In early December, Troy Calhoun put to rest any anxieties at the Air Force Academy surrounding his interest and subsequent departure for the Denver Broncos head coaching job with a statement pledging his commitment to the Falcons for the upcoming 2011 season.
Count me as one who was surprised. I thought the Broncos were a great fit for Coach Calhoun, and vice versa.
However, I do think Calhoun would and eventually will leave the Academy for the "right fit." If you ask me, that fit is Stanford, who is now looking for a head coach with Jim Harbaugh departing for the NFL.
Calhoun would be ideal for Stanford for the following reasons:
1) Recruiting Restrictions - Troy has conquered this for years at the Academy. He brings in VERY good football players who can also compete at a high level in the classroom. Stanford and the Air Force Academy are VERY comparable in the type of student that they demand. If Calhoun can get "players" at AFA, imagine the type of kid he could bring to Palo Alto.
2) Isolation - Coach Calhoun is very sheltered/isolated from the spectacle of college football at the Academy. He is allowed to do his job without too much media distraction or loud, irrational fans trying to get into his business. The Academy, because its "higher missions," is a very different animal to cover from a media standpoint than your "average" college football team . I think Troy loves being left alone to do his job, make positive influence kids and win football games without the glow of the media spotlight. Stanford would be very similar to AFA. It is left alone, for the most part, by the Bay Area media. And the fanfare is not over-the-top (like Tennessee or the Denver Broncos)... look no further than the schools inability to fill a small stadium during the best season in school history(which is a big part of why Harbaugh left in my opinion).
3) BCS Access - This is pretty obvious. You can win a national championship at Stanford. The Cardinal was one bad half of football away from playing in the BCS title this season. Plus, he'd have Andrew Luck as his quarterback. Enough said. Air Force, at it's very best, would be afforded a BCS Bowl Bid (maybe????), and that's it. Stanford could be the last team standing with the right coach in place to succeed Jim Harbaugh.
4) NFL Prospect - Troy Calhoun will be an NFL coach some day. I am positive of this. A former NFL General Manager once told me it's not a matter of if, but when. I believe he COULD make the jump from Air Force to an NFL head coaching job, but it's much easier to do it from Stanford. Dennis Green, Bill Walsh and now Jim Harbaugh both have proven it can be done.
I believe Troy Calhoun when he says he is fully committed to the Air Force Academy. He lights up when talking about the kids he recruits and has an opportunity to work with on a daily basis. He may stay in Colorado Springs forever... which would be great for the AFA and for me. He is an outstanding person who's positive energy is infectious. However, the day may come where an opportunity is too good to pass up and I wouldn't blame him one bit if he decided the "right fit" for him personally and professionally is in Pall Alto, California.