- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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This year Roach has put his nimble mind to the problem of how to keep Wyoming football coaches from making Laramie just a quick cup of coffee en route to full-course meals elsewhere. Fred Akers, now at Purdue, spent only two seasons with the Cowboys in the mid-1970s before leaving for Texas; Pat Dye was the Wyoming coach for just one season before taking over at Auburn in 1981. And Dennis Erickson fulfilled a measly 13 months of his five-year contract before bolting for Washington State last January.
First, Roach, 59, who was once Wyoming's offensive coordinator, had to find another football coach. He considered applicants from around the country before finding his man staring back at him from the bathroom mirror one morning.
The next thing he did was put a novel clause in his contract (and that of basketball coach Benny Dees as well) stipulating that if a coach decides to leave after only one season, he must pay the school $100,000, and if he leaves after two years, $50,000. Says Roach, "I decided we needed to be a little creative to assure some continuity in the program. I wouldn't be surprised to see some other schools do something along these lines so some of these guys can't walk so quick."
Quickness was among the attributes Wyoming lacked while getting bashed 43-28 Saturday by Erickson's mediocre Cougars. Among the lowlights for Wyoming was a six-minute stretch in the second quarter when Washington State scored four touchdowns. No wonder Erickson gloated, "There are people who thought I wasn't too bright when they heard my professional goal was to be the head coach at Washington State."
Meanwhile Roach, whom nobody accuses of being a dim bulb, is curious to see how long the new football coach stays on. Unless the scores force athletic director Roach to can coach Roach, he thinks it will be awhile—because, he says, "Ol' Paul is a dependable guy." And a financially prudent one.
WAY OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE
A fortnight ago, Cal State-Fullerton was beaten 44-0 by Hawaii, a team nobody accuses of being a power. Then last week the Titans lost 56-12 to LSU, as the potent Tigers scored on their first seven possessions.
Said Fullerton coach Gene Murphy, "I told the players if they want to quit, they can pick up their scholarship money and leave, and we can call off the season. Nobody said he wanted to quit." But what were they thinking in their hearts?
And another question remains: Why schedule the likes of LSU and subject young men to the humiliation of such a predictable defeat? That Cal State-Fullerton received a $200,000 "fodder fee" isn't a fit answer. Maybe Murphy had a better one. "I'm Irish and people say I have extensive hail damage in the attic," he said.
KING OF THE HILL