If you suffered through the Colts game last night, then stayed up for WTHR’s post-game coverage, then you heard the blue jersey-clad fan call out the head coach on camera. It was well said, and WAY overdue! Just who is this soft-spoken, even-keeled nobody at the helm of the NFL’s most jeckyl-and-hyde team?
I’ve been complaining to my family about him for two years. He led a dismal Wake Forest Demon Deacon's team into a few games at my alma mater, Florida State. It was typically a Demon Deacon bloodbath. They were the doormats of the ACC, after all, and FSU was at its Bowden Dynasty finest. But don’t let the brilliance of the Bowden era at FSU diminish the complete dullness of the Caldwell era at Wake Forest. I saw how pathetic they were, firsthand! And Jim Caldwell’s expressionless face on the Wake Forest sideline matched the equally vanilla play on the field by his team. It was uninspired football.
The official Colts/NFL website states, “Caldwell spent 1993-2000 as head coach at Wake Forest. In 1999, Caldwell led the school to its first winning season and bowl game since 1992.” Granted, that bowl game pitted a 6-5 Demon Deacons team against a very average Arizona State team, also 6-5.
Here is Jim Caldwell’s record as the Wake Forest head coach, by year:
1993 Record, 2-9
1994 Record, 3-8
1995 Record, 1-10
1996 Record, 3-8
1997 Record, 5-6
1998 Record, 3-8
1999 Record, 6-5
2000 Record, 2-9
Let me do the math for you—that adds up to a total of 25 wins in 8 seasons as head coach, an average of 3 wins per season. THREE WINS! WOOT!!!
So Tony Dungy helps him get to the next level, hiring him while still at Tampa Bay. The Feb. 2001 headline from the official Buccaneers/NFL website reads, “Tony Dungy dips into the college ranks once again to flesh out his coaching staff with Jim Caldwell, Joe Barry and Mike Tomlin.” Now, I’m not knocking Dungy for pushing diversity on the NFL (Lord knows they needed it!), but what exactly did Caldwell bring to the table? A losing record as a college head coach?
And now we have the politically-correct Mr. Irsay to thank for promoting from within, someone who is even MORE mild mannered than Dungy. Thank you, Tony, and thank you, Mr. Irsay. I hope Coach Caldwell enjoys the extended off-season, and the unearned accolades for an over-achieving, MASH unit (aka the 2010 Indianapolis Colts).