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I need to dispel a misconception for you. At the conclusion of this and all my offerings is a line that indicates that I am a recovering journalist. Well, that's not exactly true.

The thing with journalism is it's sort of like malaria. You don't really recover and are always subject to relapses. In my case these relapses are fairly short-lived and typically best treated with bottled medicinal products from far-off places like Kentucky. I'm sure there are other methods, but, hey, stick with what you know.

Now the advantage of being a former journalist is that my day-to-day pursuit of the career is sufficiently far enough in the rear-view mirror of my life that its petty resentments and afflictions seldom trouble me.

For instance, I no longer think back on the time that I missed the Houston-North Carolina State NCAA basketball championship game and the watch party I was throwing to cover an emergency town council meeting called to discuss leadership of the local volunteer fire department. A meeting which, by the way, resulted in much complaining and no tangible results. I'm still not convinced that much of America is ready for democracy, but let's carry on like it is.

And since I moved quickly from the news side of the business and covering goofy little town hall meetings to sports, where I covered important things like American Legion baseball double-headers, most of my memories of the profession revolve around my time in the Fun and Games Department.

In retrospect, there is a lot to miss about being a sport editor. I've seen some great people, witnessed some inspiring performances and appreciate the positive impact athletics can have on people, towns, states and regions.

I do not, however, miss covering a coaching search.

Better that aforementioned American Legion double-header in an un-air-conditioned cement-block press box in July than that day-in, day-out Chinese water torture drip-drip-drip of rumor, innuendo and down-right prevarication that surrounds the process of hiring someone to lead an athletic program.

The problem with coaching searches is they are, for the most part, tinted with a tiny little shade of despair. Either someone performed so poorly that he and his staff lost their collective jobs (not a good thought right around the holidays.) Or after a wonderful relationship full of great moments, a coach decides they just don't love you anymore. Or at least not as much as they're sure they'll love Big State Tech A&M Directional University. And $70 million. But mostly Big State Tech A&M Directional University.

Once the university you're covering and its coach part ways, all the unreasonable expectations and long-buried insecurities of a state come to the surface. Supporters launch onto a manic-depressive arch that careens from belief that any coach in the nation would be a fool to pass up our breath-taking location, wonderful facilities, rabid and loyal fan base, etc., to being the guy who starts by asking a Victoria's Secret model to the prom and winds up taking a cousin who just happened to have a nice dress and nothing else going on that night.

And that doesn't even include the "Game of Thrones"-like plotting and power plays that, apparently, are simmering just below the surface of every athletic department, school administration and booster clubs in the nation and come to light when coaching changes get made. I'm pretty sure if we'd wanted to find Bin Laden years before we did, all we had to do was leak that he was, potentially, going to be the next football coach at a major university. Bloggers would have found him in about 24 hours.

Coaching searches are a lot like elections. A certain percentage of the population thinks the outcome is just wonderful and a certain percentage is convinced a worse hire couldn't have been made if we'd thrown darts at a large phone book. Chances are, at some point over the next few years, both sides will be correct.

The current search has wound down, and we've been introduced to the next head coach at the University of Arkansas. And "introduced" is probably key, since few of us know football as well as we like to think we do, so we won't really have any idea what this person is capable of or, frankly, who he is.

By then, my fever will certainly break. With just a little touch of medicine.

Commentary on 12/08/2017

Print Headline: Search for tomorrow

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