I don't mean why as in, why fire him at all--Shula was and is an incompetent coach, and if UAT hadn't been both stupid and desperate after Mike Price met his Destiny, Shula would have long since joined the ranks of ex-coaches. But they did hire him, and then give him a big raise and a ludicrous buyout just a year ago. Even so, after the raising of the Thumb (okay, I suspect losing to Mississippi State had more to do with it), Mikey had to go. But again, why right now?
Here's what I think. The last week has been a complete media circus in Alabama. Every newspaper, every local newscast, and whoa-Nellie, every radio show has had one major sports topic: Is Mike Shula going to be back for 2007?
By yesterday, things had degenerated into such chaos that UAT AD Maw Mooah had to make a move one way or the other, just to end some of the uncertainty and stop the bleeding. Remember, yesterday was the first "contact day" after a month-long recruiting quiet period. It was the first day since October that coaches could call recruits, and every single kid being recruited by Alabama had one question to ask--who is the coach next year? The Turd braintrust couldn't afford to wait any longer--Maw had to make a decision one way or the other.
When (as as I suspect) Mikey refused to fire any of his assistants yesterday, Mooah had his answer on the "can I keep him or not." That answer was a reverberating "No," and now Maw has some breathing room to conduct an actual, above-ground coaching search without the question of Shuluh staying on as a one-year lame duck. It's not an ideal situation, but it was the best of Maw's options after the stumbling fiasco of the past week.
If Maw already had a coach lined up, I think we would know it by now. Since he most likely doesn't, we can now look forward to the usual Turd coaching search thrash, which goes something like this:
Step 1. "Target" the biggest "name" coaches in the country.
Step 2. Get turned down by all of them.
Step 3. "Target" several up-and-coming coaches.
Step 4. Watch all but one or two of them parley your interest into a big raise.
Step 5. Pick from whomever's left.
Step 6. Call the new hire "the one we really wanted all along."
UPDATE: Welcome, Deadspin readers (and thanks for the link). Ah, the Instalanche of sports blogs at last...