Tide coaching search only benefitting Auburn

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2006

&#8220Steve Spurrier? Hey. This is Mal Moore, athletics director at the University of Ala… Hello? Hello?”

That scenario seems to have played itself out over and over during the last week as South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier and Miami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban both vehemently denied being interested in the Crimson Tide vacancy.

South Carolina and Spurrier even went a step further over the weekend as The Ol' Ball Coach signed on for an extension and a raise in Columbia.

Just like in the past three coaching searches, the Tide powers that be have shot for the moon and hit nothing but dirt.

It would be nice to say you can't blame them for trying, but you can blame them for trying.

Why in the world would an esteemed coach like Spurrier, who is arguably the greatest coach in SEC history, want to go to a place where we will never be viewed even as the greatest coach at that school?

Why in the world would a coach like Saban want to leave the place he has worked his whole life to get to just to go back to a league he has already conquered?

So now the attention has turned to West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has turned the mountains of West Virginia into a football haven in recent years and would not be a bad choice if it were not for a few factors.

First, Rodriguez's current team plays the Auburn Tigers in 2007 and then again in 2008 and although the Mountaineers look to be able to compete with, if not conquer, the Tigers the next two years, losing Rodriguez would make beating Auburn tough.

Next, Rodriguez has no connection to Alabama. While everyone, including myself, has expressed the need for Alabama to get away from the past, Rodriguez has found it much easier to recruit in Morgantown, since it is his alma mater, than he would in Tuscaloosa.

Lastly, beating Auburn is the only way to turn the Tide in Tuscaloosa and Rodriguez has no experience in being the head coach in a game of that magnitude.

Whether the ‘Bama faithful want to admit it or not, the only way to return to national prominence is to be prominent in the SEC and the only way to be prominent in the SEC is to be prominent in the SEC West and the only way to be prominent in the SEC West is to beat Auburn.

The tools are there in Tuscaloosa to do all of that, but it is going to take the right craftsman to get it done and Rodriguez is not it.

The right man for the job is, however, just 400 miles to the east of Morgantown, W.V., in Louisville, Ky.

To Moore: Call Auburn trustee Bobby Lowder. He knows how to get there.

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor.

You can contact him by e-mailing austin.phillips@greenvilleadvocate.com or by calling 382-3111 ext. 122.