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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vic Koenning Update

OK, plenty of rumors swirling at this point, so it's probably best to address what's being said.

First off, I preface all of this with two important caveats:

1.) I'm writing this without confirmation from Vic Koenning or from Georgia, so nothing is official at this point regarding an acceptance of any potential offers.

2.) My preference is to be official before writing, but since enough of you are asking, it's probably worth telling you what I do know, even if we don't have the complete story at this point.

Of course, the third caveat is that this all may be a moot point by Friday morning, but that's the world we live in now.

So… Vic Koenning as the UGA defensive coordinator?

Yes, Koenning wanted the Georgia job. I've heard for several weeks from numerous sources that this was the No. 1 destination on Koenning's list, and it was a job he was fairly open about wanting. Saying he lobbied for it might be a strong term, but it was of significant interest to him. Koenning coached at Clemson for several years under Tommy Bowden, and as you know, the Bowdens are close with Mark Richt, Dave Van Halanger and other members of the UGA staff. So there was contact early.

Sources have also confirmed that Koenning and Richt spoke as recently as last week about the job, but no offer was immediately forthcoming. As we've since learned, Richt was pursuing other avenues that included, at the very least, Virginia Tech's Bud Foster.

In the meantime, Illinois offered Koenning its defensive coordinator position. Koenning followed up with Georgia -- again, according to various sources I've spoken with -- but was again not tendered an offer. By Tuesday, he had decided it was time to pursue the Illinois offer, assuming things were not happening with Georgia.

Joe Schad of ESPN reports that no deal was finalized with Illinois, but I have been told that in fact the Illini had a news conference planned for Friday to announce the hiring of Koenning, so it seems clear that, at the very least, there was a strong understanding that a contract would be agreed upon.

Thursday, however, an offer finally came from Georgia, which was Koenning's first choice and the preferred destination of his family. So now, what we're left with is this: Koenning has offers from both Georgia and Illinois, and while Athens was indeed the preferred destination, there are repercussions to backing out on what was at least an implied agreement with Illinois.

So… what happens from here?

That, I don't know yet, but an answer is likely to come from Koenning soon. And as Georgia Sports Blog wrote, his qualifications are certainly worthy of the job. Still, the temperature of the room among fans seems to be a luke warm on this at best. So, what say you? Would you get behind a Koenning hire? Or is this not enough of a departure from Willie Martinez for your liking?

Again, phone calls and text messages to Koenning have not been returned, so I'm not ready to call this a hire for Georgia. The situation, according to my sources, is still fluid. But I'll let you know as soon as I know something for certain.

UPDATE: Schad now reporting that Koenning is going to stay with his agreement and head to Illinois.

21 comments:

Heyberto said...

Not a sexy pick, but hard to argue with the results he's gotten at other schools. Oh well. Who's next?

dawgjammin said...

I don't know what's worse the fact that this guy was about 4th or 5th down on the list and we offered him the job, meaning no one else wanted the job. OR the fact that he had an offer from Illinois and UGA and chose the Illini...FUBAR

The Watch Dawg said...

I've had wayyyy too much of Joe Schad's shoddy "reporting" in this DC search. Did Koenning ever change his mind? Or is that just what Schad is saying to cover up his goof?

BTW - if it's true, then Koenning is making the worst career move of his life. Okay, sticking to a prior agreement (that wasn't finalized) might help him sleep tonight, but I guarantee he'll lose sleep for a long time over the fact that he took a job at Illinois when he could have had the same position at Georgia.

Let's not forget either that at Illinois, he's likely going out on his ass along with Zook when they fire him next year.

NashDawg said...

Look, Koenning has a decent track record. And I say "decent," because his defenses at Clemson were no worse than 16th nationally from 2005-08. However, his head coaching stint at Wyoming was forgettable. If my memory serves me correctly he was a dismal 5-29 during that experiment. I don't want to hear about players, facilities, boosters, or program support. On coaching alone, there should be another 5-7 wins on the record. So, essentially, it's a wash.

But, at the end of the day, this would be an underwhelming hire. We needed a homerun and this would not be it.

If the reports are indeed true that he is sticking with Illinois, then I would be relieved on the one hand, but the fact that we offered him and he turned it down would not bode well for the remainder of our search.

Anonymous said...

You are correct, Koenning wanted the Georgia job. If the report is true about sticking with Illinois, he probably just made a bad career move. Any talk about Travis Jones?

NashDawg said...

And, if the reports are true, shades of Glen Mason circa 1995!

Anonymous said...

NashDawg, in your opinion, who would be a "homerun"? Assuming that Smart, VanGorder, etc are NOT coming to Georgia.

Andy said...

I don't know much about Koenning's defensive scheme. Does he have an aggressive defense like Van Gorder? That is the #1 qualification by my standards.

RaleighDawg said...

