Get out of the MACWritten by Norm Wamer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bowling Green women’s basketball coach Curt Miller is a winner. Or is that the winner? Sorry, that was a trick question; the answer is both. We all know that Curt Miller is a terrific coach. You don’t need to look any further than 150 wins in his first seven seasons to understand that Miller is a winner. But is he the winner?
Yep, he is also the winner whether he knows it or not. Out of the six highest- profile college programs in Northwest Ohio, Miller is the only one left from just two years ago.
That makes Curt Miller the winner of the Northwest Ohio college coach’s game of “Survivor.” Congratulations, Curt! We don’t have an award or a prize for you, but we do have a piece of advice. That piece of advice is to run! Run as fast as you can! Get out while you can still get out! If you can’t find an exit or a better program to run to, make sure that you don’t ever stop winning. Because one thing is for certain in the Mid-American Conference: if you stay here long enough, someone will show you the door if you can’t find it yourself.
Other than the men’s basketball program at Kent State, it is almost impossible to maintain a championship level in the MAC for more than a few years. The only MAC coaches who thrive are the ones who leave for more money.
Most of the problem is that there are no schools in the MAC where kids grow up dreaming to play there, at least not many. Kids grow up dreaming of playing at schools like Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma and Alabama. They don’t grow up dreaming of living out their fantasy of playing at Eastern Michigan. The MAC is a nice place to be, but for most kids, it’s a consolation prize, which makes consistent recruiting nearly impossible. As soon as a coach has something go wrong, he is thrown out for the next shiny new model off the assembly line.
What do you have to do to keep coaching in the MAC? Tom Amstutz, Gregg Brandon, Stan Joplin, Dan Dakich and Mark Ehlen all won a lot of games in the MAC. Amstutz and Ehlen won MAC titles. Brandon, Joplin and Dakich won division titles. Amstutz and Brandon won bowl games. All provided a lot of thrills. All of them were good, smart coaches. But every one of them hit the MAC down cycle.
We can argue all day who should have been let go and who should have stayed.
The fact is that they are all gone, and the smartest ones were guys like Urban Meyer and former Central Michigan football coach Brian Kelly. Get out while the getting is good. Are you listening, Brady Hoke at Ball State? Are you listening Turner Gill at Buffalo? Geno Ford at Kent State? Gregg Brandon proved that having the best record in the MAC since 2003 is not enough to stay employed. Hello, calling Curt Miller!
Norm Wamer is program director of Sports Radio 1470 “The Ticket” WLQR-AM and hosts “The Front Row” weekday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m.