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Presenting ... Mad Mack: Fury Rhoades

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The following is a creative re-imagining of Mack Rhoades’ interview process during the search for Missouri’s next head football coach.

Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

(Tom Herman enters, exchanges a familiar hug with Mack, like old friends)

Mack Rhoades: Tom! How's it going, buddy?

Tom Herman: Oh, things are great! How's the new job?

MR: It's grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat! (big, stupid smile)

TH: Oh, yeah because it's the Tigers...

(awkward silence)

MR: So how's H-Town?

TH: Doing really well. We're in the AAC championship next weekend, I don't know if you saw.

MR: I did! Congratulations! You're earning quite a name for yourself down there.

TH: You could say that.

MR: But what if I told you that you could take that next step? Coach an SEC program? Take the reins from one of the most respected coaches in the country?

TH: I gotta be honest with you, Mack. I appreciate the opportunity you gave me at Houston, but I'm starting to think maybe I should stick it out here for another few years. Prove I can build a consistent winner. I might be able to get one of the premier job openings when they open up.

MR: Oh, so you don't consider Missouri a premier job opening?

TH: It's not that...

MR: It's just that you're ungrateful for what I did for you last year.

TH: I just said -

MR: HA! Just messing with you man.

TH: ...

MR: But seriously, let's get down to business. What will it take to get you, Tom Herman, to coach in Columbia, Missouri?

TH: Mack, I just thought you called me here to catch up. If you're just gonna pitch me another job opening, I think it'd be best for me to get back to coaching my team.

MR: Alright. So I'll talk to you after the weekend?

TH: No, Mack, are you listening -

MR: Loud and clear, buddy! Talk to you Sunday!

(Mack buries his face in a binder full of applications while Tom awkwardly stands and leaves)

***

(Matt Rhule enters, shakes Mack's hand)

Matt Rhule: Hi.

MR: Hey, Matt. How are you today?

Rhule: You know. Owl be alright.

MR: What?

Rhule: Owl be alright. Owl. Like ‘I'll.'

MR: Okay...so you've had a pretty good season at Temple.

Rhule: Sure have. AAC Championship game this Saturday. Fly, Owls, fly. Hoot hoot!

MR: ...

Rhule: Hoot hoot.

MR: ...

(Rhule perches on his seat, opens his eyes wide like an owl. Scans the room, ‘hooting' every few seconds)

MR: ...I think we're going to go in a different direction. Thanks, Matt.

Rhule: You know what. Now that I think about it, I don't think I can accept your offer.

MR: Pardon?

Rhule: I appreciate the fact that you want me for this position, but I think I really, really like being an Owl.

MR: I didn't offer you the position.

Rhule: Sure you didn't.

(Rhule continues perching)

MR: Can you please leave?

***

(Mack pores over applications. The door CREAKS open. Mack looks up to see Matt Wells stepping in.)

Matt Wells: Hello!

MR: Hi... Can I help you?

MW: I'm here to interview for the Missouri position?

MR: ...you are?

MW: Yeah, I heard you were interested.

MR: Oh. Well... I'm not.

MW: Oh.

MR: Yeah.

(Wells scratches his head while Mack avoids his gaze.)

MW: Well... see you around.

MR: Yeah, uhm, have a nice day.

***

(Sonny Dykes enters, shakes Mack's hand)

MR: Hey, Sonny! How's it going?

Sonny Dykes: Oh, you know. Same as when you interviewed me last year.

MR: Cal still treating you, OK?

SD: Eh, I don't know. I don't think the new AD likes me very much.

MR: Why's that?

SD: Just a gut feeling, ya know? I mean, my record still isn't very good, but we are bowl eligible this year and grades are higher than they've been in a while...

MR: Yeah, but who really cares about grades anymore?

SD: What?

MR: ...

SD: ...

MR: ...so tell me why you think you're the right guy to coach at Missouri?

SD: Well, like I said, my record at Cal isn't that inspiring. But you have to consider that two years ago we only won one game. Then five last year, and seven this year. So we're trending up. Our academic standing is constantly improving. And I know you guys need offensive help. I was a pretty good offensive mind at Texas Tech and Arizona a few years back.

MR: (nods) Yes, yes, it all checks out. You seem like a good fit in a lot of ways. But let me ask you a question.

SD: Okay.

MR: As you know, we've had some tense moments on campus lately, some involving the football team. What kind of...disposition would you say you'd bring to the team?

SD: Disposition?

MR: Yeah, like ‘cheery' or ‘cloudy' or...

SD: Ummm...

MR: Say it...

SD: I'm not sure I understand...

MR: Say it...

SD: Mack, I -

MR: SAY IT.

SD: ...sunny?

MR: (sigh of relief) There. That wasn't so hard was it?

(Mack grins mischievously while Sonny shifts uncomfortably in his seat)

***

(Barry Odom strides into the office, towers over Mack as he shakes his hand.)

MR: Hey, Barry.

Barry Odom: Hey, Mack. How're the interviews going?

MR: You know me. Pretty standard fare. You always get some weirdos.

BO: Sure, sure.

MR: So. Let's just get this out in the open. We all know you were brought here to succeed Gary eventually.

BO: That's what I was told, yes.

MR: But I have to be honest. We weren't counting on Gary retiring this early. So I'm not completely comfortable turning over our Power-5 program to you this early.

BO: Mhmm.

MR: But you've got many of the other things we're looking for. Your players seem to like you, as do the recruits. You're considered a good recruiter and very good defensive mind. You're an alum, and the fans seem to like the idea of keeping you around.

BO: Mhmm.

MR: ...now that I'm reading all this, I forgot why I'm hesitant to hire you.

BO: Mhmm.

MR: Well... I guess it's a done deal. Let's shake on it?

BO: Can I request one thing?

MR: What's that?

BO: Let's wait until the weekend to make it official.

MR: Why would we do that?

BO: Mess with the fans and reporters a little bit.

MR: I can get on board with that.

(The two high five. Roll credits to Bill Withers' "Lovely Day.")