Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken talked about the process of coordinators moving up one chair to the head coaching spot with the media yesterday. He had a lot to say.
“It’s hard enough to get a head coaching job without being a head coach,” Monken told The Oklahoman. “With all the money people are getting paid now, (school decision makers) don’t want to guess.”
Monken is correct. As more and more money pours into college football, the amount of pressure on coaches equally rises. Administrators have a quick trigger finger and aren’t afraid to use it (see: Bohn, Mike).
“The next step is an offensive guy who’s scoring,” said Monken. “Put some people in the stands, exciting offense and all that. And that’s becoming more and more common. You have to take a smaller job, if you can, and win.”
This was a line of thought that played out on the FootballScoop Twitter feed earlier today.
A FBS HC’s right hand man said 2 me yesterday, “That’s why sometimes hot OC’s take a lower level HC job…just to prove they can be HC” #Gus
— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) November 30, 2012
Being the head man is an entirely different world than serving as an offensive coordinator. Monken smartly realizes his best move may be to follow the steps of Larry Fedora, who jumped from the Oklahoma State offensive coordinator to the head coaching job at Southern Miss, and Gus Malzahn, who did the same when moving from Auburn to Arkansas State.
At a reported salary of $600,000, Monken knows he can afford to be picky. In fact, he reportedly turned down the offer to become head coach at Tulane last year.
“You’ve just got to be careful. It’s OK to wave at the neighbor lady, flirt a little bit. I don’t know if it’s across the street. Better be careful, might not want to go in the house. But it’s nice to be wanted. It’s nice to have someone tell you, ‘Hey, we want you. And here’s this amount of money. And a five-year deal. It’s your own program…
“Everybody likes to be smoothed. Everybody likes to be wanted. And if you’re not careful, you can make an emotional decision, even if you know it’s the wrong thing.
“How many coaches have done that, taken the job and said, ‘Can I get the old one back, I screwed up?’”
Monken isn’t a fan of the timeline that most coaching changes operate on. Coaches have to juggle the interview and hiring process while simultaneously helping their current team finish their season. It’s an awkward timeline, but it’s the price of playing poker in this day and age.
“That’s what’s screwed up about our profession, you can’t control that,” explained Monken. “When opportunities come up, they don’t allow you to finish. You say, ‘Hey, can we wait?’ They say, ‘We don’t want to wait.’”
As one of four finalists for the FootballScoop Offensive Coordinator of the Year award, we already knew Monken understood the coaching aspect of his profession. After hearing his thoughts; it’s clear to us that he has a very good understanding of the process. He’ll be a good head coach one day.