Van Malone is without a job right now. He was SMU’s defensive coordinator until Chad Morris got the Arkansas job; Morris didn’t take him to Arkansas, and his replacement, Sonny Dykes, didn’t retain him to the new SMU staff. You can slice that any way you want. You could say he was laid off. You could say he’s between jobs. Malone prefers to keep it simple: he was fired.
In an industry where many say you aren’t really a part of the club until you’ve been fired, Malone prefers to treat his current joblessness not like a death in the family, but a fact of life.
He sent this tweet ahead of this week’s AFCA Convention in Charlotte:
I have always said that if you are looking, you have to let people know it! See you in Charlotte! pic.twitter.com/48Phg0Y8dg
— SMU Coach Van Malone (@SMUCoachMalone) January 6, 2018
I caught up with Malone in Charlotte to talk about how he’s handled being fired.
“We call it transition, but I call it fired. Fired, what that makes me do is it makes me move,” Malone said. “That makes me be aggressive in that next step. I think it’s important that if you want to get a job, you want to take the next step, you’ve got to let people know that’s what you’re trying to do. So many coaches in this situation, they’re embarrassed. They want to hang in the back. They’re suffering from what has happened. Man, you’ve got to move forward. That’s the way I’ve been, an attack guy. If I see an opportunity, I’m not going to worry about the protocol. ‘Well, I’ve got to get with this guy who knows that guy who knows that guy.’ I’m going to try to contact that person directly, as best I can. I’ve been coaching long enough that I know how to coach.
“If I’m in a tough situation, I’m going to let my network know. I’ve got a pretty big network, so I’m going to let them all know, which is why I put that tweet out there the other day.
I was talking to a young guy who said he’d been fired. I said, ‘Let me ask you, have you told anybody?’ Very proudly, he said no. I said, ‘Man, that’s a mistake. You’re going to go to the convention, you’re going to hold your head up high because nobody knows you’ve been fired, and then what’s going to happen is you’re going to go back home and you’re still going to be fired. It’s important that you let everybody know that you’re in this situation.’ I don’t know how many people he’s told since, but I made sure that I let him know that it’s not a good thing to keep it to yourself.”