Todd Dodge has Austin Westlake in the state semifinals playing against Allen December 12 in Waco.
I know we bemoan his tenure here and how he set us back, but he gave us some great players for our 2013 and was a good ambassador for the university. Some guys just aren't suited to be college football coaches....
Has anyone thought about the irony of SMU hiring former high school coach Chad Morris and our hiring of Todd Dodge back 9 years ago?
In familiarizing myself with Morris and the direction he intends to take in the SMU rebuilding project, I took in some videos and articles around his introduction to the SMU community and the media in general.
I swear to you, you could have taken clips and sound bytes from 9 years ago when Dodge was announced as HC at UNT and matched them up exactly with the Morris talking points.
"I'm a Texas high school coach first and proud of it" or "We've had 100's of area high school coaches sending me texts" or "We open our arms to all of the high school staffs to be a part of this" or "I have an obligation to represent the Texas High School Coaches" etc etc...
Make no mistake, there is a lot in common in what SMU AD Rick Hart is trying to do now compared to what UNT AD Rick Villarreal was trying to do almost a decade ago.
And honestly, there are some differences. Morris was a heralded college assistant at Clemson and one of the highest paid in the country. Dodge had a quick cup of coffee as an assistant at North Texas before going back into the high school arena. Morris is making reportedly $2+ million a year at SMU and Dodge was making $331,448 a year at UNT. Morris has assembled a very impressive staff with college experience, including recruiting guru Van Malone as well as some young assistants he worked with at Clemson. Dodge brought in mostly high school assistants from Southlake Carroll.
I have to say, it's hard not to be impressed with Morris. He is an extremely passionate speaker, and by all accounts very personable and intelligent with a math degree from A&M. He has stated very clearly that it will take all of SMU, including faculty, students and alumni to get the program where they want it to be.
But I also find it interesting that he says the reason he took the SMU job was to "get back to my roots" and it was "just a great fit"... come on Chad, SMU gave you a $1+ Million dollar raise and set up your family for life... not that he didn't already have a nice paycheck at Clemson but - let's be honest - the money played a pretty significant role in getting him back here. Let's just say I don't think he would be taking $331,448 a year to rebuild the Ponies.
That said, I do think Morris will do good things at SMU. It's a good academic school that has a lot of tradition and it's sitting in huge city and plethora of good recruiting prospects.
As a UNT fan you are constantly plagued with the "what ifs". What if we had forced Dodge to hire college assistants? Did he stipulate that he had to remain loyal to his high school staff? Or was our budget such that we we're ok with him bringing in guys who would not command a lot of money? Or was it a mixture of both? What if he had been given more direction and support from coaches with college experience who knew the ropes?
Since UNT has a 20-year or whatever contract with SMU, we will get to watch what Morris is able to accomplish on the field of play. We will get to see how the recruiting picks up and how his uptempo offense and blitzing defense fairs as the years go by.
Other than our game with SMU, I wish their program well. They have the same challenges all of us non p5's face. I do think Morris can do some really good things there. But, every time I look at or hear Morris speak it will remind me of the opportunity we lost with the Todd Dodge hire. A hire and direction which BTW many of us (including myself) were 100% behind at the time.