Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hire the resume, not the mustache

This originally began as a comment on Greg Eno's blog, Out of Bounds, where the topic du jour is the prospect of the Detroit Lions hiring Russ Grimm as their new head coach. But as my fingers kept typing and the comment grew longer, I decided it might fit better as an entry here instead. But please, read Greg's post first.

Greg thinks Grimm would be a good hire because of the expertise he'd bring to this team as Pittsburgh's current offensive line coach, along with an attitude that suits a blue collar city. I like the tough mentality and persona Grimm would presumably bring to Detroit, too. And I agree he'd be embraced by the fans as "one of us." If Grimm could be to Detroit what Cowher is to Pittsburgh, I would regularly jump up and kick my heels together while walking down the street.

But I'd feel a whole lot better about Grimm if he was in demand by other teams and worked as an offensive or defensive coordinator at some point.

There's a reason coordinator jobs are the natural step to a head coaching position. Those coaches proved they could run an entire unit and oversee a staff. And in most cases, they called plays, which should give a clear indication as to a preferred scheme or philosophy. (Is he aggressive? Does he take risks? Is he conservative? Does he play it safe?) Being a position coach might prove you can teach technique, but it doesn't show if you can lead a team.

I can think of two people off the top of my head that went from position coach to head coach: Mike Tice and Herm Edwards. I realize that's not really a representative sample. But I'd say Tice didn't work out and Edwards did. Which was the rule and which was the exception?

According to Nick Cotsonika in today's Detroit Free Press and ESPN.com's Michael Smith (thanks to MLive.com's Highlight Reel for the link), Grimm could be the Lions head coach as soon as the Steelers are eliminated from the playoffs. And if that kind of buzz is surrounding Grimm before Millen's even interviewed him, doesn't that indicate he's probably already made his decision? Isn't that exactly what happened with the Mornhinweg and Mariucci hirings?

So what's really changed, other than Grimm looking more like a "Millen guy"? More interviews? What did they matter if Millen already knew he wanted to hire his buddy? That just makes the whole process even more fraudulent than the failure to interview coaches before Mariucci was hired.

(What would've happened if each candidate showed up for his interview with the same type of macho mustache Grimm and Millen sport on their lips? Machismo, baby! Does Singletary still have his mustache?)

Maybe Grimm really is the best candidate. But it doesn't look that way when it sounds as if a decision's been made before a fair interview process has been completed. I really hope Millen knows what the #@$% he's doing this time. Because this is beginning to look familiar.


  • At January 12, 2006 4:59 PM, Blogger Greg Eno said…

    Ian, Ian, Ian....

    The reference to Grimm's appearance came at the end of my post and was just an aside. The bulk of my argument was a diatribe on Grimm's "O" line background, and his recognition of the importance of solid line play in winning football.

    Grimm is also being considered by at least one other team, I believe.

    Yes, coordinators tend to get the nod, but six years under a guy like Bill Cowher can't hurt a man's preparation, either.

    Hire the Hog, I say! Not too many of the others excite me all that much.

  • At January 12, 2006 11:17 PM, Anonymous Evan said…

    According to the Free Press, New Orleans and Green Bay are currently interested in him, and he was the "runner up" for both the last Chicago opening and the Cleveland job last year.

    All of that said, it's a crap shoot until they're interviewed. Millen hasn't said a thing, so we just have to wait and see. Marty was an offensive coordinator, and look how well that worked out. So being a coordinator doesn't necessarily guarantee anything.

    Perhaps the odds are against him. But if he interviews well and can run a team and hire good coordinators, who gives a shit what position he had before? For better or for worse, it's all going to come down to what he and the other candidates say to Matt Millen behind closed doors (so to speak).

    (This relates, in a way, to a conversation I was having today on another site. The post was about the idea that men with military experience are (or aren't) better equipped to lead the country in war time. I contended that there could be an army of people with the talent and know how to do it but that the public would never back them because people have an obsession with experience. Granted, much of the time, that's correct. But how many people out there have a boss who continually fucks shit up who has tons of experience? Lots, I'd wager. I think a good employer is able to sift through perceptions and get at what a person's real abilities are -- whether they're a political leader or a football coach.)

  • At January 13, 2006 11:47 AM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    Grimm is just someone that I keep coming back to, for whatever reason. Maybe it is my deep, dark love for the Steelers and rooting for them as a child. I love Cowler and, even though it is not him, at least he learned under him. I also agree with all the other points, an interview will tell more about a person than experience and the fact that he can hire coordinators that can help in with areas that maybe he doesn't fully grasp yet.

    It reminds me of when I was looking for a job, fresh out of college with my degree and ready to use it. I went on ten interviews in about two months and each one was the same thing - "You got the degree, you look good on paper, but we really want someone with more experience." I remember after about the tenth time I heard that I was ready to strangle the interviewer and say "Well, if none of you fucks will hire me how the hell am I supposed to get this damn thing called 'experience'?" Like Evan said sometimes I think the experience thing is overplayed.

  • At January 13, 2006 7:12 PM, Anonymous Kevin A. said…

    I just wrote a quick something on this whole deal, but I also added in that this just broke - Kubiak is out, Grimm is in, according to scout.com.

    Not cool.


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