I thought Bobby Bowden would be the most ridiculous suggestion anyone heard to replace Joker Phillips at Kentucky, but I was wrong. Someone who shall remain nameless said to me “ You know, Kentucky fans just want someone to score big and win. They should bring Hal Mumme back.” I was truly dumb-founded. I googled Mumme on my phone so I could throw some numbers out and realized there are actually people who want Mumme or Mumme-disciples back in Lexington.
Just look at some of the popular names floating around the coaching search. Mike Leach is a former Mumme assistant at UK. Ditto for Sonny Dykes. Neal Brown is a former Mumme player who runs a variation of Leach’s offense at Texas Tech. All of these guys have the same thing in common: the Air-Raid offense. I’ve noted many times before that Kentucky fans hate to run the ball, ever. Four incomplete passes excite them more than a 20-yard run. So the idea of a “fast-break on turf” at a basketball school make sense.
The only problem with that is that we’ve tried it, and it didn’t really work that well. Hal Mumme finished his career at Kentucky with a record of 20-26. He went 5-6, 7-5, 6-6 and 2-9 during his tenure. Mumme had a future #1 overall draft pick at quarterback in Tim Couch and still never only managed 1 winning season. Not to mention the fact that Mumme and his staff left Kentucky with crippling NCAA sanctions due to 36 recruiting violations that were uncovered. The coaches were caught giving money to recruits, most of which never came to Lexington anyway. Mumme went on to several low-profile jobs and his losing ways have continued after leaving UK.
So why would anyone want this man or his underlings back on the sidelines at Commonwealth stadium? Now you can say that none of the coaches specifically named in the recruiting violations and you can’t hold Brown accountable as a player during the Mumme era, but the system doesn’t work in the SEC. Especially without a Heisman candidate at QB (they went 2-9). Hopefully wins are what Mitch Barnhart has in mind during this process. This writer personally doesn’t care if Kentucky wins 3-0 every week, so long as they are winning.