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Danny Ford: Don’t Call It A Comeback




In the past we’ve written that South Carolina’s bloated, corrupt, dysfunctional and inefficient state government “never met an expense it didn’t like.”

Turns out we were wrong. Apparently there’s one expense it doesn’t like: The creation of a football program at Francis Marion College (an entity which we believe should be immediately privatized along with the rest of our state’s duplicative system of higher education).

At least it doesn’t like that expense … yet.

According to a story in The Florence Morning News, an alumni of the government-run institution believes his alma mater is being “left in the dust” by fellow government-run schools like Coastal Carolina and the College of Charleston – a regional envy which forms the basis for hundreds of millions of dollars in appropriations at the state level each year.

To compensate for this deficiency, the alum – William Breazeale – is proposing that Francis Marion spend millions of dollars annually on fielding a football team, following in the footsteps of other small-time taxpayer-funded institutions.

He’s also got a head coach in mind: Former Clemson University head coach Danny Ford, who posted a 96-29-4 record (including a national title and five conference championships) during his twelve-year stint in Tigertown from 1978-89.

Of course Ford’s program ran into trouble with the NCAA following its 1981 national title – and again following the 1989 season, forcing Ford to resign his post at the ripe old age of 41 years.

In 1992, Ford was hired by Arkansas athletics director Frank Broyles – but posted a disappointing 26-30-1 mark in five years in Fayetteville as the Razorbacks adjusted to the rigors of SEC competition. Still, Ford’s recruiting success helped enable his successor, Houston Nutt, to post a pair of Top Twenty finishes in the years immediately following his departure.

So … is this going to happen?

No … having just blown $11 million on new facilities for the school’s totally unnecessary athletics programs, Francis Marion’s leaders are (for now) pouring cold water on the notion.

That’s not stopping Breazeale, though, who has formed a committee  and is planning to launch a website in support of his hare-brained scheme.  He’s also enlisting the help of the local government-run K-12 schools – whose football teams he says could play their home games at a proposed $25 million taxpayer-funded stadium.

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