Big-time isn't all it's made out to be

Updated: October 20, 2004, 8:57 AM ET
By Rod Gilmore | ESPN Insider
"I like nothing about being a head coach, except the paycheck."

That's what New Mexico head coach Rocky Long told me a few weeks ago. Long voiced what many coaches are afraid to say publicly: The pressures of the job may not be worth the paycheck.

Urban Meyer
Urban Meyer is sure to be a hot name on the coaching carousel, but he might be better off staying put.
If that's true, is it worth it for this year's hot coaches and coordinators to jump to a bigger job for a bigger paycheck? That's what hot names like Urban Meyer (Utah), Dan Hawkins (Boise St), Randy Edsall (Connecticut) and Norm Chow (USC offensive coordinator) will have to ask themselves this year. There could be a bundle of head coaching jobs available (rumors include Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Texas, Florida, Washington, Syracuse, BYU, Illinois, North Carolina and Iowa State) Those four coaches will be on the short list of several athletic directors.

Jumping to a big-time head coaching job has obvious benefits. Everything is better: The salary; the players; the facilities; and the exposure, which makes recruiting easier.

However, the pressure is also greater. Big-time coaching has become more difficult than ever. That's what coaches at the big schools tell me privately. Either you have to win in a hurry at a premier school, or you take a beating at a school that has no chance of winning.

Want proof? Take a look at Mack Brown, Walt Harris and Ron Zook.

Rod Gilmore

College Football analyst
Rod Gilmore serves as an ESPN studio analyst on SportsCenter and College Football Live, and provides commentary on ESPN's Friday night game telecasts. He writes regularly for ESPN Insider.