The 2012 Kentucky football season is over but the excitement is just starting. Kentucky fans have a coaching search to talk about for the first time since Guy Morris was allowed to walk. Speculation has been rampant for months but has hit a fever pitch following Joker’s dismissal and the season ending. As I write this rumors are swirling that the next head coach at UK will be announced no later than Tuesday. It’s a rumor that makes sense, Mitch waiting until Joker finished the season before making an announcement. But it could all be people guessing.
Of course, certain web-sites have been adamant that no coach has been offered the job yet. Thus making it unlikely that a new coach has already been hired. Hopefully this isn’t the case, as Barnhart has had a 3-week headstart on the rest of the field and it would be almost criminal if he sat in his office doing nothing. But Nero fiddled while Rome burned. The university has said the same thing a few times but the reality is that UK will deny everything until they call a press conference to introduce the new coach. There is no good reason to show your hand if you are Mitch and even someone leery of him as I am can understand that.
So in a couple of days we may have a new football coach. With that will come hope, if not necessarily excitement. We will get to watch what happens with a new staffs ability to recruit, so the next 2 months will continue to be interesting for UK football fans. Perhaps the spring game will get some more interest from fans.
Anyone who has seen me in forums or on Twitter knows that I have been a Petrino supporter since the job became available and Petrino was rumored to be interested. I still think he is the best option available for Kentucky this year and would be ecstatic if he would hired. However I have no clue if he is truly interested and I highly doubt Barnhart would him, even if he was. If the hire isn’t made, we likely will never know if he had any serious interest in the job, so saying you will or won’t support the program based on whether Petrino is coaching makes little sense.
I like Petrino because it would be a clear and decisive statement from UK that they are serious about competing at football. That what I want. I am football-commitment-or-bust. I want to see UK go out and hire a coach who is a proven commodity. Not necessarily the “home-run” hire but a serious attempt. Pay his assistants well. Stop being the cheapest football school in the SEC. Then secure funding for upgrades to facilities from the state. Promote the Spring game. Just TRY to be good at football.
So whether or not I agree with the next coaching hire, I pledge to support him in trying to build a good football program at Kentucky. I will anxiously await to see how the boonding issue and spring game are handled. Kentucky has been bad at football for 60 years, it can’t just be poor coaches for that long. It’s time for UK to change how they handle football and if that doesn’t happen, then as fans we have to choose. We can accept it like we always have, we can fight for what we love or we can find another team to watch on Saturdays.