With all due respect to novice Florida State athletics director David Coburn, shut up about Bob Stoops.

In fact, when conducting a coaching search, shut up about everybody — and everything.


Shut up about Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer and James Franklin and Matt Campbell and Gary Patterson and the Clemson assistants and anybody and everybody else who is being mentioned as potential candidates to replace Willie Taggart.

David, babe, you need to trust me on this one. I’m not an AD, but I’ve talked to a lot of ADs and covered a lot of coaching searches in my day, and you’re off to a bad start. A very bad start.

Why do I say this? Because you’ve already broken the very first and most basic rule of Coaching Search 101, which states: Athletics directors are strictly forbidden from addressing rumors, message board speculation and media reports on the coaching candidates they may or may not hire.

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FSU athletics director David Coburn confirmed former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is on the list of candidates to become the Seminoles’ next coach, but a deal with him is not imminent.

So Cobes — you don’t mind if I call you Cobes, right? — tell me again why you started off your coaching search by immediately addressing a Tallahassee TV station (WTXL) reporting that FSU was close to an agreement with Stoops and his hiring could come as soon as the end of this week? While you refuted the timeline reported by WTXL, you told the Tallahassee Democrat that Stoops is, in fact, a candidate.

“He [Stoops] is on the list, and he’s certainly somebody we would consider,” you said.

This was reportedly news to Stoops, who told ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit that he “is not a candidate for the job.”

But it doesn’t really matter if Stoops is or isn’t a candidate for the job; what matters, Cobes, is that proven ADs understand that coaching searches are to be conducted quietly and discreetly. You simply don’t reveal who you’re interested in.

Cobes, I realize you are a politician by trade and not from the world of college athletics. You spent 34 years in state politics where you became a political crony of FSU president John Thrasher, the former State of Florida Speaker of the House. I’m just wondering, as a career politician, are you making campaign promises that you can’t deliver on?

Don’t get me wrong, Cobes, I hope you are able to land Stoops, a national-championship coach who, at 59, is still young enough to lead your program into the future. What a get that would be! Can you imagine the fanfare and excitement if Stoops made a triumphant return to the State of Florida, where he helped Steve Spurrier win the Florida Gators’ first national title more than two decades ago by beating, um, Florida State in the Sugar Bowl; where he won his first and only national championship as head coach at Oklahoma by beating, um, the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl?

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However, you know and I know that Stoops is a long-shot. Why would you build up the hopes of FSU fans and boosters by publicly throwing Stoops’ name into the mix? You know what’s going to happen now, right? If you land a lesser coach, the fan base will be disappointed and the new coach will be looked upon as a fallback choice.

Don’t take this the wrong way, Cobes, but here’s a couple of examples for you about how two highly esteemed ADs in the state have gone about their coaching searches:

When UCF’s Danny White hired both Scott Frost and Josh Heupel, nobody had a clue who the candidates were. In fact, before he hired Heupel, the hot rumor was that Kevin Sumlin was the leading candidate for the job.

You know what White said about those rumors?

He said nothing.


Absolutely nothing.

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The same with Gators AD Scott Stricklin when he was searching for a coach to replace Jim McElwain. He ended up hiring Dan Mullen, but there were rampant media reports and rumors that Chip Kelly had been offered the job and was the No. 1 candidate.

You know what Stricklin said about those rumors?

He said nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

Cobes, as a member of the media, I love your candidness and I love that you’re keeping us filled in on the coaching search. I love that you actually said you would never, ever hire Urban Meyer in a million years. I love that you actually admitted the boosters are actually going to be a part of the selection process. And I love that you pretty much admitted that, hell yeah, you’d like to hire Bob Stoops.

But, Cobes, this is a coaching search. Even if it’s true, you shouldn’t be telling people that the boosters are helping you pick your coach. And you need to stop commenting on every rumor and report because there are going to be a million of them. There are enough distractions out there right now without you creating more of them.

And you need to a find a good coach who wants the job; not a great coach who probably doesn’t want the job. You need to target candidates like Mark Stoops instead of candidates like Bob Stoops.

Cobes, you have three academic degrees from FSU, so you are obviously a very smart individual.

Please take the advice of an even smarter individual — the great Will Rogers, who once said:

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”

Email me at [email protected]. Hit me up on Twitter @BianchiWrites and listen to my Open Mike radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on FM 96.9 and AM 740.