Coach J.D. Brookhart does not need my support, but I feel it is necessary to explain my opinions to rebut his critics.
To clarify, I am a critic, too. I think the personnel decisions and defensive scheme are major problems. However, here are 10 reasons to keep him for 2009 (in reverse order of importance).
10) Fixing problems -- When Brookhart identifies a problem, he fixes it. The special teams were atrocious in 2006. Brookhart took over, and it became an asset. Team discipline was embarrassing. Brookhart told several players to leave the program, and it seemed to trigger a culture change. The defense has been a glaring problem, and that is why Rhoades should demand changes. Brookhart has the ability to effect change.
9) Losing recruits -- Akron only has a handful of 2009 commitments as of today, but the Zips coaches have put in hours upon hours of visits and phone calls. You axe Brookhart, and that money and time has been wasted. Many of Akron's current verbal commitments will decommit. Those on the fence will lean the opposite direction.
8 ) Transfers -- On top of a wealth of recruiting coups, Brookhart has lured a lot of talented transfers. For example,
Ryan Bain would have made a big difference this season. Akron might not miss a step next season at running back with
Dale Martin from Louisville. Before his injury,
Andrew Johnson was a stud.
Luke Getsy won the Zips a MAC Championship. The list goes on.
7) The prospects of finding a desirable replacement -- Bowling Green and Miami fired their coaches.
Tom Amstutz is out at Toledo. Buffalo's
Turner Gill will move up soon. There are three hot coaching candidates in the MAC West, who could find themselves at BCS conferences soon, too. That means there are potentially seven coaching vacancies in the MAC alone. Akron would be competing with each. And save the "new stadium" rhetoric for someone who cares. A new coach would mostly care about the dollar figure. At Akron, coaching salaries typically lag behind other MAC teams.
6) The cost of finding a replacement -- It costs $150,000 to find a replacement, according to
Mack Rhoades. With Northeast Ohio's economy so crummy, can anyone justify that for a team that loses millions of dollars per year -- win or lose?
5) The cost of paying the rest of Brookhart's contract -- He makes $180,000 a year. He has two years remaining on his contract. Akron would have to swallow an additional $360,000 to hire a new coach.
4) MAC Championship -- There are 13 teams in the MAC. Only one wins the conference championship every year. Brookhart did that in 2005 -- just three seasons ago. You can say it was a fluke or that he did it with
Lee Owens' recruits. Conceding that, it was still further than Akron had ever reached.
3) Recruiting -- How quickly we forget that Akron has consistently reeled in recruiting classes at the top of the conference. Sure, the first couple classes had low retention rates, but the recent ones have been superb. For the next two years, you will witness Akron's depth on both lines, in the secondary, at receiver and running back. The Zips will be good. Believe that. Are you willing to rely on another recruiter to achieve that level?
2) New stadium -- Next season is extremely important. The Zips must be successful to fully capitalize off InfoCision Stadium and build a fanbase. There are always exceptions to this rule, but generally, new coaches require time for adjustment.
1) Rivalry games -- Brookhart has beaten Kent State four out of five times. Enough said.
to Eastern Kentucky tonight.
As I expected, the more experienced Colonels took advantage Akron. The Zips lost the rebounding battle, 32-22. They committed 18 turnovers.
The most impressive stat of the night was attendance:
. Can someone please explain the purpose of participating in this bush league tournament where you play at some neutral floor in New Jersey in front of friends and family?
Keep in mind, the Zips play at 2 p.m. today.
I have a feeling that a win will bring the action back to Lee Jackson Field. The NCAA heard Zips fans loud and clear.