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A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

Luck Stays in the Picture at Stanford

Andrew Luck will continue to hold a major position in Stanford’s offense, albeit in name only, not in action. Yesterday, Stanford announced that an unnamed donor endowed the university with an unnamed sum – think of one integer followed by several zeroes – to turn the pedestrian title of “offensive coordinator” into the “Andrew Luck Director of Offense.” With this, Stanford has endowed two positions on the football staff: David Shaw is more than just Stanford’s head coach; he’s the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football. Freeman, who earned his undergraduate degree in Palo Alto, was not a Heisman finalist.

You feel a bit for Brett Nottingham, Josh Nunes and the other Stanford quarterbacks battling for the newly-opened starting job at quarterback – they just can’t escape Luck’s shadow. Not that the unnamed donor wasn’t onto something: If you’re going to endow a title in anyone’s name, why not the greatest player in program history?

Meet Pep Hamilton, the Andrew Luck Director of Offense. He’ll have that title to lord over his fellow assistants, such as Derek Mason, who’s just a plain-old defensive coordinator. That’s so… normal. And while Stanford’s endowment ranks among the highest in the nation, I doubt that some intrepid alum is going to donate enough money to lead Stanford to chair the “Braden Beck Director of Special Teams.”

Just based off of my knowledge, Boston College is the only other F.B.S. program to endow a coaching position. Frank Spaziani is the Gregory P. Barber & Family Head Coach, which makes his role as one of the architects of that program’s recent decline a little classier.

But as noted by Pete Roussel of the great CoachingSearch.com, this is a fairly common occurrence in the Ivy League. At Cornell, Dick Biddle sits in the Fred and Marilyn Dunlap Endowed Coaching Chair for Football. At Cornell, Kent Austin – the former Mississippi assistant – is the Roger J. Weiss Head Coach of Football. Harvard’s Tim Murphy is the Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football.

Princeton’s Bob Surace is the Charles W. Caldwell Jr. Head coach of Football. And at Yale, Tony Reno is the Joel E. Smilow Head Coach of Football. So it’s not just limited to two private F.B.S. universities, Stanford and B.C., but also a good portion of the Ivy League. Would the Eagles go undefeated in Ivy League play? I’d hope so.

Maybe this is the start of a new move in athletic department fundraising. Want to have your name forever identified with U.S.C. football? Then you better pony up, my friend. Want to be forever associated with Notre Dame, come rain or shine? Likewise: cut a big check.

But if you just want to get your foot in the door, aim lower. Let’s ballpark a figure and say that the unnamed Stanford donor dropped down $500,000 to endow the offensive coordinator position in Luck’s name. Does that mean you could have the head coach spot at Buffalo endowed in your name for $50,000?

What about Texas-San Antonio? Could you have Larry Coker’s boring title renamed “The Burnt Orange & Family Head Coach of Texas-San Antonio Football” for $10,000? Could a Nebraska fan give the university $100 to have every walk-on fullback carry the title of “The Makovicka Family Walk-On Fullback”?

And seeing that B.C. has already showed a willingness to allow alumni to put their name front and center with the football program, is there a recent graduate out there – maybe an Internet millionaire? – willing to drop a chunk of change to renamed Bill McGovern’s spot “The Luke Kuechly Director of Defense”?

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Comments

  1. Matt Rob says:

    I heard they named a lottery ticket in Florida after Jacory Harris. It’s called the Pick Six.

  2. DMK says:

    The GoDaddy.Com Assistant to The Traveling Secretary to The Papa John’s Second Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach … is on the horizon.

  3. ted whalen says:

    Patrick Fitzgerald, Dan and Susan Jones Family Head Football Coach

    Paul: Good one. Forgot about that. Though my idea last night after hearing that Dan Persa tore his Achilles again was to rename a position “The Dan Persa Director of Quarterbacks/Deadlifting.”

  4. David says:

    Harvard, not surprisingly, has LOTS of endowed HC positions: http://www.gocrimson.com/sports/mcrew-lw/2011-12/releases/120417_endowment

    Others are certainly trying:

    http://www.redraiderclub.com/named-coaches.shtml — I wonder if they’d take the $2M if the donor wanted to name it after Mike Leach

  5. delawaresinglewing says:

    Pleae don’t tell me that Buddy Teevens holds an endowed coaching position!

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