Wofford Coaching Search

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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby SmallTownTerrier on Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:49 am

Eyes of Old Main... I am grinning ear to ear reading your post... Things do work a little different... I don’t think a lot of people get it, but they just do... Lets keep this thing rolling... I’ve loved the last two years... We can have another one next year too!
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby Ruckus on Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:33 am

+1, Eyes. I am right there with you.
While I don’t necessarily think Ayers should unilaterally get to pick his successor, his preference should be given due regard.
What I think is most persuasive is the trajectory and level of success Ayers and his staff achieved over the years and where the program is now. Why in the world would we upset the apple cart now when we have a nationally elite program? Whether it’s WL or others from the current or past staffs, why would we want to mess with OUR recipe for success? Add in WL (or other staff) is a Wofford man and has done a great job and is a high character, universally liked (as best I can tell) guy, it seems to me to be a no brainer, at least for a 3-5 year window. If it doesn’t work out, then reshuffle the deck and look outside the program.
Although not my initial preference, I am ok with an outside hire but there needs to be some real experience and understanding of our challenges and culture.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby WocoSix on Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:06 am

I see some references in others post in regards to the "Wofford Way". Would some one please enlighten me on some of the challenges, culture, how "things" work differently, etc?
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby Oak Grove on Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:14 pm

From a football standpoint, a major tenet of the "Wofford Way" has always been doing more with less--that is, maximizing our circumstances and our resources to get the absolute most out of our program both on the field and in the classroom.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby Ruckus on Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:58 pm

Wofford Way: very low budget, academically demanding with no easy courses or majors with faculty who treat athletes no different than other students (some disfavorably actually), no athletic dorms, no training table, demanding academic workloads/labs/schedule which require superb skills in time management, high admission stds, an atmosphere that values students being active engaged members of the campus community at large, an expectation that student athletes will be good citizens and not distractions, an atmosphere which values service and selflessness where the sum of the parts are greater than the individual, an atmosphere which does not foster anonymity or single mindedness but participation, sharing and multiple talents, discipline on and off the field, an atmosphere which values many values above winning games but providing no excuses for losses, a small fan base, a relatively disinterested community, 2 large programs which overshadow anything related to Wofford.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby crabbyterrier on Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:41 pm

Ruckus wrote:Wofford Way: very low budget, academically demanding with no easy courses or majors with faculty who treat athletes no different than other students (some disfavorably actually), no athletic dorms, no training table, demanding academic workloads/labs/schedule which require superb skills in time management, high admission stds, an atmosphere that values students being active engaged members of the campus community at large, an expectation that student athletes will be good citizens and not distractions, an atmosphere which values service and selflessness where the sum of the parts are greater than the individual, an atmosphere which does not foster anonymity or single mindedness but participation, sharing and multiple talents, discipline on and off the field, an atmosphere which values many values above winning games but providing no excuses for losses, a small fan base, a relatively disinterested community, 2 large programs which overshadow anything related to Wofford.



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Very well said Ruck!!!
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby SmallTownTerrier on Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:06 pm

+1 Ruck... It’s a 4 for 40 investment.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby lawdog on Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:05 pm

I would add, a sense of fair play and courtesy where others are treated with respect. It should be said that it appears to me there have been great strides in treating all with respect without regard to race, sex and creed since I graduated in the early 70s; I saw some things then that needed to change, and they have.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby WocoSix on Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:59 pm

So what I am hearing from the "Wofford Way" posters is ...
"You like enrollment under 2K"
"You like being low budget but still wanting high budget program success"
"Athletes should be eating Pizza, Wings, Fries, and Chicken fingers with the rest of the students. Heck what athlete needs a training table"
"You like to keep the NCAA regulatory rules when it comes to attaining a degree but you want our athletes to be chemistry and physics majors"
"You would like for the Athlete to keep his/her home training when away at school"
"You like coaching staffs having to go all over campus to monitor athletes. Instead of a central location"
"You like a half empty stadium with a small fan base"
"You don't want the surrounding community interested in Wofford"
"Have our athletes to give up practice, weight lifting, film study, and game times to help the campus social activities council"

I'm sure Ruckus knows I am being light hearted when posting this. But in a nutshell this is how I perceived your description.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby dude on Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:40 pm

I'm pretty familiar with the old "there's a right way, there's a wrong way, there's a Wofford way" approach. And I can say that Wofford has changed a great deal in more recent times. In some ways, Wofford has "grown up" for the better. There are great programs and facilities at Wofford nowadays that surely benefit students a great deal. Meanwhile, the college has probably had to evolve in some ways out of necessity (being a small liberal arts college -- private and pricey -- isn't the easiest game around). But, some changes in the culture of Wofford have been quite unfortunate, in my opinion (and nothing to do with the political stuff on campuses that gets so much play in the media....more a matter of Wofford-centric -- yes, "Wofford Way" -- kinds of things).

On the athletics side, I think the college has obviously stepped things way, way up. No question. And, for the most part, I'd say the program seems to have retained much of its sense of continuity and community. It's pretty impressive, overall. In any case, whether you have concern for traditions and campus mores, your list....

I'd say some of what is there is stuff that is worth holding on to. Some is just being realistic. Some is maybe both.

