It sucks to lose your job. There’s absolutely no getting around that. It’s humiliating, and it absolutely crushes your pride and your spirit. No one will ever suggest otherwise. But there are certain ways to handle losing your job, and the way George McDonald is handling his demotion is not exactly ideal.
McDonald came to Syracuse as an unproven offensive coordinator who, if we’re being honest, was given the shot almost certainly because of his previous ties to Scott Shafer and his reputation as a recruiter. He had never been an offensive coordinator at any level, and over his first year and a half at Syracuse, his “success” was moderate at the very best. This year, it was flat out abysmal. Now that’s obviously not entirely based on McDonald’s schemes and play calling, and it has to do a lot with the talent – or lack thereof – on the offensive side of the ball.
So no, the blame for the lack of offensive production this year doesn’t fall entirely to George McDonald. But he had to know that as the offense struggled, the offensive coordinator would take the brunt of the blame. Any sensible person would understand that it comes with the territory, but then McDonald’s comments show that maybe he’s not being particularly sensible at present. And that’s not entirely unexpected. Again, getting demoted or fired hurts like a bitch, and in the aftermath you’re going to feel like a wounded animal.
The problem is, when you’re as public a figure as McDonald, and you have such an influence on kids who have decided to play for Syracuse, you can’t react like a wounded animal. And you certainly can’t act like a petulant child, which it could be argued is how McDonald is coming off in the wake of his demotion, if the quotes being reported are accurate.
What quotes are we talking about, exactly? Well, how about these ones:
McDonald on if he got a fair opportunity: "Fair’s judgement. I don’t know if anyone gets a fair shake if they get demoted after five games."
— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) October 8, 2014
Let’s back up a bit here, coach McDonald. Five games. Are we just going to write off the entire 2013 season, when the Syracuse offensive struggled so mightily for half the year? Please don’t pretend that didn’t count toward your overall resume. Yes, it takes a bit to get your offense implemented, but your offense was sputtering, at best.
Worse, though, was this quote:
"If I would’ve known I was only going to get 18 games to be offensive coordinator, I would’ve stayed at the University of Arkansas” McDonald
— Jacob Klinger (@Jacob_Klinger_) October 7, 2014
To be honest, coach, if we had known just how inept your offense would be then maybe we would have looked elsewhere for an offensive coordinator, too. Job security isn’t given to you, it’s earned. Please don’t ever forget that. The fact that you’re in a profession in which people lose their jobs on an almost weekly basis, it seems like you’d have picked up on this by now. Success is the only factor in job security, and it’d probably serve you well going forward to remember that.
The problem now is the fact that McDonald is our primary recruiter. How is this going to impact the guys we’ve got committed, let alone the guys we’re still chasing? McDonald doesn’t seem to have the utmost respect for Shafer at the moment – see this quote:
McDonald on relationship with Shafer moving forward: "It is what it is."
— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) October 8, 2014
That said, McDonald has seemingly started to turn around some of his quotes as the day has pressed on, talking about how he doesn’t plan on leaving midseason and how he loves working with his wide receivers, and going on and on about his respect for new offensive coordinator Tim Lester.
Still, that doesn’t excuse his, frankly, piss poor behavior so far today. Again, it’s okay to be upset about being demoted. Hell, go home and start beating the shit out of the walls, break some lamps, and down a bottle of whiskey or two. It’s understandable. But such a public, negative reaction can only hurt the program. Be a professional, George. Understand it’s all part of the business, and there are more careers – including not just your fellow coaches, but the athletes you’re involved with as well – at stake here.
So the best thing you can do? Zip it, do your job, and then find someplace in the offseason where you think they’ll respect you a little more, if that’s what you need to do. But no one wants to hire a whiner who does his job poorly and then bitches very openly when he faces the consequences.
The way you’ve responded to this unfortunate situation reflects incredibly poorly on you. You’re a better person than this, so please, handle it with more grace.