Editorial: coach Is protecting his brand

OUR VIEW

PC’s Embarrassment.

 

 

 

 

Just when Presbyterian College was basking in the positive press of inaugurating a young and vibrant president, Kevin Kelley had to come along. The Football Head Coach quit Saturday morning, telling people by Twitter that his team had a great offense and he appreciated his time in his first head coaching job in college.

He lasted all of 11 games.

PC should be so embarrassed it should be asking if they can just skip him - just put three dots between Tommy Spangler and whatever sacrificial lamb is next on the football coaching carousel. You have to presume that Hefley and Witcher and the rest of the Little Rock group are going to follow Kelley out of Clinton.

The next coach is going to be starting from less than scratch.

Kelley had to make the decision. His brand was in jeopardy. He makes part of his money as a motivational speaker; what corporation is going to want to hear from a 2-9 coach? He can still use the “football saved my life” line but he couldn’t risk being 4-18 after two seasons. Plus, Kelley had worn out his welcome among the PC players’ parents.

This is the guy who, remember, told The Washington Post something to the effect of “they’ve never won here,” obviously not taking the time to review the records of the late Cally Gault. We prefer Corey Fountain’s approach - build new traditions respecting the program’s heritage.

PC, too, has to shoulder part of the blame. The College was oh too willing to suck the media life out of Kelley, playing gleeful host to The Post, The New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, and The Guardian. They enjoyed the “small southern school takes bold steps to survive” label - even though it is a facade. The brutal fact is, who’s going to want to play for them now?

Kelley’s brand of “innovation” simply gave the opposing teams too many chances to score close to the Presbyterian goal line. Generally, the longer yardage a team has to drive the better the chance you have to stop them - although in a couple of instances last weekend in the No Fun League that was not true. It seems the only “big time coach” to look at Kelley’s “innovation” is Lane Kiffin - he went for it a lot on fourth down and Alabama rolled all over him. But, what did he have to lose - he wasn’t going to beat The Number One Team In The Nation without a little “gutsy” play calling.

Truth is, in football, when you can’t run and you get behind, the defense just lays back and waits for you to throw. PC’s interception numbers under Kelley bear this fact to be true.

We are not going to debate X’s and O’s here. It is pointless. Too many people will be able to say “we just didn’t know” - they just didn’t know how bad the Kelley experiment could be, and they never asked themselves, “What if he bails on us after just one season?”

He wouldn’t do that. He was committed to the team’s success. He said so in the upper portico of Bailey Memorial Stadium, with his NFL coaching friend beamed in by video-call. 

So, now PC has to look for a coach. It has to survive the transfer portal - again. It has to field a football team based on academic scholarships. And, it will do so - PC has played football for more than 100 years, no reason to expect there will not be a 2022 schedule coming out soon. And, even if they do give up on football, they’ve still got the Big South’s best lacrosse stadium.

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