The longest weekend in the lives of Tim Welsh and Jack Hayes is over. The day of reckoning is imminent, if not already here. Within the next 48 hours, Welsh’s fate at Hofstra should be sealed, one way or the other.
The question this morning, as Welsh prepares for a meeting with Stuart Rabinowitz, is whether or not the last 48 hours were enough to save his job following his arrest for drunken driving early Friday morning.
The timing of the arrest, at least, benefitted everyone and gives Welsh a better shot at strolling the sidelines this fall. If you’re going to have to deal with bad news, the day to do it is on a Friday. And the weekend gave the powers-that-be at Hofstra two valuable non-workdays (in the traditional sense, anyway) to fully focus on the decision and to allow the rawest of emotions to fade—and, of course, gave Welsh two days to present his case for retention, as he seemed to do when he told Steve Marcus of Newsday that his arrest could be a “teaching moment.”
On Friday, I thought nothing could save Welsh and that any delay of his dismissal was a matter of due process and Hofstra exercising caution to make sure there were no loose ends that could be exploited by Welsh’s legal team once he was fired. But the vibe I’ve been getting this weekend is that Hayes—whether out of a sense of compassion for Welsh, a desire to bring some stability to a program that has endured a tumultuous month, a sense of self-preservation or, likely, some combination thereof—is looking for a reason to keep him.
Of course, just like with the death of football, Hayes may not have a voice in the matter. Nothing will save Welsh if Rabinowitz is standing in front of a mirror this morning, trying on bad blonde toupees and doing his best Donald Trump.
If Welsh is going to be fired, I wonder if an announcement will be delayed until Hayes can find Welsh’s replacement. I wonder how much of these last 48 hours have been spent interviewing/seeking out other candidates. Revealing Welsh’s replacement the same day he’s fired would minimize the news cycle and allow Hofstra to immediately spin Welsh’s exit as a new beginning instead of an embarrassing ending.
My guess is that Welsh has a chance at saving his job this morning, that the new coach can still avoid becoming the ex-coach. But if it were up to me, there’d be two insurmountable hurdles for Welsh:
—The severity of the charges against Welsh. This clearly was not a matter of a couple drinks with dinner, or someone with a sub-0.10 BAC having the misfortune of getting nailed on a five-minute trip back to Hofstra. It’s inconceivable to me that Welsh could be dining at City Cellar and end up in Levittown on his way back to his on-campus apartment.
—The “I didn’t have someone’s phone number” defense Welsh gave to Marcus on Saturday. Welsh has been here a month. I find it hard to believe he didn’t have Hayes’ cell and office numbers stored in his cell phone. Even so, handing over to his lawyers the task of calling Hofstra (516-HOF-STRA) or sending an email to Hayes would have sufficed. This is 2010, the age of instant information and communication. There is no excuse, none, for Hofstra finding out about his arrest from the news media. That made a bad and embarrassing situation even worse.
It’s no fun declaring someone should lose his job, especially for those of us that have been on the wrong end of a boot in the ass. I also get that America is all about second (and third) chances. And it’s easier to give Welsh that second chance since, thank goodness, Welsh was arrested before he could hurt anyone else. No one will wonder why Welsh gets a second chance that eludes the person or people whose lives were forever altered Thursday night.
Welsh deserves that second chance. I just think it’s best for everyone if it happens somewhere else.