Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the disastrous mess that has been the Auburn coaching search, and attempt to explain why no one seems to want such a top their SEC job.
DAN WETZEL: So, Auburn, we thought, hey, you don't fire your coach where you owe him this much money this quickly, a coach who's, you know, pretty good unless you've got a plan. Pat, what was the plan?
PAT FORDE: Ha. Well, the plan-- depending on what you believe and what you hear, the plan was basically we've got a bunch of meddling boosters, which is the Auburn way of life, who are going to barge into this and try to take control, do what they wanted to do, and not really worry about anybody else. And that's run into some resistance from the administration.
And as I was told last week, there were "a lot of cooks in the kitchen," quote, unquote. There were, quote, "people divided into camps," unquote. There was the Hugh Freeze camp. There was the Kevin Steele camp-- my favorite camp, by the way, the defensive coordinator, the guy who-- this is like Auburn repeating its own dysfunctional psychotic history here because if it's true that the Bobby Lowder factor from the booster fringe basically engineered Gus's ouster to elevate the defensive coordinator, well, he's already done that before there. In the 1990s, they did that with pushing out Terry Bowden and trying to elevate Bill "Brother" Oliver.
That didn't work. Oliver got the job halfway through the season and flopped. He went 2 and 3, winless in the SEC, so they couldn't keep him. And this is also the same group of people that tried to submarine Tommy Tuberville but for Bobby Petrino behind Tubbs's back during the season. So par for the course.
Now where this thing is going, who knows? But we've had a lot of people say they don't want the job because they've looked and said who wants to work at that crazy place?
PETE THAMEL: It is. Yeah. Here's the thing. Auburn is struggling right now because it's attempting to detach itself from the soul of what Auburn really is, and what Auburn really is, as we've known it for the past generation, is filled with crazy boosters, rogue board members, and essentially a complete dysfunction that hovers above a president who doesn't have a heck of a lot to say, an athletic director-- I mean, in some of their glory years, they promoted the SID to athletic director. Think about it.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, they did.
PETE THAMEL: So they don't want a strong presence there. Allen Greene, to his credit, the athletic director, has tried to be that presence, and he's tried to run a real search when, at this point, what actually would have served Auburn best was just go hiring Hugh Freeze. Go be who you are, Auburn, right? You are the one who embraces [INAUDIBLE] sinners. Like, that is you. That is who you are.
You have empowered the sinners over the years. You've brought them back. You've enabled them. Like, why is this different? If you want the best coach-- which is what the Auburn you and I know, Pat, has always wanted, right?
PAT FORDE: Oh yeah.
PETE THAMEL: Yeah. They will look past it, and their fans will find a set of facts that match their hopes to win.
DAN WETZEL: And it's clear that, like, something's just amiss because this is a really, really good job, and it will pay you a ton of money. It will grant you tremendous power. You have a great recruiting base where you're an hour-- an hour from parts of metro Atlanta, if that. You know, you're not far from the pan-- there's just so many players around there. And, you know, yes, Nick Saban's across the way, but that's the SEC. You're going to be surrounded by great programs somewhere.
So there's-- the plan is just like-- like, we gave them too much credit. We're like, maybe Auburn's got its-- you know, its things in a row here, its ducks in a row. I mean, you say-- Pat, you said it's like too many cooks in the kitchen. This thing is like an episode of the Food Network's "Chopped," right? There's just-- there's four warring factions, and they're told here is a basket of, like, aged duck eggs, a half-eaten cheeseburger, some SpaghettiOs, and kale. Come up with a coach in 30 minutes!