Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Assistants Lack in Job Security

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Assistants Lack in Job Security

Article excerpt

Usually, when you lose your job, you've done something

drastically wrong: Failed a drug test, embarrassed the company,

choked your boss . . . something. Unless, of course, you're an

assistant football coach. Then, you lose your job because.

Just because.

Patti Reaves is mildly amused when a writer tells her he is

doing a story on the life and times of assistant football

coaches.

"Don't you mean the life and times of masochists?" she says and

laughs.

Her husband, John, a former University of Florida quarterback

and assistant coach, recently lost his job as the QB coach and

passing-game coordinator at South Carolina. Reason: Embattled

head coach Brad Scott has entirely changed his offensive

philosophy from passing to running.

Meanwhile, at UF, Barry Wilson, the Gators' linebacker coach

and special teams co-coordinator, was jettisoned two weeks ago.

Reason: Head coach Steve Spurrier wanted to hire his son, Steve

Jr.

Two good men, two decent coaches, out of work through no real

fault of their own. Welcome to college football, where assistant

coaches practice the most tenuous trade this side of high-wire

unicyclist. Assistant coaches are in triple jeopardy: They get

fired with the head coach, they get fired instead of the head

coach or they just get fired.

"It's like Pepper Rodgers used to always say when I was

coaching under him at Georgia Tech," Spurrier recalled. "He used

to say, `There are two kinds of coaches -- Those who have been

fired and those who are gonna get fired.' "

Rodgers, by the way, was fired at Georgia Tech shortly after

issuing this famous quote. And when Bill Curry became Tech's new

head coach, Spurrier, too, was fired.

In the world of big-time college football, there is little time

for compassion. Too much is at stake. Lose one game and there is

disappointment. Lose two and heads roll.

Spurrier's Gators lost twice last season and failed to win the

SEC East for the first time since the fall of the Ottoman

Empire. Unacceptable. Spurrier wanted some new blood on his

staff -- his own blood. …

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