Ed Warinner is a turncoat, but he’s hardly the first. Mack Brown was once the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. Darrell Royal played for the Sooners, then went 12-7-1 against his alma mater as the head coach of the Longhorns. Will Muschamp played for Georgia and was the head coach at Florida. Jeff Monken spent six years on staff at Navy and is now the head coach at Army. Jeremy Pruitt climbed nearly every rung on the ladder at Alabama — from player to GA all the way up to defensive coordinator — and used that experience to become the head coach at Tennessee.

These men are far from the only coaches to work both sides of a rivalry. And that’s the point. There’s no such thing as being a turncoat in coaching, because the nature of the job removes such an allegiance from you. It doesn’t mean you aren’t loyal to your alma mater or you can’t look back fondly at a school where you put good years in, it just means that coaching is a transient business where, if you stay in it long enough, eventually your closet will have more colors than a rainbow.

Warinner isn’t the first, but he is the latest and the most prominent recent example of such a phenomenon. The entirety of the Ohio State fanbase was more than happy to, uh, polite politefully point out that Michigan hyped Warinner’s hiring by putting out a graphic touting the success he had at Ohio State.

Warinner has actually hit for the cycle of Michigan rivals. Before he spent half a decade on Urban Meyer’s staff in Columbus, Warinner was the offensive line coach at Notre Dame in 2010-11 and was a graduate assistant at Michigan State in the ’80s.

“You go places, you coach, you give them everything you have and it’s a very high stress job,” he said Thursday. “Sometimes you just need to change, to re-engerize, to refresh. All I know is that everywhere I’ve been I’ve loved it, I’ve worked hard, I’ve given them all I have and I’m going to do the same thing here.

“I love coaching college football players,” he continued. “I’m so proud of the guys that I coached at Minnesota, at Ohio State, at Notre Dame, or whatever, and I stay in touch with them, and I get contact when I have children, when they get married. I go to their weddings. That’s why you do this.”

Warinner closes on the ultimate point. Coaching isn’t about how you coach for, because jobs are temporary. Coaching is about who you coach, because your players are your players no matter what color they happen to wear.

SHARE
National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.