February 10, 2010
This time last year, the "head coach in waiting" was flourishing as an answer to the annual speculation and poaching efforts directed at the country's best young assistants -- going into the '09 season, five up-and-coming coaches were in line to succeed their entrenched, veteran bosses, and another (Purdue's Danny Hope) had just assumed the reins after an "apprentice" season under retirement-bound Joe Tiller. At the end of the '09 season, thanks to predictable retirements at Oregon, Florida State and Kentucky, that number is down to two: Texas' Will Muschamp and Maryland's James Franklin, who are still waiting for Mack Brown and Ralph Friedgen, respectively, to shuffle off for their first crack at the boss' chair.
There's a good chance that Muschamp and Franklin -- both hired in large part due to their prowess as young, energetic recruiters -- will be the last we hear of their breed, now that such officially designated dauphins have been specifically targeted by a new NCAA regulation restricting their contact with recruits:
The NCAA has approved a new rule that limits coaches-in-waiting having direct contact with recruits. Assistant coaches are allowed more contact with recruits than a head coach, and now coaches-in-waiting have been confined to the same limits as head coaches.
The NCAA made this ruling for fear that schools with coaches-in-waiting would have an upper hand in the recruiting process.
Texas just recently learned of this ruling, and needless to say, is not thrilled.
Indeed. The new rule was caught Tuesday by the eagle eyes at Texas' Rivals site, OrangeBloods.com, which has the relevant text from the latest NCAA manual concerning the number of "evaluations" of prospective recruits alloted to head coaches and any "assistant coach who has been publicly designated by the institution to become its next head coach" during certain recruiting periods. OrangeBloods also points out that the change wasn't even proposed until June of last year (not surprisingly, there haven't been any "coach-in-waiting" set-ups announced in the meantime), when it was introduced by the only major conference without such an arrangement in its ranks, the Big East. Thanks for ruining it for everyone else, guys.
Note that Muschamp was named as one of Rivals' top 25 recruiters this week thanks to his efforts in landing five-star defenders Jackson Jeffcoat and Jordan Hicks and nine other four-star prospects en route to Austin next fall; Franklin was listed as the lead recruiter for 10 of Maryland's 21 signees last week, including all four of the Terps' four-star prospects. The next school that voluntarily restricts that kind of talent by making it the heir to the throne (publicly, anyway) deserves the chains.