Weber State sets responsible precedent


            I doubt former Weber State football coach Jody Sears was surprised when he was fired on Monday. His contract specified four wins this year or he could be dismissed.  He won two.


Deseret News photo

Deseret News photo

It was an impossible situation. Sears took over when John L. Smith abandoned ship in April 2012 without coaching a game.  Sears was left to patch something together. But he won just four games in two seasons.

            If Sears was shocked, it wouldn’t the first occurrence. Ron McBride was dumbfounded when the Utes fired him after attendance dropped and he had two losing seasons in three years. Jim Fassel was stunned after being released with a 25-33 record at Utah. Brent Guy was aghast after compiling the worst record in USU history and being shown the door.

            Everyone is like that when it comes to job performance. They see it from the inside out. But coaches make great money and the expectations are clear: win. Though Sears earned $130,000 – pennies compared to Kyle Whittingham’s $2 million at Utah – it’s still more than three times the average wage in Utah.

            I can’t recall covering a coach who said he deserved to be fired – no matter what the salary.

            So Sears is gone. He might be a great coach, but there was no way to tell. He inherited a dumpster fire. It’s too bad it’s such a bottom-line profession. Sears was a fine representative of the university. Sadly, that’s not enough nowadays.

            Conversely, Weber State deserves credit for being careful with its money. It made the expectations clear and stayed with its plan. Athletics departments nationwide wouldn’t be swimming in red ink if they were as careful with their planning.

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