I've had the pleasure of attending the graduate assistant forum at the AFCA Convention each of the past three years. Every year the panelists change, and one of the main messages remains the same: Young coaches are being interviewed every single day. I recall St. Thomas (D-III - MN) head coach Glenn Caruso proclaiming at the 2015 forum he'd eliminated three guys from any future staffs just by the way they sat in the audience.
So it's always been my mission to remind those guys on the low end of the totem pole that the you're-always-being-evaluated applies to coaches on the higher end, too.
Case in point, South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott. Elliott knows that process won't start at some end-of-year evaluation with AD Ray Tanner.
"I mean, every single day, I'm being interviewed," Elliott told the Associated Press.
Elliott is 1-0 so far, leading the Gamecocks to their first SEC win of the year in a 19-10 decision over Vanderbilt on Oct. 17. South Carolina (3-4) visits Texas A&M Saturday and Tennessee the week after, then closes SEC play with Florida in Columbia on Nov. 14. The Gamecocks finish off the year with home games against The Citadel and Clemson. One figures Elliott would have to win out, or at least win four of the five with one of those victories coming against Clemson, to have a shot at the full-time job.
But in the meantime, Elliott is making the most of his opportunity, and that includes riding the unexpected wave of well wishes from fans and observers, like when fans come up and shake his hands at high school games. "I don't know how this interim thing works, but I can imagine in a lot of places the interim coach doesn't get treated like that," Elliott said. "It's just kind of like, just waiting for this guy to get out of here and kind of get the next coach (in). But I never got a feeling like that was the case."