-For example, I'd rather not see Wofford build an athletes-only dining hall. By the way, they have plenty of food options beyond pizza and wings in Burwell.
-I think Wofford would be smart to keep enrollment under 2,000 -- at least for the foreseeable future.
-More fan support at football games would be great, but with Clemson and USC playing on Saturdays, it's smart to be realistic....right?
-I would say that I VERY MUCH think it's just fine for assistant coaches to have be out and about on campus to meet, monitor, visit with players -- rather than hunkered down in an athletics-only zone.
-Pretty sure that athletes aren't giving up practice time for much social frivolity -- but if they're allowed to join fraternities and clubs and so on and make friends outside of sports, I would think that's a positive.

Anyway, regardless of some of the particulars, I figure Mike Ayers understands the "Wofford Way" about as well as anyone -- and has developed great success within that culture. With that in mind, his recommendation of Wade Lang is difficult for me to ignore.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby WocoSix on Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:47 pm

Ok we all have our preferences and opinions. But i dont understand why you wouldn't want enrollment expansion? Seems it would build up the Spartanburg community(adding more professionals), bring revenue to the school, and provide educational opportunities for ALL youth in the area. As for the whole Clemson and USC reference. I don't think they are the reason for poor attendance and lack of surrounding community support. I think Wofford has built an elitists environment surrounded by a community of people who are everyday common folk. Why would you expect local families to support a neighboring school that the majority of Dorman, Byrnes, and Spartanburg High school kids could not gain acceptance or the family couldn't afford. On gameday Saturday I see most people attending the local HS events and youth at the malls (I am always an outsider coming to town). I just hope whomever the new coach is bridges the gap between the college and the community.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby youngterrier on Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:52 pm

Eh, Wofford's not going to expand. We're kind of boxed in geographically. Even if we did expand, if we hypothetically doubled (again, won't happen), we'd still be pretty small (3.2k). I talked to president Samhat about this a couple years ago when we had another big class and we couldn't support the students we admitted via housing (there was a small number of students that had to live 3 to one dorm room), there was no hint that any expansion was in the plan, and even a bit of cutting back was in the works.

If you look at the strategic vision the college released a couple years ago, most of it emphasized shuffling (my word, not the administration's) academics and building facilities. By shuffling, I mean, keeping what we did well (sciences probably being the core competency) and improving on our weaknesses (namely, our arts programs had been underfunded) and experimenting with new educational programs (like living/learning communities).

Anyway, in the context of the coaching search and this overall conversation, there's a lot more panic here than there should be. I remember someone said in either this thread or in a prior thread that the administration is trying to recruit more yankees and northeastern people, even when you break down the demographics of the student body of the most recent freshman class, it's just empirically not the case (and if they are trying to do that, they are doing a very bad job of it).

My point is, I think many Wofford grads pride ourselves on things that are either a given or just, quite frankly, will not be changed if someone outside of Wofford is hired. The administration isn't going to willfully hire someone they think will let the athletes slack off on academics, for instance, and the school campus is so small that having athletes closed off (and hiring a coach with that expectation) would be a colossal waste of money in multiple ways I don't care to list.

So, I understand the preferences that people have listed in this thread, but I think there are systemic reasons why a lot of those preferences would be fulfilled by anyone.

There are excellent reasons to hire on staff and to hire someone who has experience at Wofford (of which I agree and have asserted as much multiple times), but unfortunately I don't think that's what a lot of these justification are.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby youngterrier on Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:55 pm

Also, Wofford's community engagement problem when it comes to athletics is complicated, likely not any individual person's fault (a coaching hire won't fix it, that's for sure), and is most ways out of Wofford's control (it's common at all but a handful of FCS schools).
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby dude on Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:59 pm

Yeah, adding a bunch of new students isn't as simple as, for example, a restaurant adding an additional room and another cook to accommodate another 75 customers. Actually, that is not a bad analogy -- but bringing in new students is way more involved: new dorms, expanding the cafeteria, bringing in more faculty members. I'd like to see Wofford be able to offer opportunities for local kids, but if the admission standards are lowered significantly, then that can present a whole bunch of challenges. And, yeah, there is the matter of Wofford's "brand" as a top-flight school academically.

I don't disagree that there is some perception of Wofford in town as being elitist and not thoroughly connected to the wider community. I think the athletic program has made some in-roads on that front, but it's still an issue. I'll just say -- the price of tickets to football games could be a substantial barrier for many families. I guess there are probably discounts and other ways to get tickets cheaper -- but, man, full price for tickets is going to be high for a lot of folks.

Still, I don't think there's much question that the focus people have on Clemson and USC makes it tougher for Wofford really attract a committed fan-base beyond alumni and longtime loyalists.
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Re: Wofford Coaching Search

Postby youngterrier on Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:10 pm

Wofford's problem with attracting local interest for sports is 80% to do with USC/Clemson.

tuition is rising at what seems to be an exponential rate and quite frankly the college is positioning itself to compete for students in the region, not in Spartanburg county. There's a lot in the strategic vision committed to engaging more with the community, but there are limits to how much interest can be reciprocated.
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