Feb 21 / Todd

JMU Catfished, Mumme Not Coming

We’ve been drawing a line between hopeful, excited tweets and actually going crazy covering the Hal Mumme to JMU as OC story here on the blog for a month out of fear it wouldn’t work out.  Something just seemed fishy, we hoped not Lennay Kekua fishy, but today we found out what it was.  According to Matthew Stoss’ enlightening article in the Daily News Record today, Mumme literally left an assistant sent to pick him up waiting at the airport and forced JMU to look like the second-rate outfit they’re rapidly becoming by reannouncing the job posting for Offensive Coordinator.  Apparently, Mumme, the offensive innovator behind the pass-heavy Air Raid offensive attack, will be announced next week as the OC at a BCS school.  Presumably this is for significantly more money and obviously this comes with more prestige.  (But we’re still damned skeptical that it will be a non-BCS FBS school in which case this rant will be back with a whole new level of venom aimed at our own folks).

As always, there are two ways of looking at the story, but I’m afraid in either case, on some level JMU looks like a bunch of buffoons.  There are no words for the levels of incompetence displayed here and how silly it makes us fans feel for hoping the Dukes have better days ahead.

You could choose to look at this story as the dude pulled a huge but financially understandable dick-move, and that JMU’s only mistake was leaking this thing out before everything was signed, sealed, and delivered.  But that’s still a huge mistake in and of itself.  And even if a few of the truest believers in the power of the purple koolaid would like to revise the last few weeks and claim Mumme’s track record is considerably less stellar than we’ve all made it out to be, no one can deny that this is a program in need of a major injection of different.  Just different.  And now Mickey’s last hail mary has failed miserably.  (Doesn’t seem out of the question that there are those in the administration and in the fanbase who aren’t sad about this by the way)

Or….you could react like most fans already frustrated by JMU’s utter lack of leadership in athletics and find yourself torn between delirious laughter and shaking your fists.  It’s nearly impossible to understand how a large, growing state university with nearly a decade of ascendancy fading quickly in the rear view would invest millions in facilites upgrades and unjustified hype while remaining unable to handle basic infrastructure decisions required to run a decent athletic program including but certainly not limited to closing a deal with an exciting assistant coach, holding Mickey accountable, and charting a course for conference stability. (This list might also include having the stones to not leave coaches in lame-duck status by actually making a decision and not losing bids to host playoff games in your new football palace to Eastern f*ckin’ Kentucky, and deciding not to hold a large graduation ceremony in your new stadium after that was a huge selling point for building it, but we’re trying to keep this focused on football in its current state).

Hope all those freshmen wide receivers the Dukes just signed don’t mind a larger set of shoulder pads so they’ll be ready to block on 3rd and long!

Oh yeah, one more thing, don’t have the Duke Club calling alums to solicit more money tonight when you just looked like an idiot.  Needless to say, those calls were not well-received in either of our households this evening.  Get it together you clowns!


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  1. Steve / Feb 22 2013

    At least he waited until after signing day.

    It always seems a stretch to get a high level coordinator on an FCS budget. 100k is just not all that much for a good established coach. I figured he was doing it for a season or 2 to have fun with an old friend MM.

    It will be interesting to see what plan B is.

  2. Shady_P / Feb 22 2013

    Forget coaching – my problem is at the very top of the athletic department – I want Jeff Bourne gone. He is a joke and has to be a laughing stock in at the very least CAA circles. How can we have a cohesive athletic program with that joker pulling the strings. This Mumme situation just opens up all of his previous bonehead moves for greater scrutiny.

    Seriously JMU football looks like an absolute joke right now. We cannot even freakin hire an offensive coordinator. I think Mumme just used JMU to help get a better offer somewhere else and that is ok, if he does not want to be here f’em and worst of luck to him wherever he winds up.

    Lets go get some youngish coach (under 40) to direct our offense and QBs with autonomy. Get someone with something to prove who will open up the offense. We have the athletes to do it, just take the reins off of our offensive players and let them do it.

  3. Rob / Feb 22 2013

    Shady_P, I’m usually the one who tries to take the long view and trust the administration is doing more than we realize, but this situation has me as frustrated as everyone else. Mostly because it just sucks. Still though, I will return to my standard long view of things, as it pertains to Jeff Bourne. You yourself state that you think Mumme used JMU to help get a better offer. The guy agreed in principle then continued to shop his services around and bolted for a better offer. That sucks, but it’s not the AD’s fault. If anyone should shoulder blame at JMU, it’s Mickey. He was told to go hire someone, he went after a friend, and then evidently couldn’t close the deal. It was his move. I still put most of the blame on Mumme not keeping his word, but after that it was Mickey’s job to hire himself an OC.

  4. 2004Duke / Feb 22 2013

    “Needless to say, those calls were not well-received in either of our households this evening.”


