Dear Larry Coker,
I’m sorry it’s come to this. You’re such a nice guy. I know Butch liked you, and Dorsey and Reed basically begged us to hire you as the new head coach. Who can blame them? You’re like a kindly old grandfather who could never hurt a fly. You would never get mad at anyone. That’s what makes this so hard, but at the same time, so inevitable. Football coaches don’t need to be nice – they need to be respected (see: Davis, Butch and Johnson, Jimmy).
Perhaps part of the problem is that as your predecessor’s recruits started graduating and heading to the NFL, your team started losing more and more. The ’02 Fiesta Bowl “loss” is somewhat forgiven, considering the way that game ended. But then, in the very next game, you needed a Gator transfer to help overcome a huge second half deficit and beat his old teammates. After that came way-too-close calls against then-upstart Louisville and West Virginia squads, a blowout loss at the hands of Va. Tech, and the topper, a home loss to Tennessee. Maybe you didn’t get the memo, Lar, but the Canes don’t lose in the Orange Bowl.
The ’03 season alone should have been enough to can you. The offense, your specialty, was anemic at best, and that trend has only worsened in the last few years. It was supposed to be better this year, when after a pair of three loss seasons, you saved your own butt by kicking your staff to the curb and bringing in a new Offensive Coordinator. Rich Olson was supposed to bring the O back to the Dorsey days, with big plays galore. Kyle Wright was supposed to finally live up to all the hype and throw for 100 touchdowns.
Now here we are, sitting at 5-6, highlighted by losses to our two biggest conference rivals, where our defense looked All-World and our offense had Canes fans longing for the days of Brock Berlin – or hell, even Derek Crudup. You continue to have blind faith in your mediocre quarterback who just made his twenty first – twenty first! – start, and who has never done much of note. You have apparently lost the respect – or at least the attention – of a lot of your players. Alumni have told me that when you’re lecturing them during timeouts on the sidelines, your guys are smiling and waving to their friends in the stands and generally ignoring you. And that’s why you’ve got to go, Larry. It’s nothing personal – you’re still welcome for Thanksgiving. Just please don’t make me watch football with you.
Patrick Gibbons is a senior majoring in political science and communications. He was really hoping for a good season this year. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org