Former Auburn head coach Pat Dye seems to have had a memory lapse during his most recent interview.
While discussing Florida’s hire of Dan Mullen, Dye said that the Gators got lucky that they didn’t hire Chip Kelly instead.
“[You] can’t bring in an outsider in the SEC,” Dye said on Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly. “Florida got a big break with Chip Kelly took the UCLA job.”
This is interesting on a number of levels, especially considering the fact that Mullen, who grew up in Pennsylvania, did not become an “insider” to the conference until 2005, when he followed Urban Meyer, also someone with no SEC experience, to Florida. The two did pretty well during their time together coaching the Gators, winning two national titles.
Dye is also overlooking the success that Les Miles, a so-called “Michigan man”, had at LSU. Before joining the Tigers, Miles had experience had experience with the Wolverines, Colorado, Oklahoma State, and Dallas Cowboys. Not being an insider didn’t effect Miles.
Oh, and there is someone by the name of Nick Saban that has changed the conference since coming from Michigan State in 2000, winning a national championship at LSU and four titles at Alabama.
The whole mantra of a coach must being a part of the SEC fraternity is something that is outdated. Back when Dye was coach, college football was not on a national scale as much as it is today. While it would have been special for fans in the Southeastern portion of the country to see a Pac-12 game back in the 1980s – and vice versa –, it is a regularity now.
More and more, SEC schools are getting out of the comfort zone of hiring just men who have experience at the 14 member schools. Mississippi State just hired Joe Moorhead from Penn State, who has never held a job below the Mason-Dixon line. Mark Stoops is finishing up his fifth year at Kentucky and has the Wildcats program on the verge of being SEC East contenders.
While Mullen being a better hire than Kelly for Florida could well be the truth, but limiting a coaching search to just “insiders” would stop innovation and would make schools possibly miss out on some of the brightest up-and-coming minds in the game.
That is the exact opposite of what fans would want.
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