Wake Beat: Coaching (G)Rumors

Note to our readers: Inside The ACC is pleased to welcome former Wake Forest offensive guard Michael Hoag as our new “Wake Beat” blogger! Michael’s work will be appearing here each week.

The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy in regards to all of the grumors surrounding coaching changes.  I can’t help but call them grumors because I am currently living in Knoxville, TN, where one of the biggest coaching rumors recently spread through this town like wild fire. After firing Derek Dooley, Volunteer fans got enamored with the thought of luring former NFL coach John Gruden away from his cushy spot in the ESPN booth. New updates came each day and fans coined them “grumors.”

The local news even joined in on the act by actually publishing the word grumors in the local paper.  College football has taken society by storm since the internet revolution and the storm has only grown stronger with increasing coaches’ salaries.  I felt it was necessary to preface why I used the word grumors in the title, but now it’s time to get to the real purpose behind this post: who the heck is starting all of these rumors??

There were many high profile jobs open after this season ended and, as soon as the bidding wars (no need to sugar coat it) for these coaches began, the rumor mill started churning grumors out.  Charlie Strong to Auburn, Jon Gruden to Tennessee, Bob Diaco to Boston College, Butch Jones to Cincinnati, Charlie Strong to Tennessee, Butch Jones to Purdue, and so on and so forth.  Where the heck have all of these rumors come from?  I’m almost convinced that the media reads the message boards on the schools’ fan sites and takes their words as fact. Even ESPN has been way wrong on some of these coaching hires.

Maybe I am simple minded, but I just do not understand how news publications can be so wrong on some of this.  Let’s take the Boston College hire for instance; the Eagles hired Steve Addazio as their new coach this week. The same day he was hired ESPN reported that AD Brad Bates had the search narrowed down to three candidates: Pete Lembo (Ball State HC), Aaron Kromer (New Orleans Saints OL), and Bob Diaco (Notre Dame DC).  How can ESPN, arguably the largest sports network in the world, be so off base with their rumor?

The fans are influencing the media in some of these cases. Living in Knoxville right now is hysterical. You can’t go one day without hearing at least ten people reference the Tennessee job.  After hearing that Charlie Strong was out, fans were convinced they still had a shot at Gruden.  Some have even resorted to the, “Hell, just bring Phil Fulmer back” mentality.

Wake Forest even got a little taste of the rumor mill frenzy this off-season.  The boards went haywire and “caught wind” of a players only meeting and a press conference to follow. The speculation had grown so large that even local media outlets were calling the sports information department to investigate the mythical press conference. That type of stuff never happens at Wake, I mean NEVER!  The grumor game has gotten serious when Wake Forest has media calling about the Deacon grumors (p.s. – I think grumor has permanently taken the place of the word rumor in my vocabulary).

College football has truly become a professional sport. The athletes are paid in tuition and the coaches make more than the top administrators at their school.  Anytime the coaches are making that much money the fan base is going to have heightened expectations; hence the message board, newspaper, Twitter, facebook, ESPN, and talk radio rumor explosion over the last few weeks.

I guess I don’t mind all of the attention given to these coaching changes, but the main thing I want to see is the media getting it right.  Too many of these reports have had predictions on who will be the next coach and they could not be more wrong.  It drives me crazy.  I know it has to be killing the players who are affected by this.

I was involved in some of this as a Wake Forest player, when rumors swirled about head coach Jim Grobe leaving for Arkansas. I had just finished up my freshman year and my mind was in a thousand places.  People often lose sight of the fact that these rumors have an effect on the players and people involved with all of these coaches being named.

That was quite a tangent to go on for my first post, but I felt it was appropriate considering the landscape of college football this year.  The stakes are high and getting it right is coming with a higher price tag than ever.  Fans better hope these Athletic Directors and/or search committees aren’t listening to all the grumors out there, but instead relying on the instincts and sound decision making that led them to their current posts.  Otherwise their program might be in the middle of a costly buyout a few years down the road.  Just ask Tennessee how that is working out for them.

This post was on my mind because of all the rumors starting at Wake Forest a few weeks ago but has since expanded nationally. I promise my next post will have more to do with Wake Forest.


Michael Hoag played football for Wake Forest from 2007-2011, wearing #75, and was the starting right guard in his final 23 games as a Demon Deacon.  He is currently a part-time sideline reporter for Wake Forest football radio broadcasts. He is an avid sports fan cheering for the St. Louis Rams, the Chicago Cubs, and the Chicago Bulls.  Michael’s favorite Wake Forest moment was beating #23 Florida State in 2011 at BB&T Field 35-30, especially since he was on the cover of that game program. He says the best player he’s ever played against was Luke Kuechly from Boston College.  For more commentary, follow Michael on his personal blog awakethesideline.com, and on Twitter at @Michaelhoag23.

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