Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated ‘s Andy Staples introduced Daniel Faalele to a wide audience. The 6’9”, 396-lb offensive line prospect from Florida’s IMG Academy has drawn strong interest from a number of top Power 5 conference schools - unsurprising for a 17-year-old of his already massive stature. What makes the situation noteworthy is that Faalele, born and raised in Australia, has never played a single snap of organized football, and was only introduced to the game as a spectator last year.
This got us thinking - sometimes, this happens. Sometimes, a foreign-born player possesses such remarkable attributes - height, weight, strength - that they become prospects in American sports without even playing them. But why doesn’t this ever happen in the coaching ranks?
It’s funny that you should ask that - because we’re here to tell you exactly that story, of the Diamond in the Coaching Rough.
[SCENE: the Athletic Department offices of an unnamed Power 5 team that might have a coaching vacancy soon. In order to obtain access for this story, we promised that we would remove all identifying information about the school, which has not yet severed their relationship with their current coach]
JACK SWARBRICK: Okay, so who are we going to hire to replace Brian Kelly?
ASSISTANT: Gosh, I don’t know. The fans here at the University of Notre Dame are going to demand a big name. I had figured we’d wait a year and grab PJ Fleck from Western Michigan, but he’s going to be highly unlikely to leave Minnesota after one year.
SWARBRICK: What about Urban Meyer?
ASSISTANT: He’s not going to want to give up playing Michigan each year.
ASSISTANT: You know, there is someone. Hear me out here - we typically go for the big-name hire. Brian Kelly was a shooting star coming out of Cincinnati. Charlie Weis had the flashy NFL resume. Tyrone Willingham had a solid record of performance at Stanford. George O’Leary’s resume was great.
SWARBRICK: And none of it’s worked.
ASSISTANT: Exactly. Now, I’ve just found out about this coach - he’s never coached a single game of organized football. Never even seen one. Not sure he knows what a football is. But I think he’s got all the traits necessary to be hugely successful as a college coach.
SWARBRICK: Tell me more.
ASSISTANT: He’s young.
SWARBRICK: Like PJ Fleck!
ASSISTANT: He’s driven.
SWARBRICK: Like PJ Fleck!
ASSISTANT: A machine, almost.
SWARBRICK: Now that we’re talking about this, I’m not sure why we didn’t fire Brian Kelly this year and hire PJ Fleck. We went 4-8 last year.
ASSISTANT: He’s well-connected to the hip-hop culture that recruits relate to.
SWARBRICK: Like Tom Herman!
ASSISTANT: He’s a fast, voracious learner. Can pick up a new system in a matter of days. Want to run the Air Raid this week, and a triple-option next week? He could make that transition in a day.
SWARBRICK: Wow. Any concerns?
ASSISTANT: He did die once, but he came back from the dead.
SWARBRICK: Urban Meyer for half the price!
ASSISTANT: He’s got an incredible propensity for violence and cruelty when the situation merits it.
SWARBRICK: Schiano did things at Rutgers no one before or since has been able to.
ASSISTANT: He does not have a good relationship with the local police force.
SWARBRICK: We’re hiring a coach for Notre Dame, not Florida State.
ASSISTANT: He’s potentially deeply haunted by the things he’s experienced in his short life so far.
SWARBRICK: We once hired one of Bill Belichick’s assistants, we can talk him through that. Anyways, this guy seems perfect. He’s exactly what we need. I’m prepared to offer him a 10-year contract. Why hasn’t any other program snapped him up yet? Where’s he been?
ASSISTANT: Johannesburg, South Africa.
SWARBRICK: Oh, wow. Can we fly him in for a meeting?
ASSISTANT: He’s in the waiting room now. [presses buzzer on desk] Send him in.
SWARBRICK: Who... who is that?
ASSISTANT: [leans in, whispers] That’s Chappie.