Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Picks: Hugh Freeze and Tony Dungy

Posted By on Sun, Dec 4, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Tony Dungy
  • Tony Dungy
Anyone can speculate about the next football coaches at Memphis and Ole Miss so why shouldn't I?

Based on hunches, scuttlebutt, knowing looks, wild surmises, personal preference, overheard conversations, pregnant pauses, and pure guesswork, here are my two predictions.

Hugh Freeze for the Memphis job. Great record at Arkansas State — 10-2 this year including a 47-3 win over Memphis. Seen as a possible Urban Meyer up-and-comer by some local influential fans and boosters. Former football and girls basketball coach at Briarcrest. Former assistant coach at Ole Miss. Makes $210,000, so a raise to $750,000 would be huge, in fact so huge he might quietly defer some of it for hiring top assistants. Could probably win six or more games next year, given the weak schedule Memphis plays.

Tony Dungy, 56, for Ole Miss. Knows Archie Manning, who's doing the search. Coached Peyton with the Colts. Overqualified to be an NFL analyst, and to me looks awkward interviewing players far younger than he is. Has had tragedy in his life, so he's thoughtful and reflective and, well, different. Wow factor. Quarterback specialist, and that's where it starts.

Bonus pick: Lee Fowler for Memphis athletic director, although even faculty members and deans told me last week that the process of picking a coach and then an A.D. is bewildering to them. Fowler knows Memphis. And I liked him as a Vanderbilt basketball player in the Seventies. Has anyone seen Jeff Fosnes?

If I am correct on this I win $2 from by buddy and colleague Greg Akers, which will make it priceless.


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