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BY TOM MITSOFF
With this week's surprise firing of Ohio State head football coach Earle Bruce, the Buckeyes will be looking for a new man to head the storied gridiron program in Columbus.
The Ohio State job should attract applicants from all over the country because of its prestige and tradition. Sorting through the glut of applications will be no easy task for OSU President Edward Jennings, though.
An average day during the interview process might go something like this:
"Mrs. Wigginbottom, please send in the next applicant."
"Yes, Mr. Jennings."
(The door swings open, and a man with a British accent greets the university president and seats himself.)
"Charting the whirlwind, fast-paced lifestyles of rich and famous socialites."
"As you know, Mr. Leach, a prerequisite of this position is coaching experience. Do you have any?"
"Of course. I'm the personal coach and trainer for Spuds McKenzie, the most bodacious bull terrier on the pooch party circuit."
"But have you ever coached football?"
"No, but I've watched many a game while seated in the plush, ultra-modern, high-tech luxury skyboxes of the shiny-new Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, or in the diamond-studded, fur-lined guest room at the Hollywood hideaway of seductive screen star Joan Collins, or ..."
"I'm afraid that merely having watched football on television does not qualify you for the position, Mr. Leach."
"But I'm a simply peachy motivational speaker, with a loud voice that seems to increase in volume and intensity at the end of every SENTENCE. Perhaps my outgoing, bubbly, effervescent personality would enable me to persuade the young high school lads to matriculate here instead of that less-than-desirable location to the NORTH."
"Charisma with the recruits ... Hmm ... That's a definite point in your favor, Mr. Leach. We'll be in touch. Next.
"Wide receiver with the Cincinnati Bengals."
"Yes, of course, Cris. You're the player who holds the NCAA record for the longest touchdown pass of 99 yards when you were a freshman quarterback at the University of Florida, aren't you?"
"You read my resume, I see."
"Cris, we're looking for someone to lead our program in a new direction from a head coaching standpoint. Do you have any coaching experience?"
"Well, I coached a women's intramural beach volleyball team at the University of Tampa during the off-season."
"How about something relating to football?"
"Nothing, really, in terms of coaching. I've been All-Pro three times, and I love giving interviews to the media after games."
"Loves giving interviews to the media ... Good P.R. ... Hmmm ... That is a definite plus in your favor, Mr. Collinsworth. We'll be in touch. Next.
"Unemployed, but former head coach of the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Cardinals."
"What would you say some of your primary coaching philosophies are, Mr. Coryell?"
"Well, I can sum it up in three words - pass, pass, pass. If you want a pass offense here at Ohio State, I'm the guy to set it up for you.
"A lot of our alumni do think that our run-oriented offense is pretty antiquated, and they would like to see us develop a 'modern' offensive philosophy. They would probably like to see a coach who airs it out. By the way, what was your record?"
"Well, we never really won anything. We were a little over .500."
"That's all right, Mr. Coryell. A great career coaching record is not a prerequisite here. We'll be in touch. Next.
"Mick Dundee, up from A'stralia."
"I fight crocs, mainly."
"Why would someone from Australia want to apply for a position as an American college football coach in a win-or-else situation like this one?"
"I dunno, mate. I just saw the ad in the paper that said, 'High pay, company car.' I don't have a steady job or a car right now."
"What do you feel your qualifications would be to fill the position of head coach?"
"I dunno. Me croc-skin vest and khaki hat?"
"Yes, yes, you could be right. You don't wear a sport coat or fashionable fedora. By wearing a windbreaker or a sweater and a cap, you could convey that 'hard-working, down-to-earth coach' image. That's a definite plus in your favor, Mr. Dundee. We'll be in touch.
"Mrs. Wigginbottom, could you come in here, please?"
"Yes, Mr. Jennings?"
"Mrs. Wigginbottom, don't we have any applicants that have 'undefeated record every year' or 'national championship' on their resume? All of the applicants you have sent in have good points, but none of them seems to be the perfect man for the job."
"Is being perfect one of the qualifications for the job, Mr. Jennings?"
"Well, Mrs. Wigginbottom, it wouldn't hurt."
This column appeared in the Thursday, Nov. 19, 1987 issue of the Beavercreek (Ohio) Daily News. The Ohio Associated Press judged it as the top sports column in Ohio appearing in newspapers of under 20,000 circulation for the year 1987.
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