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Bryant at Alabama, Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech, Johnny Vaught at Ole Miss, Robert Neyland at Tennessee and later on, Vince Dooley at Georgia.
Originally, combining those two jobs was driven by economics, but football was so dominant, even in the past, that meant a measure of control was involved. The AD would have a job whenever he gave up coaching, but it also meant he didn’t have to answer to anyone but the president.
Further, in those less intense times, many coaches had other assignments within the athletic setup. Often, they coached other sports. When Shug Jordon joined the Georgia football staff in 1946, he was the football line coach and head basketball coach. Jim Whatley, also a line coach, coached baseball and basketball. It would be superfluous to say men’s basketball since it was unthinkable that women would engage in intercollegiate competition.
In the Vaught era at Ole Miss, the Rebels, as they were then known, football on the other side of the conference was about as neat and tidy as it could be.
Vaught and his staff were pretty much a closed society. They had the recruiting advantage in the state and were the first choice of most of the leading athletes in the Memphis area. Ole Miss always had abundant talent in the Vaught era.
Recruiting was finished by early December which was followed by a bowl game. That meant that the Ole Miss coaches, starting the first week in January, could go quail hunting. Even in the fall, it was not uncommon for them to hunt doves in early morning and get to the office to start game planning by 8:00 a.m. When spring weather emerged, they played golf, which was a daily option, until Labor Day when football practice began. Coaches in that era did not make the money you read about today, but it was a good life, so orderly and laid back. Without question, this was the best of times. The game is no longer regional. It has become a national game, which is why a kid such as Brock Bowers would choose to move completely across the country to play college football. Nobody knows where the game is headed with all the external issues coming about, but football remains the greatest of games. As a traditionalist, I am not sure the playoffs, as exciting as they have become, are good for the game long term. Only a handful of schools can ever expect to participate.
If you are a Georgia fan, especially if you are given to carping when little things bother you, you ought to cease and desist and thank your lucky stars that Kirby Smart is the incumbent coach in Athens. Most soothsayers expect him to enjoy a continued presence in the playoffs.
He is a Dawg who can