By Rixon Lane
As Gamecock fans clamor for a certain defensive-minded coach from Florida, the idea of creating a "head-coach-in-waiting" has been floated around.
This is certainly not a new concept, but it has never (publicly) been done at South Carolina. There's also the tiny detail of Will Muschamp not being employed by the Gamecocks at this time. However, let's overlook that and assume that Muschamp winds up in Columbia.
Here would be a few pros and cons of naming Will Muschamp as South Carolina's "head-coach-in-waiting."
1. Creates continuity on the staff after Spurrier leaves.
Let's be realistic, Steve Spurrier won't be around forever. The Head Ball Coach is eventually going to put down his play chart and pick up his nine-iron and head to the golf courses. When that happens, a head-coach-in-waiting would eliminate the panic of a coaching search and would smooth the transition between head coaches, since Muschamp will have already been on staff.
2. Muschamp gets to ingratiate himself with the staff.
Instead of bringing in a head coach from off-campus who knows little-to-nothing about the area or the program's climate, Muschamp would d be able to spend a few seasons getting to know about the daily life of a South Carolina football coach without the pressures of running the program. Then, when he took the job, he'd be more prepared, having seen Spurrier deal with it every day.
3. Assures South Carolina gets someone with SEC experience
Coaches don't typically bounce around one particular conference. Having Muschamp on the sideline would mean having another coach who has been part of the SEC grind and knows what to expect as a head coach in this conference. South Carolina wouldn't have to bring in someone who is new to the league.
1. This system rarely works
The HCIW process can get very messy and sometimes ugly. Bill Stewart asked a reporter to dig up dirt on his HCIW, Dana Holgorsen, at West Virginia. Ralph Friedgen wouldn't leave Maryland and James Franklin got tired of waiting. Muschamp himself bolted from Texas when Mack Brown took too long to retire. Even Jimbo Fisher had to sit through a lengthy and uncomfortable decline with Bobby Bowden. History says this could go poorly.
2. Muschamp failed at Florida
Blame it on a lack of offense, port quarterback play, or whatever you want, but Will Muschamp was unsuccessful as Florida's head coach. While he has proven himself to be a fantastic defensive coordinator, he has no track record as an HC that inspires confidence. Does South Carolina want to risk looking for a new coach in four years?
3. You never know who might be out there
It's unlikely that a proven winner will be available whenever Spurrier decides to retire, but no one knows for sure. Urban Meyer was sitting around when Ohio State suddenly needed a new head coach and Nick Saban was looking to get out of the NFL right when Alabama came calling. Naming an HCIW could mean missing out on a bigger, more established name.
Ultimately, there are still a lot of questions about the direction of the Gamecock program. Currently, Will Muschamp is not the answer because he is not at South Carolina.
But it sure will be fun to see what happens.