James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Gary Barnett Steps Down

What's the difference between "stepping down" and receiving a $3 million settlement, and getting fired with a $3 million buyout? In any case, Colorado football coach Gary Barnett gets $3 million.

The man is a very good coach, but not a great one. I don't think anyone's seen a team look so terrible in two consecutive games on national television, as Colorado did against Nebraska and Texas. As can be seen with fan rioting at the Nebraska game, it seems like a dark cloud hovers over the campus.

Barnett's act grew tiresome when he coached Northwestern. He won two Big Ten titles, but was always campaigning for his next job. Since the feel-good Rose Bowl run in 1995, he hasn't come across as a likeable or sympathetic figure.

Speaking of ex-Big 12 football coaches, ex-Nebraska and current Ohio coach Frank Solich was convicted of DUI last week. Ohio's administration had made a goal to downplay its reputation as a party school, but elected to keep Solich anyway.

As time went on during Solich's six-year stint as Husker coach, I had increasing doubts about him. But firing him for going 7-7 in 2002 and 9-3 in 2003 seemed a little abrupt. I thought AD Steve Pederson fired him because Pederson had lined up someone better, but that wasn't the case as coach after coach declined or withdrew from consideration before Bill Callahan came on board.

Now, I'm starting to wonder. How many people get their first DUI's at the age of 61? Could it be that there were behind-the-scenes reasons for firing Solich that had nothing to do with a 58-19 record? Did Pederson, who has become a villain in Nebraska, actually cover Solich's butt when he fired him?

If he did, it's bound to come out eventually.

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