Sometimes they actually stay.
Sports fans have become accustomed to coaches insisting they’re happy where they are, then leaving in the next breath, i.e. Urban Meyer. It’s a law of nature. But it looks like Utah State’s Gary Andersen and BYU’s Bronco Mendenhall really are sticking around for now.
Andersen took his name out of contention for any job last week when he announced he was staying at USU. Mendenhall told reporters on Wednesday that, despite speculation to the contrary, he wasn’t interested in the Colorado job and was never contacted. Those two seem in the minority to me. There’s a reason for that. As former Utah coach Jim Fassel used to say, there are only two types of coaches: those that have been fired and those waiting to be fired.
So they tend to cash in while they can.
But occasionally they become lifers, like LaVell Edwards. In the 1980s, Utah talked with Cal State Fullerton coach Gene Murphy. My sources said the Utes even offered him the job. But he stayed right there with the Titans from 1980 until Fullerton dropped football in 1992. After going 11-1 in 1984 he told the Los Angeles Times: “There’s all this talk about me going here or there, but I’ll tell you one thing. I wouldn’t be going anywhere except up to Minnesota to become a fishing guide if it wasn’t for these kids.”
Meaning his players.
Most coaches say stuff like that, but Murphy meant it. He stayed where he was. That was a big deal with Andersen and Mendenhall this year, too.
With salaries bigger and security smaller, it’s hard to blame most coaches when they move on. But in the case of Murphy – whose name came up often over the years – he just liked where he was. “I guess I’m just a Cal State Fullerton kind of guy,” he once said.
At least for now, Mendenhall and Andersen must be feeling much the same about where they are.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you find where you belong.