  5. 2004Duke / Feb 22 2013




  6. JT2001 / Feb 22 2013

    The lack of leadership from the administration is astounding. Just the sheer amount of money spent in the last decade on facilities alone should dictate a more serious and aggressive philosophy toward expanding the athletics profile for JMU but what has been perpetrated over the last several years screams of ineptitude. I truly believe there is some level of fear involved as all decisions lately seem based on avoiding making bad decisions that get people fired. Absence of clear vision and execution is profoundly more negligent than simple bad decisions. Do SOMETHING! Stop sitting around and letting everything happen to you and get out there and LEAD you jackasses.

  7. 2004Duke / Feb 22 2013

    To be honest, Hal Mumme is like MM’s lost twin brother. They both have that laughable texas arrogance thing going on. Having the two of them on the same sideline might have birthed a personality black hole so powerful it would suck in and destroy all life as we know it.

    …And I really didn’t see how the Hawaii/Houston/Texas Tech throw-it-65-times-for-700-yards was going to mesh with MM’s 1924 Notre Dame 4 Horsemen 3 (really more like 2) yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust mentality. Just saying.

  8. JT2001 / Feb 22 2013

    The true beauty of the Mumme hiring was that Mickey was going to have to turn it all over to him. Mumme wasn’t coming here to watch his QB throw an interception and them have Mickey decide to run the ball the rest of the game. Mumme had the stature and respect that Mickey’s meddling and small-minded offensive philosophy couldn’t challenge. Now we’re almost certainly stuck with some no-name, non-respected OC who won’t be in position to truly make-over the offense as it needs.

  9. '83 Grad / Feb 22 2013

    I’m not sure what seems to be driving this entire coach transition. I’m told that Newsome had been in the building weeks before we announced his hire and that we also have a new DL coach already meeting with players, not yet made public. When the Mumme deal hit weeks ago without anything official being announced…as each week passed you could begin to sense that something wasn’t quite right.
    Now, several weeks away from Spring Practice starting we have no offensive direction. I guess the latest rumor is son of Mumme? Nice…..

  10. Shady_P / Feb 22 2013

    I am just frustrated that here is it almost 3 months after the season is over with Spring football right around the corner and we do not have an Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach. How the hell is Spring Practice supposed to even work then on offense? How can anyone on the existing coaching staff work with the kids to put in a new offense to take advantage of Birdsong’s arm when there is no idea what Jack-Leg will actually be the OC and what type of offense he will want to install……OH that’s right, it’s f’ing impossible so either we will see another crappy season of the zone blocking – read option – pistol formation POS offense that goes to the shotgun on 4th and anything less than a yard with no fullback OR They will try to install a new offense in August……This has all the making of a disasterous 2013 season.

    The reason I blame Bourne is b/c he is an arrogant dumbass that is just as stubborn as MM plus he reminds me of a used car salesmen, named ‘Slick’. On top of that MM got the guy he wanted then Bourne could not get the paperwork done via the atheltic department to finalize the deal. It is simple once you get your guy, the guy you want, you wrap him up…..put yourself on the other side of the equation well they told me I go the job but have not seen any paperwork yet – am i just supposed to take their work for it that we are good and sit here with my thumb up my a$$.

  11. Deacon Danny / Feb 22 2013

    Hal had better update is Wikipedia page and remove JMU OC from his current position and take his lifetime mediocre record of 135-119-1 somewhere else that gives a crap. I had previouly raised an eyebrow at some of the less than stellar seasons he has had in the past but was willing to look past it if it meant opening up the Offense and airing it out. What sucks is that now we are at the back of the line looking for available OCs.

  12. Todd / Feb 22 2013

    To the extent this was held up becaus of Virginia state job posting requirements, I’m okay with it. This isn’t Alabama or Pennsyltucky, where state officials kowtow to name schools. It’s not too hard, though, to surmise that this came about because JMU officials lackadaisically assumed it was all done, and Mumme, with offer in hand, quietly shopped for a better gig.

    I’m still not sure this has to be completely terrible. Mickey still has to win this year to stay, and the scent of debacle wafting off this still might convince him that he can’t just promote himself or some schmoe on the staff.

  13. Rob / Feb 22 2013

    What Todd said regarding Virginia state requirements.

    I’m still incredibly disappointed, but this isn’t on Bourne in my opinion. I share many of your frustrations Shady_P, but I have it on good authority that many of the decisions we all blame on Bourne, weren’t actually made by him. And that really ticks me off. If the powers that be signed off on massive (and costly) expansion, then I think they should give the athletics department a little more freedom to make changes. I’ll deal with it if JMU stays FCS. I’ll just question why the hell we invested so much to do it.

  14. Jason / Feb 22 2013

    Everything Shady_P has said. It is impossible for me to agree more with everything he has said.

