Glanville’s Short, Sweet Stay

Steve Murray
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Wednesday - March 07, 2007
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Now be honest. Can anyone say they were surprised to hear that Jerry Glanville left UH for a head coaching job?

OK, so maybe Division 1-AA Portland State was a bit offsetting to those who thought it would take a bit more kibble to cause him to jump. But lead dogs don’t appreciate the view from the rear, and at 65 Glanville does-n’t boast the feline bonus lives that will allow him to diddle around.

A few more years at UH and his window would have closed.

Glanville’s Hawaii gig was never meant to be more than a temporary assignment. Sure, head coach June Jones would have taken a 10-year commitment if the defensive whiz had offered, but June has known Jerry for far too long to be fooled by dreams of a long-term arrangement. Any thought that he would grow old here and retire to a wooded spot in Kalihi Valley was just unrealistic.

When talking to him about his planned length of stay prior to the 2005 season, the head of Glanville Motorsports said, no doubt sincerely, that he did not know how long his tenure would last. Other coaching opportunities and his family and business interests in the land of NASCAR would always be a constant drain on his time, interest and energy. That’s too much for even the most dedicated football savant.

Glanville did what he was brought in to do. He took one of the nation’s worst defenses and not only made it better, but changed the whole philosophy of the program. Prior to his arrival, defense was an afterthought; a necessary evil to give the offense a minute to catch its breath. Finally, under Glanville, it became obvious that the standard “one point more than the opponent” cliche was a disaster and would not get any better without a complete makeover.

In the year before Glanville’s arrival, the defense was just god awful - last in the nation against the run (252 yards per game), second to last in total defense (487.7) and 112th in scoring defense (38.8). Two years later, those numbers jumped to 59th against the run (136), 93rd in total defense (377.7) and most important, they kept teams out of the end zone by allowing only 24.07 points per game during his final run.

Serious work like that will not go unnoticed.

Though Glanville will take his four-sided big bag group tackling trainer with him, he’s leaving behind a program that is more ready to win than when he arrived. What more can you ask for? He’s taught the team how to play at not only a higher level of skill and understanding of their positions, but with a nastiness that has been his trademark.

That influence had even spread to the guys on offense, which added a bit of attitude to Jones’ finesse offense.

Gerry’s got one heck of a job in front of him. Portland State is looking at Glanville to do more than just win a few football games. It is counting on him to save the program. Like many schools that lack the necessary financial resources to support their program, the Vikings often have to hit the road to collect a paycheck. But what makes this a unique situation is that Portland has it written in its contracts that the school does not have to pay a penalty to the host school if the university fails to field a football team.

Glanville may have to use that gift for gab with the university’s unimpressed academic community that, like those at Stanford, Cal and other institutions, have questioned whether athletics properly reflects the mission of a university.

Good luck.

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