by Rob Joyce
The Colts seemingly found their new head coach… until they didn’t. Last week Indianapolis had a deal in place to make Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels their new head man, even going so far as to releasing the official time for the introductory press conference. Then, just hours later, there would be no need for that press conference, as McDaniels backed out to stay in his role with New England. The Colts would eventually find their guy in the Eagles’ Frank Reich, the other offensive coordinator from Super Bowl LII.
No matter what McDaniels does for the remainder of his coaching career, those in Indy will surely never let him forget about the five hours or so that he was the “head coach” of the Colts. Though rare, it’s not entirely unheard of for someone to agree to a coaching job, then back out. Here are some others:
The most famous case, Belichick was to be Bill Parcells’ successor as the coach of the Jets in 1999. His tenure lasted one day, when at his introductory press conference he wrote on a napkin “I resign as HC of the NYJ” then proceeded to explain why. He agreed to take the head job with the Patriots, and after a battle between the rivals ended with New England giving a first-round pick to New York, Belichick went to Foxboro. He drafted some quarterback in the sixth round out of Michigan, won five Super Bowls and the rest is history.
The Parcells disciple Belichick took a page out of his mentor’s playbook when he jilted the Jets. That’s because in 1991 Parcells had an agreement to coach the Buccaneers, then backed out at the last minute. Fast forward a decade, and Tampa Bay again offered the Hall of Famer a deal to take the reins in 2002, and again Parcells said no at the last minute.
After winning back-to-back national championships with Florida, Donovan was set to make the jump to the NBA and lead the Orlando Magic. He accepted a five-year deal and had a pair of press conferences on June 1, 2007: one welcoming him to Orlando, another saying farewell to the Gators. The next day he changed his mind, forcing the Magic into releasing him from the contract so he could go back to Gainesville. He spent another eight seasons with Florida before leaving for real to become the coach of the Thunder.
An assistant at Texas Tech for 10 years, Beard became a head coach and immediately achieved success, going to an NCCAA Elite 8 at McMurry University, a Division-II NCAA Tournament at Angelo State, then a 30-5 record and a second round Tournament appearance in one season at Arkansas-Little Rock. All of this happened in a four-season span, enough to impress UNLV to the point where they hired him on March 27, 2016.
Then three weeks later, the Texas Tech job opened. Alas, the job was too enticing to pass up, so he bolted from Las Vegas back to Lubbock, where he currently has the Red Raiders ranked in the top-10.
Altman has been in charge of four basketball programs at the Division-I level, and it nearly became five. After a 13-year stint at Creighton, Altman was set to leave and become the head coach at Arkansas. A day after the agreement was announced, Altman decided to stay with the Blue Jays, citing family reasons. He remained with Creighton for three more seasons before shipping west to take over at Oregon, where he led the Ducks to the Final Four last season.