  15. '83 Grad / Feb 22 2013

    The argument that these hiring delays are the result of being a state school just don’t pass the smell test. If that’s the case, how does London replace / hire a new OC one day after losing Lazor? Remember this?

    Just one day after losing offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, UVA football coach Mike London has already found Lazor’s replacement.

    Virginia has hired Steve Fairchild to be the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

  16. Shady_P / Feb 22 2013

    ’83 Grad you are 100% correct. It is just a plain smoke screen/BS session by the Athletic Department at JMU and I am not eating the shit sandwiches they are selling. I am tired of them covering up the ineptitiude in the athletic department…..is no one accountable over there?

    This is just ridiculous. We are going to wind up with head football coach from Harrisonburg HS as our OC and at this rate maybe by graduation.

  17. 2004Duke / Feb 23 2013

    “The reason I blame Bourne is b/c he is an arrogant dumbass that is just as stubborn as MM plus he reminds me of a used car salesmen, named ‘Slick’. ”

    I totally disagree with this. Bourne never liked MM… Linwood Rose is the only reason MM kept his job this long. If you notice, as soon as Dr. Rose was gone, Jeff Bourne told MM, in almost as many words: “Either compete for a national championship or you are fired.” I won’t make any excuses for eastern-kentucky-gate (Epic Fail), however aside from that, I think Jeff Bourne has been a fantastic AD. You have got to remember how crappy everything at JMU was when he arrived. The football program was crap, the basketball programs were crap, the baseball program was “meh”… Now we have a sweet stadium, a decent team (6-5 starts the “fire mickey” chant), a hoops team that actually shows up a couple times a week, a SWEET women’s team, and a very good baseball program, also with a sweet stadium.

    I will say the jury is still out on this FCS/FBS thing, but that is a decision that involves the Board of Trustees, and a lot more people than just Jeff Bourne. I can tell you that back in 2004/2005 Jeff was very involved in a plan to move to the FBS in 10 years by creating a new conference consisting of a collection of FCS, C-USA and Big East teams. Texas and ODU may have torpedoed that whole thing, though. Point is- the man definately doesn’t just sit around and wait for things to happen.

  18. Shady_P / Feb 23 2013

    I always respect what 2004Duke says and the unique insight he brings. However, everyone including me is all over the decisions MM has made during his string of mediocre 6-5 seasons. But someone has to take the heat for the bigger decisions that are above MM. These decisions or lack there of have a direct impact with what you see on the field/court. I am sick of everyone just tossing up their hands and saying oh well, its not a big deal we will get it done right next time and no one getting put on the spot. I don’t care if its the AD, President, or Board of Trustees – the buck has to stop somewhere in Wilson Hall, that’s all I am saying.

  19. Todd / Feb 23 2013

    Shady – I’m with you on that and despite my meandering in the original post (brought on by my boiling-over frustration) that’s really what I was getting it. There’s plenty of blame to go around for each of the decisions we’re all so disappointed in the last five years, but the apparent lack of direction, vision, and leadership on athletics all the way up the chain is what allows for all the blame-shifting and abdication among the lower players (i.e. coaches).

    On another note, huge thanks to all of you for contributing so thoughtfully to the conversation. We are constantly humbled by the level of discussion that has developed on here and always thankful that you all appreciate having another forum for Dukes talk as much as we do!

  20. Rob / Feb 23 2013

    This is one of the aspects of JMU sports where Todd and I have divergent opinions. I was initially very disappointed and frustrated by the Mumme news, but I’m over it. And I’ve got no issue with the way it was handled. Mickey, Bourne, and JMU took a shot at a Hail Mary with Mumme. I’m glad they went for it, but money talks. And JMU just doesn’t have enough of it. I guess you could dismiss the difference in salary as “just a few hundred thousand” or convince yourself that it’s just a drop in the bucket for an athletic department that spends around $30M/year. The fact is though that the difference exceeded the annual operating budgets for every team on campus save both hoops teams and football. For the latest reporting year (2011-2012) JMU spent $1,058,940 on salary for every assistant coach of all the men’s teams combined. I’m sure costs have risen since then, but I don’t see any way JMU could feasible pay one assistant coach $400,000 which is what SMU is rumored to be paying Mumme. And JMU never said one word about the Mumme recruitment. It was all leaked. It would be one thing if Bourne, Mickey, or someone else made a statement saying they had Mumme. But they didn’t. Word got out they were making a play for him and it didn’t work out.

    So call me a Bourne apologist, lemming, etc. To me though it doesn’t seem like anybody did anything wrong. My only real issue with the Athletic Dept is the fact that we consistently hear stories of Bourne getting over-ruled. Hopefully that will change with Alger though. If not, then that’s a problem that has to be addressed.

    And here’s the budget data I used: http://tinyurl.com/afl7ozs

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