Ed McCaffrey couldn’t cut the mustard. Lots of people exterior Greeley knew it. More to the purpose, staffers contained in the UNC football places of work knew it, too.
“(He) had actually no system, no organizational abilities,” Dave Baldwin, the previous CSU Rams and Bears offensive coordinator, informed me earlier this yr when I’d requested about his experiences working below McCaffrey in 2020 and ’21.
“He took satisfaction in saying, ‘I do issues last-minute and it appears to get finished.’ Well, once you’re coping with 105 children, that is a bit of totally different. And I feel it took him a few yr, two years now, to know.
“(But initially), I used to be within the workplace on daily basis. And he wasn’t. I by no means had a ‘snow day’ in my life in school football. Every school coach I’d ever met, he is within the workplace, grinding. That simply wasn’t the case (with McCaffrey).”
Let’s give UNC athletic director Darren Dunn credit score for this a lot, in hindsight: He tried.
The Bears, who fired McCaffrey Monday after 22 video games and a 6-16 file, most likely don’t have any enterprise enjoying Division I football, particularly given the place the game is heading. Name/Image/Likeness wars. The switch portal. Players who now consider themselves as NFL free brokers on the ages of 17, 18 and 19. Poach or be poached. Go huge or go house.
The Bears can solely go so huge, so that they swung laborious at a wild-card teaching candidate with no collegiate teaching expertise. Someone who’d give an not noticeable FCS cease instantaneous buzz, instantaneous title recognition, instantaneous cache.
Ed McCaffrey, a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Broncos, opens doorways. From a purely enterprise perspective, it made good sense, particularly for a program that is turn out to be the Vanderbilt of the Big Sky.
But from a football perspective, it was a catastrophe from the soar. As a reputation, Ed McCaffrey was too good for UNC. As a coach, he was nonetheless the man from Valor Christian, satisfied that expertise would make up for a recreation plan’s gaps. Alas, what works towards Mountain Vista or Rock Canyon will not fly towards Montana State or Eastern Washington.
“He’s employed everyone that he is aware of quite than going out and bringing in skilled guys,” mentioned Baldwin, who was let go by McCaffrey within the spring of 2021 and ultimately changed by Ed’s son Max. “I feel he actually did one thing good (when) he employed two coaches that had been at Idaho, and that provides you expertise (within the Big Sky).
“He employed coaches that had by no means been coaches at this degree… you have to have guys which were round. Recruiting plans — what number of offensive linemen, what number of wideouts, you have to (make) plans. And there wasn’t a plan.”
In the tip, the issue wasn’t a lot luring expertise to Nottingham Field as a lot as maintaining it. One monitoring website this previous January pegged UNC with 28 portal entries; by June 30, the Bears have been reportedly as much as 41.
There have been whispers. Whispers of favoritism and household over NCAA familiarity. The choice to raise Max McCaffrey, who’d initially been employed as a receivers coach and had by no means served as an offensive coordinator on the collegiate degree earlier than, solely raised extra eyebrows.
“It was a staff funding, for certain,” the youthful McCaffrey informed me Monday. “Lots of people concerned with this program … labored their (rears) off to assist go away this place higher than we discovered it.”
How a lot better, although? Administrators cringed final October when the youthful McCaffrey was accused of hitting a Montana State fan with a chunk of damaged clipboard within the wake of a 40-7 thrashing in Bozeman. Things bought … bizarre.
Nepotism is previous information in school football. One of the privileges of royalty is the inexperienced gentle to rent mates and family members. Yet when mentioned mates and family members — lookin’ at you, Nathaniel Hackett — additionally stink at their gigs, and everyone can see it, gamers begin carping behind your again.
More whispers. That Dylan McCaffrey, Ed’s son, had transferred to UNC from Michigan with every kind of instruments. But these instruments — Dylan threw for 12 touchdowns and 12 picks this season after 5 scores and 7 interceptions final fall — made him merely a stable, and never distinctive, Big Sky QB. Whispers that the teaching workers’s default place was that it was by no means Dylan’s fault. Because his household title and recruiting profile, deep down, have been too good for UNC, too.
“I did not really feel like there was any favoritism that method,” Max countered. “We handled our gamers equally and handled them with respect.”
Still, the McCaffreys wanted extra exterior voices. Seasoned voices. Voices who weren’t afraid to face as much as a Broncos icon.
“(UNC) employed a man with none expertise,” Baldwin mirrored. “And that is robust on the school degree.
“It’s about relationships. If you are in the neighborhood and also you’re within the dwelling rooms with them, you go to their courses, you verify in on them, you go to their staff meals — do every little thing (so) they know and may watch you care. At UNC, that is the one method.”
Baldwin cared. Still cares about Ed, too, He was the elder McCaffrey’s place coach at Stanford within the late ’80s, below then-coach Jack Elway, John Elway’s father, and a part of a workers that additionally featured future Rams icon Sonny Lubick.
As offensive coordinator below Jim McElwain, he helped to attract up a number of the high offensive assaults in CSU historical past. Baldwin may’ve even finished the identical at UNC. If he’d been given an opportunity.