Recently there have been discussions and comments on our boards, and more at some of our sister sites, due to the shenanigans of Bill Stewart at West Virginia, about the head-coach-in-waiting concept. The whole head-coach-in-waiting concept can become very disadvantageous and could very well become a double-edged knife (in the back-pun intended).
Florida State is very fortunate and we are very grateful that having gone through the HCIW scenario, it appears to have turned out very good for us even though it did get a little messy at the end when Bobby Bowden was not ready to retire. The situation with Stewart at WVU, while not quite the same, i.e. a coach who felt he was not being treated fairly and that he deserves more time, is headed for a meltdown. This is all due to a gutless AD who decided that instead of firing Stewart outright, it would be better to give Stewart his one year notice of termination and have him break in his successor. Stewart allegedly wasn't thrilled with this arrangement and decided to expose HCIW Dana Holgorsen as a sloppy drunk who repeatedly gets thrown out of casinos. I don't see any way Stewart will survive this, and I believe his treachery will lead to his resignation, buy out, or firing.
In football, credit is given to Wisconsin as the pioneers in the HCIW concept. The Barry Alvarez to Bret Bielema HCIW situation at Wisconsin is one of only a few that has gone smoothly and according to plan where there was a named HCIW ready to take control from their predecessor.
Wisconsin pioneered the HCIW concept back in June of 2005 when they announced that Coach Barry Alvarez would be relinquishing control of the football program after the 2005 season to HCIW Bret Bielema. There had been HCIW deals prior to that, but only in basketball, and this was the first such arrangements I could find ever in college football. Today there are many HCIW deals in place including one in our own ACC, at Maryland between Ralph Friedgen and Jim Franklin, there is also one at Texas between Mack Brown and Will Muschamp, and there are presently deals in place at Oregon, Kentucky, and Purdue...
The first key to a successful HCIW deal is that the termination date for the current coach must be defined and agreed to in advanced by all parties, and the transition date should not, under any circumstance, be more than 1 year away.
The next thing Alvarez did at Wisconsin is to allow Bielema full access to all his notes on team matters from the years past, and copy him on all the notes he took on daily basis. This only seems logical and worked out well at Wisconsin, however I have my doubts that Bowden's notes would be of much use to Jimbo. The point is though, the sharing of as much possible information to help your replacement succeed. I can't say for sure, but I don't think Bowden is all that eager to help out Fisher as we would like him to be.
And finally the returning players, on all sides of the ball, were gaining respect and getting to know their future head coach.
The other HCIW situations at Kentucky, Purdue, Oregon, Texas, and Maryland, well, I let you decide how well they turned out.
While the Joker Phillips for Rich Brooks at the University of Kentucky, and the Danny Hope for Joe Tiller at Purdue HCIW transitions appeared smooth, they were both seamless due to the impending retirements of their former coaches who had a set timetable, and were ready to retire. However....