University of Mississippi Fires Head Coach Even Though They Said They Wouldn't

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The University of Mississippi fired its head football coach Ed Orgeron today. It’s not my place to comment on what the reasons might have been for this firing, because I am not a football expert. But I do a thing or two about leadership and integrity and I have seen precious little of either in the upper ranks of leadership at the University of Mississippi. The specifics:

1) About three weeks the administration came out in support of Orgeron and said he would be back next year. I certainly understand that when the upper administration has to come out and issue proclamations of support for a coach that it means they have been fielding some irate fans and alumni. I also know it is the beginning of the end. So was the UM administration simply blowing smoke? That appears to be the case.

2) According to the Clarion Ledger, the Athletic Director Pete Boone said the statement of support was based on the assumption that the team would have a strong finish. But, he also was quoted as saying that one game was not responsible for firing the coach. The actual quote is:

"There's several criteria that I look at," Boone said in the news conference. "There should never be a point in time where one game, one call, one quarter has anything to do with such a monumental decision as this, and that's not the case here.

"That endorsement several weeks ago, it was in anticipation of finishing on a strong note, which Coach O and I both felt we would do. That did not happen. In concurrence with the chancellor, we felt for the Ole Miss people and the program that we needed to change directions."

Khayat did not speak at the news conference, but afterwards he told The Clarion-Ledger that Boone convinced him on Friday night that a change was needed. "It would be bad management on my part to get into everything that he does," said Khayat, when asked if he made the decision of if Boone did.

Well, let’s see what has happened since the statement of support. UM played and defeated Northwestern State. They then played and lost to LSU. Now come own, no one at the UM could possibly drink enough to think for even a second that they stood a chance at defeating LSU. Heck, the fact that they scored 24 points says a lot about the team. Then there was the loss to MSU. Oh yeah, and there was pillowgate—the 20 UM football players who stole clocks and pillows from two hotel during team stays. But the administration said that was all taken care of—you know; boys will be boys.

So, it appears then that there is a game that could have saved Orgeron his job but not one that cost him his job.

3) The administration, according to the Clarion Ledger, sent text messages to the football team announcing the firing because they were all out of town for the holidays. Now what kind of leadership is that? The proper thing to have done would have been to meet with the team and make the announcement prior to making it public. There was no reason why this could not happen. Boone says that he does not have anyone in mind to take the job so why could he not wait until Monday to make the announcement? What would it have cost the UM? They would have had a little more time to think things through, Orgeron could have enjoyed the holidays as best he could (even he knew the news was coming on Monday), and the players could have been properly informed.

The more I think about it the more I understand why the UM players stole the pillows and clocks. There is a definite lack of integrity and leadership on their campus.

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This page contains a single entry by Robert A. Green published on November 24, 2007 10:47 PM.

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