Carousel moving forward for coaches, sports writers


Danny P Smith



Sometimes the coaching carousel in college football can spin out of control.


In just one week, the University of Tennessee lost head coach Lane Kiffin, was turned down twice, and hired Derek Dooley.


The Volunteers found an abrupt change can make for a very uncomfortable situation.



When Kiffin left after one year to replace Pete Carroll at the University of Southern California, it sent a shock wave throughout the Tennessee campus.


Members of the Tennessee student body took Kiffin''s departure personally and demonstrated their displeasure with violence in the streets.


Kiffin didn''t handle the transition very well, but he felt the call to return to the West Coast.


Other high-profile moves have upset fans and made others happy. Most football fans recall when Nick Saban told everyone he wasn''t interested in leaving the Miami Dolphins for the University of Alabama. He went to Alabama a short time later.


Saban''s decision has worked out for the Crimson Tide, who earlier this month beat the University of Texas in the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.


Changes are everywhere, even at Mississippi State.


MSU coach Dan Mullen has replaced defensive coordinator Carl Torbush and defensive line coach David Turner with Manny Diaz and Chris Wilson. The latter two men will be co-defensive coordinators, with Diaz primarily working with linebackers and Wilson focusing on the defensive line.


It appears Mullen has made good hires with Diaz and Wilson, but only time will tell.


Making a change can be difficult. When it comes to leaving friends and co-workers you''ve come to love and to respect through the years, it can make for a tough situation.


As much as Torbush welcomed the opportunity to be a part of Turner Gill''s staff at Kansas and Turner at Kentucky, part of them probably wishes they could have remained at MSU.


Those are some of the same feelings I have experienced.


Wednesday was my last day as a member of The Commercial Dispatch sports staff. My 15-year tenure was a wonderful experience.


I established many relationships at The Dispatch that will last forever. I appreciate all of the co-workers (past and present), coaches, players, and administrators who made my time at the newspaper one to remember.


Without a doubt, my most rewarding moment was when MSU''s men''s basketball team made its remarkable run to the 1996 NCAA Final Four and I went along for the ride. The stops in Indianapolis and Lexington, Ky., for the regionals, then New York for the Final Four was a whirlwind experience for three consecutive weekends.


It was a busy time because following a team good enough to make the Final Four was an awesome responsibility, but it was something I enjoyed and will never forget.


Even though I might still see some of you from time to time, please know there will always be a special place in my heart for this community and The Dispatch.


Good luck and God bless.



Danny P. Smith spent 15 years covering Mississippi State sports for The Commercial Dispatch, the past 10 years as assistant sports editor.




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