Robb Akey told The Spokesman-Review this afternoon that he knew his win-loss record at Idaho wasn't good enough. Nonetheless, he didn't expect to get fired Sunday, with four games left in the season. Because he was let go before the end of the year, he won't receive $105,000 of his $375,000 salary — the last of two media payments for the year.
We have more from Akey in our story for the paper. Below we examine Idaho athletic director Rob Spear's comments yesterday about hiring a coach that brings discipline and accountablity to the program — and Akey's response to his remarks.
During a brief meeting with reporters yesterday, Spear was asked if he wants a coach with head coaching experience. He answered the question by delving into the “characteristics” he's looking for in a hire:
I think the most important things are the characteristics that we want. Obviously we want somebody from a successful program. I want somebody that understands the Northwest and is going to be able to recruit the Northwest. I want somebody who’s going to be able to recruit a high character kid. I want them to hold them accountable. And I want discipline in the program. So those would be the characteristics. And I don’t think you need to say it has to be a former or current head coach. It could be an up-and-coming assistant. I think we’re going to be very open in this process.
Perhaps Spear was speaking generally about what he wants in the new coach, but he appeared to be taking a subtle dig at Akey. The Vandals had a number of discipline-related issues crop up this year under Akey — most notably personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties (including three in one game from QuayShawne Buckley). Quarterback Dominique Blackman was suspended for an undisclosed issue to start the year, and starting defensive end Benson Mayowa missed a game and a half for disciplinary reasons.
Asked if these issues contributed to his firing, Akey said, “(Spear) told me it was because we didn’t win. And on the field was the deal. As a coach, that’s what they told me when I was hired on. You’ve got 105 kids that are growing up. Are some of them going to have some issues? Yeah, some of them are. I think we’ve got a good group of kids. Do they make some mistakes once in awhile? I don’t think it’s that bad of a deal.”
Akey continued by talking about the bond he's forged with his players.
“I’d like to see them all grow up,” he said. “And that’s … part of what hurts about not being to finish — not being able to be there for them as they go through this. I hurt most for the players. I think with our staff and our players we had a pretty strong relationship.”
Here are Akey's thoughts on a few other notable topics: