Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Devine Needs a Coach as Good as He Was

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Devine Needs a Coach as Good as He Was

Article excerpt

When Dan Devine was eating high on the headcheese as athletic director his first time around at the University of Missouri, a friend suggested he faced two challenges down the road - to quit as coach one year too soon, rather than too late, and to pick a coaching successor as capably as his AD predecessor, Don Faurot.

As a coach, Devine did quit at least a year too soon, announcing at 54 in 1980 that the season would be his last at Notre Dame. Devine's Irish then almost won a second national championship.

Dan'l, about to step down a second time as athletic director at Ol' Mizzou, faces the difficult second challenge - to pick a coach hopefully nearly as successful as Devine or Faurot, the 91-year-old patriarch of the pigskin.

One of the reasons the sod at Mizzou is "Faurot Field" is because Faurot's selection of Frank Broyles and then Devine as head football coaches. Both followed the Old Master of Ol' Mizzou into the college Hall of Fame.

Broyles earned it at Arkansas after a one-season head start at Missouri. Devine in the '60s achieved the nation's winningest record with no season of more than three defeats.

Devine, like Faurot before him, achieved a conference stature that has gone downhill in the subsequent 23 seasons, climaxed by an ugly 8-27 Big Eight record under Bob Stull.

Stull became the first Missouri football coach ever with five successive losing seasons.

So there will be regrets, but no tears that the coach was asked to step down after an embarrassing shutout loss at Kansas at a time a team that loved him played its poorest. That made 16 consecutive defeats away from Faurot Field.

That atrocious road record and lackadaisical loss at Lawrence apparently were decisive to an otherwise sympathetic judge, Devine.

Stull parachuted into an assistant athletic director's job. The man's noble spirit and personal standards should be welcome wherever he speaks, just as anticipated relaxed academic requirements should make recruiting easier for his successor. …

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