OT: Zook Gone?

Submitted by Bronco648 on November 23rd, 2011 at 2:21 PM

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that The Zooker is history: LINK

Damn, I was hoping he would continue to provide us with laughable decision-making every Fall. Perhaps the Illini would be interested in one Luke Fickell...



November 23rd, 2011 at 2:28 PM ^

i'll reserve full judgement until they hire a replacement but this seems like a mistake to me. yeah he makes poor decisions and generally isn't a great coach but really who else is gonna take that job? they'll be going to bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time in about 20 years. he took them to a rose bowl as well. this seems a bit glen masonish to me. 


November 23rd, 2011 at 2:41 PM ^

This isn't dumb as much as it was dumb to not do this last year.  If they beat Minny they'll be 7-5, which is the high side of expectations for them this year.


November 23rd, 2011 at 2:44 PM ^

They returned most of their team from an 8-5 squad.  Why would 7-5 be on the high side of expectations?

It makes more sense to fire him now than it would have last year.  Last year they improved dramatically (from 3-9 to 8-5).  This year, at best, they've spun their wheels.


November 23rd, 2011 at 3:13 PM ^

Just wasnt an Illinois man. Taking them to a rose bowl? That's against their sacred tradition. He also didn't understand the Illinois state rivalry. Heck, did he even schedule them?

The FannMan

November 23rd, 2011 at 4:30 PM ^

You know, I have been trying to figurte out who the hell Zook reminded me of.  Now I know - the boss from Office Space.  Thank you.

As a bonus, i have a mental image of Zook being moved to the basement while the school takes his stapler.  

Also, let me be the first to nominage Charlie Weis.  Miss you big guy.


03 Blue 07

November 23rd, 2011 at 5:36 PM ^

That "low?" Really? I don't think most people would agree with that assessment; it's Craig James and his kid who came out looking bad in that TTU debacle. Oh, and TTU....generally. As for Leach, if they got him, that would be an excellent hire for them. I doubt he'd go there; I think he may be able to get a better job. However, I'd love it if he went there, as it would be entertaining.


November 23rd, 2011 at 8:36 PM ^

What we know: in the aftermath of the James stuff, the Dallas News posted a collection of leaked e-mails between Tech administration and one of the boosters. Suspicion was that they had been leaked by someone in Leach's camp to help his cause in a wrongful termination suit by creating the impression that the administration had been trying to coerce his resignation for over a year. It did that; it also made Leach look awful. (Well, it made absolutely everyone look awful. Compared to Tech even the West Virginia athletic department seems functional.)

I was going to link the file of e-mails but all the links seem to be dead and if I kept a copy it's not on this computer. Some brief articles from local TV are still available but the main News article and pdf file have disappeared.

Emails reveal plan to fire Leach

Emails surface among Tech Administrators about Leach firing

The basic story was that Leach was in the habit of pressuring Tech for contract concessions each year by presenting himself as a hot commodity. To do that he needed interviews, even if he had to beg for them. Typical story: when the Auburn job came open he threw his hat in the ring; when Auburn didn't contact him he called them; when they said they weren't interested he said "please--i'll pay my own way". The "interview" was a brief meeting in a hotel room; he then tried to use Auburn's supposed interest in him to get a raise from Tech. Unfortunately for Leach, Tech had also heard the story from people at Auburn.

Multiply that story by a dozen or so. Even Kentucky, where he'd been a coordinator before he went to Tech, didn't interview him when their job came open. As far as I know he only had one real interview--Washington really did talk to him, then promptly hired Willingham.

Why this was happening I don't know. Certainly once he started playing these games word was going to get around, but before?

Nobody seems to have any doubts about his technical ability. He also has a reputation for being a difficult guy. That's not necessarily a problem in itself, but a head coach needs to be able to hold a program together, whether by inspiring loyalty or respect or just being such an attentive and effective manager that problems and frictions get resolved before they fracture a team or the fanbase/institutional community supporting them. There's some evidence here he doesn't do that well.

I can see why a prospective employer might be uneasy at the thought of being his boss. More to the point, maybe the extra wins aren't worth the risk of total program implosion.

[Ed.: I may have conflated two stories above: I think it may have been Miami that interviewed him in a motel room; Auburn wouldn't interview him at all even after he offered to pay expenses.]


November 23rd, 2011 at 8:55 PM ^

For the reasons listed in the post by Yeoman and at least one other, Leach might very well never get another shot as head coach at a school of any importance.  I know someone in academia who consulted a friend (also an attorney) about suing her dean and the university.  His response was unless you never plan on working at another university again, don't do it. He said the merits of the case don't really matter.  Anyone going that route will be blacklisted as a troublemaker--not openly blacklisted, of course, but just never get an interview for another job in academia. 


November 23rd, 2011 at 7:07 PM ^

I wonder how he is able to stay anywhere as long as he does.  His "performance" at Florida permanently warped my perception of him.  I think he would be a great MAC coach, though.  He already has the money from his other contracts; he could go to a school where football isn't as important as it is in the schools he has coached so far.