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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

February 23, 2009 at 5:59 PM

What makes a destination job?

Ran across an interesting story today on SI.com about destination jobs in college football — or schools where coaches want to go and then never leave.
You’ll note the author leads off reciting that if Mike Leach hadn’t interviewed at UW in December, the whole soap opera at Texas Tech recently might not have happened, though that’s not why I found the story interesting.
Instead, it made me think about Pac-10 destination jobs. The author rightly cites USC as a destination job — the only Pac-10 school listed.
But as I read it, I started thinking of all the Pac-10 schools and realized that every other conference school has had at least one coach leave willingly, either for another college job or the NFL, since the last time it happened at Washington.
The last coach to leave UW voluntarily for another coaching job was Darrell Royal following the 1956 season. An Oklahoma native, he left after one season for Texas. According to Tom Porter’s book, A Football Band of Brothers, Royal was the first UW coach to leave for another job since Victor Place in 1908 — he left for Notre Dame.
Just off the top of my head, USC has had at least two coaches leave voluntarily since then, each for NFL jobs — John McKay and John Robinson. And of the other Pac-10 schools, Dick Vermeil left UCLA for the NFL after the 1975 season, Darryl Rogers left ASU for the Lions in 1985, Rich Brooks left Oregon for the Rams in 1994, Dennis Erickson Oregon State for the 49ers, Larry Smith left Arizona for USC in 1986, WSU has had several notable departures, including Erickson for the University of Miami in 1989, Bruce Snyder left Cal for ASU in 1993, and Tyrone Willingham left Stanford for Notre Dame in 2002.I know there are others at most schools, I’m just listing one I can remember to make the point that it’s happened at those schools during the time frame I was referencing.
That obviously doesn’t prove that UW is a more desirable job than the others — all the NFL jobs paid more than the college jobs, and the difference was particularly acute 20-30 years ago before salaries for college positions began expanding greatly. (The list also shows that it takes a lot to make any successful coach leave a Pac-10 job.)
We also all know that Rick Neuheisel certainly entertained a few offers during his time at UW, thought seriously about leaving a time or two, and wasn’t a lock to finish his career with the Huskies.
Also, UW’s stability during that run was basically just two guys — Jim Owens and Don James.
And also, we know that the stature of UW’s program has changed the last decade or so.
Still, it’s an interesting fact to consider when you talk about destination schools in the Pac-10.

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