When LSU calls, Bianco should think long and hard

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2006

June 8, 2006.

Frank Solich spent six seasons coaching the University of Nebraska football team. He recorded 58 wins in six seasons, nearly 10 a year. He was fired after going 10-3 in 2003.

Mike Dubose guided the University of Alabama to a Southeastern Conference championship in 1999, then got the ax after the next season – a losing one.

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On Sunday, Smoke Laval, coach of the LSU Tigers baseball team, officially &#8220tendered his resignation” after amassing 210 wins in a little more than five seasons. Laval, whose Tigers did not make an NCAA Regional for the first time in 18 years, was fired, but tendering a resignation sounded better for the university. His 88 SEC wins was tops for all SEC coaches over the past five seasons.

There are, around the country, some sports and some schools that on the surface appear to offer jobs made in heaven. But they are nothing more than stepping stones to inevitable firing.

Nebraska and Alabama football and LSU baseball are just three examples of programs that cannot leave the past in the past no matter who the coach is.

So when Skip Bertman, the man who built the LSU baseball program into one of the most elite in the country, goes hunting for a coach, he may find it tough.

LSU will certainly open the purse strings to land a qualified coach. The Tigers will open a new stadium in 2008 and the recently sagging attendance figures will need to be increased.

One of the names soon to be on top of the Tigers’ wish list will be Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco.

The former Tiger assistant has turned Ole Miss baseball from decent SEC team to national power and will lead the Rebels to their second straight Super Regional on Saturday. Attendance at Ole Miss games is at an all-time high and stadium expansion will allow even more fans to cram into games.

If he wins 40 games a year in Oxford, Bianco will continue to be treated like royalty. He is one of the biggest fish in the small pond, makes fantastic money and if anyone seems to have job security, he does. With a wife and young children, Oxford seems to be an ideal family setting.

His name will continue to be linked to the LSU program, as will that of Jim Wells from Alabama. If either wants to hit the unemployment line in five years, then the LSU job is a perfect fit.

In the same manner as every Nebraska coach is compared with Tom Osborne’s three national championships, or Alabama’s Bear Bryant and his six national championships, the next LSU coach will be compared with Bertman and his five national titles.

When the interviews are done and the decision is finally made, Bertman, the school’s athletic director, may turn to the one person who would calm the lunatical LSU followers. He’ll turn to the one man who has a proven track record of winning in an environment where anything short of a national championship is a failure.

He’ll turn to himself.