Glanville has improved and mellowed
THERE was deja vu all over the place on the Hawaii sideline, that night. Jerry Glanville could hear the words coming out of June Jones' mouth almost as soon as his words were coming out of his own.
"He (Jones) goes, 'I've heard this before ...' " Glanville says.
Oh, how he has. Glanville being Glanville. There he goes again.
Two Hawaii defenders had committed the unforgivable sin of letting a tight end catch a pass between double coverage, that night, and Glanville was going to cut the guys, right there, right then. On the spot. Seriously: "You (blankety blanks), you're gone."
And then Glanville heard Jones saying how this took him back. The last time they rode together. The old days. The NFL.
It's become almost a running joke between them, Jones' way of reminding him once again that this is college football now, you can't cut these guys, this is who you have. You have to coach them, grow with them. Make them better.
And Glanville's done that, at Hawaii.
Oh, how he has.
GLANVILLE HAS worked miracles, these past two seasons. Hawaii is tackling again, hitting. UH brings the thunder now. You can feel it. You can see it. His presence has uplifted this program. His defense is the difference between UH being merely pretty good and having the season it has had.
He's made these guys better. Everybody knows that.
But there's something even better happening, in this story. Something beyond the surface, behind the shades. Are you ready?
"I'm really probably a better coach than I've ever been," Glanville says.
You see, it's happened the other way around, too. These people. This place. These players that he'd been stuck with, rather than been able to replace via the waiver wire, they've coached him, too. Grown with him. Made him better, too.
"I actually think now I wish I'd'a been this good the last time I was in pro football," he says.
He's a different guy, this time around.
"I think I'm better, I think I'm more ... tolerable," he says.
That's the best part, the best thing about this story. But it's also the part you might miss if you're not
looking closely, the part that from afar you might not quite get.
You'd think that with Hawaii's defensive transformation, with Glanville's comeback complete, that he'd be on the receiving end of some interest for some head-coaching job or another. But no.
"I told you my favorite country song," he says.
Which one is that?
" 'If the Phone's Not Ringing, It's Probably For Me.' "
It's a laugh line. But it's funny for a reason.
"I haven't got any calls," Glanville says. "In fact I checked with the phone company yesterday to see if it was hooked up, and unfortunately it was."
That's surprising. But then, no, it isn't. There's still a lot of cynicism out there when it comes to Glanville. (I've had several media people tell me that the perception nationally was that Glanville's comeback to coaching was a "publicity stunt." Uh, yeah, as an assistant in the WAC -- good plan.)
But this isn't the same guy we saw on TV, talking and dressing and acting like he was headed for a gunfight, so many years ago. No, he's past all that, he's different; humble.
He's made these Hawaii players better, but they've made him better, too.
"In pro football," he says, "I probably had -- I had no patience. One thing the island teaches you, everybody has patience. Even driving. I find myself letting somebody cut in front of me. Which on the mainland, I woulda wrecked 'im."
He's a different guy, this time around.
He's a better coach.
"They just learn so much," he says. How? "If you think you're a teacher, then you see people learn."
Jerry Glanville. Teacher.
And so they've grown together, he and these players. Graduation was Sunday, and he had some guys walk. This week his wife and son are here for the bowl. It's a pretty good life, being a college coach. Would he like his own team? Probably. But until it happens -- or if it never does -- the new Jerry Glanville is just having fun being better than he's ever been.
"I think I'll just keep doing this until June fires me," he says. "Which is just about every day."
Don't worry. That's just another running joke. Jerry being Jerry. We've heard this before.