In what might be the biggest “what if” in Kentucky athletics history, what if we would have got Bill Parcells aka The Big Tuna?
I mean can you have imagined what he would’ve brought to the program? One can only dream cant we? I know that most of you would never believe that a former two time Super Bowl champion would never come to Kentucky, but it was a lot closer than most of you think.
Back in December of 2002 when Guy Morriss had left Kentucky to go pursue a career at Baylor, newly hired AD Mitch Barnhart was looking for a home run hire, and boy oh boy were we ever so close. Initially Mitch Barnhart had made a call to Rich Brooks, but not to offer a job. He was only seeking advice, the two had worked together at Oregon in the early 1980’s.
Eventually Mitch Barnhart had found himself in New York with Bill Parcells and negotiations began. How close was it before a deal was done? Well at the time Mitch was quoted with “The bottom line is we had some very nice conversations. We had an offer in front of him. I thought it was going to happen.” But the owner of the Dallas Cowboys had made a phone call to the Big Tuna, and sooner than later Jerry Jones was introducing Bill Parcells as the new head coach of the Cowboys.
But cant we all dream? Can we just imagine for a minute? Lets pretend. Lets ask ourselves “what if”? What if Jerry Jones never calls Bill Parcells? What if Kentucky would’ve hired the Big Tuna?
First we have to imagine the excitement and the buzz around the program. A former Super Bowl champion and a former NFL Coach of the Year at the University of Kentucky. That would be unbelievable, just the hire alone of a former Super Bowl champion would do wonders for the program. Recruits would be lined up at the door waiting to play for the Big Tuna.
Second we have to look at what we would have with Bill Parcells. Parcells is know as one of the greatest defensive minded coaches in NFL history and is well known for letting the talent flourish with certain players. Parcells was also known in the NFL for turning around franchises that had a history of losing and he often did it pretty quickly. Whether it be turning the Giants around and leading them to two Super Bowl victories, or leading the Patriots to an AFC Championship victory, or leading the Jets to an AFC Championship appearance. Wherever Parcells went, he turned the team around and not only did he lead the team to success, but he did it quickly.
Finally we would have to look at how long Parcells would stay. Because when looking back at his career, Bill would never stay too long with any particular team. So considering his age at the time and looking at how long he stayed with the Cowboys. I believe it would be safe to say that Bill Parcells would stay here for at least four years, but no more than six.
So how would Bill have worked in Lexington? Well its not that easy to answer, see at the time Kentucky was on probation for recruiting violations while Hal Mumme was at the helm. So obviously that would slowed down Bills progress, but not by much in my opinion. There is no doubt in my mind that Bill Parcells would have taken Kentucky football to new levels that we have never reached before.
But how big would Kentucky have gotten if we had the Big Tuna? I guess we can only imagine.
Feel free to have to comment and let us know how you think the Bill Parcells experiment would’ve worked at Kentucky. GO CATS!