Chuck Landon: Kopp has final say in whether Snyder stays
We are. ... waiting.
Your move, Steve Kopp.
Is Marshall head football coach Mark Snyder returning in 2009 for a fifth season at the helm?
Marshall's president needs to let Herd fans know one way or another. Silence is neither golden nor acceptable in this case.
The fact that Snyder has four seasons remaining on his contract extension does not constitute a loophole for Kopp.
Contracts can be bought out.
So, no waffling, Mr. President.
There are two camps in the Snyder debate.
The pro-Snyder faction points to the improvement Marshall displayed Saturday in an encouraging 38-35 loss to Conference USA West Division champion Tulsa in front of 21,571 pleasantly surprised fans at Edwards Stadium.
But the anti-Snyder crowd counters with the fact the Golden Hurricane defeat was Marshall's eighth of the season.
The pro-Snyder folks point to a 3-1 start, impressive wins at Southern Miss and home against Houston and, finally, the toe-to-toe offensive slugfest with Tulsa.
But the anti-Snyder segment counters with the fact Marshall lost seven of its last eight games, including the horrendous loss at UAB, the ugly Homecoming defeat to UCF and the second-half meltdown at Rice.
The pro-Snyder contingent points to building the football program the right way, citing graduation rate, team grade-point average and the lack of rap sheets.
But the anti-Snyder sector points to the wrong-way course of the program, citing four consecutive losing seasons and a 16-31 record.
The pro-Snyder faithful point to the fact he has had only three recruiting crops and has yet to have his own senior class.
But the anti-Snyder fans counter with the head coaches across the country who already have been fired or forced to resign this season with less tenure than Snyder.
On and on it goes.
That's why Kopp needs to step up and make a definitive statement. The sooner, the better.
Monday would be nice.
Would it end the controversy? Of course not.
But it would let the Herd nation know precisely what the administrative mindset is. And that most definitely needs to happen. ... whether it's a popular stance or not.
The interesting aspect of this controversy is during Snyder's post-game press conference Saturday, the embattled head coach appeared at ease and confident.
Snyder sounded as if he had been given assurances.
"The juniors now are officially seniors," he said. "They need to step up Monday and act like seniors.
Then, Snyder tackled the issue of progress.
"I think we've improved," he said. "Let's be real. The two teams that will be playing in the (C-USA) championship (game). ... one (East Carolina) beat us by three in overtime and the other one (Tulsa) out here tonight by three.
"I don't think there were any steps taken backwards. That's just where we are right now.
"We're probably going to be 'THE' team to beat next year."
Mull that comment over for a moment.
Meanwhile, the coaching staff is hitting the recruiting trail. For example, assistant Shannon Morrison is heading for Los Angeles on Monday.
Sound like a staff or head coach that thinks it's leaving?
In fact, when Snyder was asked point-blank if he would be Marshall's head coach in 2009, he answered, "Yeah."
But, still, the final word on the subject needs to come from Kopp.
Your move, Mr. President.
We are. ... waiting.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 526-2827. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.