The holidays are upon us, and I can't help but feeling there is a little Dickens in this story, but maybe that's only because I spent three hours stringing Christmas lights in my front yard yesterday. That and celebrating a 65 to 51 beatdown of the hated Nebraska Cornhuskers by my alma mater, the University of Colorado Buffaloes. Today, Bill Callahan becomes the ex-coach of Nebraska. "As a former coach this is a role I really don't like. I hate to sit in judgment of other people. I never envisioned being in a situation where I would have to make a decision on somebody's employment opportunity, but that's the nature of this business." These were the words of former Cornhusker Coach, interim Athletic Director, and semi-major Nebraskan demigod Tom Osborne said at a news conference dismissing Coach Callahan. This was also coming from the man who won 255 games and three national championships in 25 seasons before retiring after the 1997 season. He retired. He was not retired.
Now I have some time to work up some sympathy for Bill. Even though he has been the coach of two of the great Satans in my sports world view, Nebraska and the Oakland Raiders, I can't help but feel bad when anybody loses a job in America. It reminds me of an old Bobcat Goldthwait bit: "I lost my job. Well, I know where my job is. It's just that when I get there, some other guy is doin' it." And that's the nature of the coaching biz, I suppose. But that doesn't keep me from feeling just a twinge of sadness as the Callahan era comes to a close. Just a twinge, mind you, since that decision will cost the University of Nebraska more than three million dollars to buy up his contract. Maybe things will work out after all. Maybe Bill can get a job coaching another dreaded red and white team, the Fairview High Knights.