Reports out of San Marvelous are that Everett Withers is out and will not coach his last game next week against Arkansas State. Withers put together a 7-28 record in three years, winning two games in his first two seasons and three so far this year.
While you could argue that Withers made progress in turning over the roster and had the program headed in a positive direction, the losses and lack of butts in seats make a compelling case for this to end.
Withers arrived on campus and ran off a bunch of players that he labeled dead weight or bad actors, creating for himself a year zero scenario. In many ways, he climaxed early with an opening win at Ohio that created a bit of a stir, but reality set in quickly. The Bobcats played better defensively over the course of three years but never grew an offensive identity. His teams were perpetually young. Withers loved to point to the youth on his two-deep, but after three years of that tactic with no appreciable increase in win totals, the refrain grew stale.
Off the field Withers was candid to a fault, famously claiming that he didn’t want his children near his 2016 squad. Many Bobcat fans felt the same, but for less dramatic reasons, and averted their eyes from the product on the field. The fan base turned on the program and the athletic administration as a whole, leaving most of Bobcat Stadium available for tarps and prime ad space.
To his credit, Withers brought in talent at a higher level according to the available recruiting services, but he failed to deploy that talent in any way conducive to winning or at least winning consistently.
In my mind, Aaron Brewer became the poster child of the issues. A truly talented offensive line player, Brewer shuffled from center to guard to tackle last year. This year he moved to “his natural” tackle position until a few weeks ago when he moved back to center. Those position moves, done cavalierly, can ruin a players career arch. To his credit, Brewer persevered and played well, even out of position. But, the constant maneuvering gave evidence that this staff lacked insight and clear direction at both micro and macro levels.
I can’t help but fondly remember the #Partyintheendzone twitter ploy from 2016, typical of the Withers’ era, overselling and under-delivering the product.
In other news, Texas State AD Larry Teis is still employed.
The firing of Withers is curious if only because it comes with one game left in the season. The Bobcats went on the road and played nine-win, Sun Belt East frontrunner Troy to a near stalemate yesterday. The defense showed continued proof of concept. Why announcing the firing at this time became such a pressing issue that it couldn’t wait is anyone’s guess.
Actions that are anyone’s guess are commonplace in Teis’ failed administration. For the AD to insert himself into the conversation at this time and with the rotted state of the department from almost any criteria seems a tone deaf. If Teis became so fed up with the program that he couldn’t wait seven days, then he should more than understand the frustrations of the fan base. There is plenty of fed up to go around. Most ADs don’t survive their second failed football coaching hire, Teis given the timing, will get a crack to miss for a fourth time.
The Texas State Athletic Department deserves new energy and direction more than it needs a new football coach. If firing Withers is the first salvo in a series of moves that includes a new AD, we can better understand the situation. If the changes are confined to the football staff and go no further up the chain, then this is a collasal waste of time.