The fact that Baylor has run out of patience with coach Guy Morriss after five losing seasons and an overall record of 18-38 (heading into Saturday's game against Oklahoma) is not surprising. With his contract close to expiring, Baylor either needs to commit long-term to Morriss -- who will leave the program in much better shape than he found it -- or go in a new direction. They've chosen Door No. 2, which should lead to the homecoming of former Baylor standout Mike Singletary as the Bears' new football coach. He's currently on the staff of the San Francisco 49ers.
The lingering question: Can Singletary, a relative coaching neophyte who has never coached at the college level, handle all the recruiting/staffing responsibilities that comes with a major-college job in the Big 12? If he's half the coach that he was a player, he'll be a success. If he's half the coach that he is a human being, the same is true. Singletary remains one of the most impressive individuals I've ever met, in any walk of life. He's got the football knowledge and temperament to be a star in the coaching profession.
But if he coaches and recruits like a guy learning the ropes at the college level, that's a recipe for disaster. The college game is different from the NFL and that can be a tricky transition. The next Baylor coach, whatever his name, will be fighting an uphill battle and the school can't afford to have another coach learning -- and floundering -- as he goes (Does the name Kevin Steele ring any bells?).
Bottom line: Singletary is worth a shot because he'll unify and energize the Baylor fan base -- at least until his first loss. After that, he'll have to win and lose games based on his coaching and recruiting abilities. For Baylor, the biggest issue will be recruiting. And we've got no idea, at this point, how well Singletary can recruit.
If his skills in that area aren't as sharp as his linebacking skills from yesteryear, don't be surprised if Baylor fans are sitting here five years from now, looking for yet another new coach after yet another failed coaching era.
- Jimmy Burch