This is what I have heard/read about him, so take it for what it’s worth – nothing…

He generally ran the same type of D that CWM ran, bend but don’t break, though he had a lot more success creating turnovers. His teams were always very high on the list for interceptions, fumbles created and fumble recoveries. So that could offset the style a little, but he also gave up a lot of points to good teams.

this year:
66 to Texas Tech
42 to Oklahoma
38 to Missouri.

It really doesn’t seem to be much of a change from what we had.

JRL said...

I think it would have been a good hire..........but it apparently isn't going to happen.

Andy said...

I would rather hire a no-name from a smaller school who has been successful running the right scheme (an aggressive, balls to the wall, blitz first, ask questions later sort of defense).

Ordep said...

I respect CMR and I know his doing his best to get the right hire but that thing of "not offering someone the job until we are clear who the perfect candidate is and that he'll take it" is not going to help Georgia at all. There are other schools looking for DC right now and if someone offer ahead of UGA then UGA will need to counter-offer and we all know that Evans and the $$$$ available for the job adds another obstacle to the whole thing. In a recent report they said that if the money is above what was previously established then a whole process of approval starts and so so so... Remember that these guys (potential DCs) have families and landing a new job would also mean moving, getting establish etc. etc. Maybe low-tier candidates will be OK with the wait, but the good ones will be getting offers more quickly and landing a job sooner than later makes all that stuff easier. All that said, CVK is just an example of the situation and I see that "offer" from UGA as a desperate move after the Illinois offer. I read something about MssSt interested in Manny Diaz. Would that be a CVK deja vu later on too?
Anyway, my point is that the top candidate should have been targeted a while ago and the offer made ASAP. Rejected? move to the next one. UGA has a great tradition and I'm sure a bunch of coaches would love to work here but the business and personal side of the situation is really strong too. So I really think we need to GATA on this and not just talk to people around to see if they would like it or not.
If CVK realy got the offer after all then it means he was the primary target at this time? If so, then I hope to see a "G" and a bunch of red as the background tomorrow at the presser proving Schad wrong. If not, then I hope for CMR to start being more aggressive on this before the whole list get scratched.

Thanks David for the update.

Coach J said...

Let's hope he chooses Illinois. Dick Bumpas from TCU would be a great person to interview. Perhaps even an NFL level coach (Sanders is a name I have seen mentioned, or who knows, maybe even BVG wants to return).

I don't think the new coach has to be a recruiting genius, if he coaches well and the defense performs well, the recruiting part will almost take care of itself (Monty Kiffin as an example).

Most of all, realize Bud Foster would have been an awesome choice and that was just a few days ago. Let's give CMR a chance people. Perhaps he is waiting to announce because it is an NFL guy. I think all these Vic Koenning rumors are just rumors.

richtfan said...

is this really the very best uga can do? i thought we were in search of a "championship" defensive coach. what championships has koenning ever won? i have a sneaky idea that this is all about money (even though i have no concrete proof) and if that's the case, I have a big issue with Evans and Adams. We make more money in profit than any other athletic department in the country. Money should NEVER be an issue when hiring staff.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the approach, "which DC will be able to stop
Auburn, Florida, Tenn and GT offenses" is being taken?
Obiviously not with a hire like Koenning even being
Considered (Willy clone- ask any Clemson fan!!!). As a UGA
Fan, alumni and Athens native, I am a little weary of how
the current admin handles the program. It seems like UGA
Is Coached by Forrest Gump. :(

UGA69Dawg said...

"A day late and a dollar short" kind of sums up our whole DC search so far.

ChicagoDawg said...

Who knows how well he would/will do at UGA -- how is that for an answer?

Good coaches are good coaches, irrespective of where they coach. However, the results may be mixed based on where they coach at any given time (due to talent, opponents, etc.,) -- case study is Bill Belicheck at New England vs. Cleveland and Mike Shanahan at Denver vs. Oakland. Both were previously fired and subsequently went on to win multiple Super Bowls. Anyone (certainly among the Internet fandom) who claims to know these various candidates, how well they would or would not do at GA or anywhere else for that matter is just talking to hear themselves talk.

The fact of the matter is we just don't know. What we do know is he has fairly impressive resume. Given the opportunity at GA, could he take it to the next level or will he be exposed as mediocre? There is only one way for those questions to be answered and that is to see it play out, otherwise it is just everyone's wild ass opinions (which we are all entitled to of course). However, most of our opinions are not based on facts or expertise, but are usually formed by perceptions/hype and emotions.

Anonymous said...

According to the staff of the vent they can none of their sources will confirm this. Even Hale's blog said he has no confirmation. This appears that a couple of ESPN Bloggers ran with something that just isn't true.

do not resuscitate said...

Why, oh why, does everyone keep bringing Van Gorder in to this discussion? (Not by David...but by fans) Yes, he was great while he was here, but are people really expecting him to come back?

Seal said...

Just to try to be clear - we have no good knowledge that Koenning had an offer from UGA, right?

Anonymous said...

David, I can assure you that Koenning never had an offer from Georgia. He wanted this job too bad to turn it down, even if he did have an agreement with Illinois. This whole rumor was started by his agent.