As this John Lopez column relates, Conference USA Coach of the Year Todd Graham — who in his first season at Rice University led the Owls to their first bowl game since the early 1960’s — stunned the Rice community last week by announcing that he was leaving after only one season to replace his former boss, Steve Kragthorpe, as head coach at the University of Tulsa.
Hightailing it after only one season, switching jobs between conference members and leaving Rice without a head coach and most of its football coaching staff during the middle of recruiting season — Graham pretty well handled this job change about as shabbily as possible (Whew! Just wait until the Marching Owl Band gets ahold of that material for its halftime show at the next Rice-Tulsa game). And as Lopez’s column and Rice alum Charles Kuffner report, supporters of the Rice football program are certainly not happy with Coach Graham.
Of course, many of those disgruntled Rice supporters overlook the fact that they ran off Ken Hatfield, a loyal and good football coach who had served the Rice program honorably and effectively for many years in order to hire Coach Graham in the first place. Oh well, chalk it up to the dysfunctional marriage of university management and minor league professional football.
By the way, Coach Graham better hope that his career choices are better than the last Rice football coach who elected to take another job after just one season on South Main.