that has coached football and has moved over to the administrative side. You need a guy that knows how to critique his head football coach and Washington hasn't had one of those since Milo retired.
Many people are mentioning Mike Cragg from Duke who is a UW alum as a front runner for the position. That is all fine and well but at Duke he has been a basketball man, and we all know that Duke is even worse than Vanderbilt when it comes to college football. I only have one wish, and that is Washington hires a guy that understands football as well, or better than the head coach.