What do you do when someone that you’ve entrusted to teach young men and to operate a critical part of your operation fails you?
What do you do when they not only fail you, but their family, fellow coaches, and the players upon whom they’ve implanted the concepts of personal accountability and hard work?
That’s Mike Riley’s & Shawn Eichorst’s biggest issue. The two men who will make the determination of the fate of Nebraska WR coach Keith Williams.
It’s one thing to get arrested for Driving Under the Influence, as Williams did Sunday morning at 9th and N streets in Lincoln. People make mistakes, no matter how much you wish for someone to be squeaky clean.
It’s another thing to make the same mistake three times. This is Williams’ third DUI arrest. The prior ones were at the very least eight years ago.
Per public records, Nebraska WR coach Keith Williams most recent citations (nature not specified) happened in 2008, 2006 & 2004.— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) August 14, 2016
There are a fair amount of folks that think Nebraska should fire KW, and justifiably so. A man that has put himself and others in danger not once, but three times in his life, should know better. Plain and simple, it’s a selfish move not to think so.
Uber is cheaper than a DUI. So is a hotel room at Embassy Suites. Hell, falling asleep in a car is better, albeit not the best way. The best way is not to pick up a drink if you still have your keys.
It’s time to play what if. What if, per se, Nebraska tells KW to hit bricks. I guess I can say that it’s not the best way for Nebraska to handle this, but it’s a feasible option. Does KW pick up his life and go somewhere else in a couple years? Absolutely. Folks love rehabilitation stories, and a motivated Williams goes somewhere to recruit, coach and teach his story to others.
No one had a opinion about Keith being a “bad hire” before Sunday around noon. Then, all of a sudden, many people didn’t understand how having Williams in the fold for two DUI’s was possible. However, if you look, 99% of those people also didn’t know that Williams had those two convictions till they found out about the third.
On the other hand, it can be one of those famous lines from Apollo 13, where Gene Cranz told Mission Control that, when there was no bright light at the end of the tunnel, to make one.
There are many folks that think that one “strike”, that being Williams DUI while at Nebraska, isn’t a killer for Williams’ career in Lincoln. Williams will come back from this, and they want him to do it while recruiting, coaching and leading Husker players.
One of the only ways that this can happen is that KW has to own what he’s done 110%, period. Put the booze down, get to AA, admit you screwed up. You own it not only to your players that you preach accountability, but also your co-workers on the staff recruits, and their parents.
This has to be the lowest moment of Williams life, both professionally and personally. The man will not see the light outside of a jail cell until he’s put in front of everyone in a Lancaster County Courtroom. At that time, Williams can either decide to own what he did or not.
This is an Athletic Department that fired it’s highest profile head coach for the way he treated people. It’s also a AD that fired the most successful Women’s Basketball coach in school history.
Take it from someone that not only had to deal with someone fighting alcoholism as they grew up, but also seeing it every day among others. You may not see it hurt others when you do it time and time again. However, people remember, less and less down the line, but they still remember.
Owning it means living with it every second of every day. It means knowing the situation before you arrive into it. It also means realizing that, even doing all this, it may not matter in the end.
Shawn Eichorst may say once is once too much and dismiss Williams. Eichorst also may just see that a leader truly needs help with his life, and giving him a chance to get it back together in Lincoln. Either way, Keith Williams has to work on himself just as much as he’ll have to work on his professional life.
Will that be in Lincoln? We have no idea. Eichorst and Riley will have to do what they think is best for the Nebraska Football program. It’s not the decision that they wanted to make on a Sunday night or Monday morning, but that is what is in front of them.
No matter what Eichorst and Riley chooses, someone will not be happy with the decision. Which stinks, because bad judgement created a situation that no one wanted to deal with less than 24 hours later.