Why Would Auburn’s Best Recruiter Not Be Returning In 2017?
This is the time of year for the collegiate coaching carousel to be swirling. And there have been some surprise changes among the SEC coaching ranks in recent days.
First, came news that LSU had relieved wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig of his duties the day after national signing day. Then Nick Saban and Steve Sarkisian parted ways after Sarkisian served just one game as the Tide’s offensive coordinator. Now in the last 24 hours we’ve learned that Georgia has released former Auburn great and Hall of Famer, Tracey Rocker, and Auburn’s tight ends and special teams coach, Scott Fountain, will not be returning as an on-field coach for the Tigers.
Three of the four are surprise moves by the respective head coaches. Craig, Rocker, and Fountain are considered among the conference’s best recruiters, but it is clear that a coach’s prowess as a recruiter does not carry sufficient weight in a decision to retain him.
In Fountain’s case, he has been a force in the Tigers five consecutive Top 10 recruiting classes. In fact, many consider him the best recruiter on the Tiger staff. 247Sports placed him as the No. 23 recruiter in their national rankings. So why would he be reassigned or possibly let go?
It could be connected to Gus Malzahn’s turning the offense over to Chip Lindsey, Auburn’s new offensive coordinator. Lindsey has said he plans to incorporate tight ends more in his Tiger offense. And while Fountain did a exceptional job with the special teams, the tight end production left a lot to be desired. Since, Malzahn and Lashlee didn’t utilize tight ends much, it may seem unfair to blame him for that lack of production. However, fair or not, it happened on his watch.
It is also possible that Gus may have given Lindsey the green light to bring in someone he is more comfortable with as most coordinators prefer to have a hand in picking their own staff.
Fountain did a good job in his previous position (from 2009–2012) as director of player personnel. And it would be nice if Auburn could retain him in some similar capacity. But since he waited for a long time to have an opportunity at an on-field position, that scenario seems unlikely. Look for Scott Fountain to get on with another program.