At least now we know what the "L" stands for.
Last week, John L. Smith -- the temp worker posing as the Weber State University head football coach -- stunned the local community with the news that he was so outta here.
Coaches leave football programs all of the time. But usually, they do it AFTER having coached a team. Smith never even presided over a single down of football for Weber State; at least, not one against an actual opponent.
Let's take an in-depth look, such as it is, at the John L. Smith coaching timeline:
December 2011 -- John L. Smith becomes the football coach at Weber State University for the 2012 season.
April 2012 -- John L. Smith becomes the football coach at the University of Arkansas for the 2012 season.
Have I left anything out?
If Hollywood were to make a movie about this, they'd call it "Mr. Smith Goes to Arkansas." It's the inspiring classic underdog sports tale -- a la "Remember the Titans," "Rudy" and "We Are Marshall" -- about a football coach at a small university, faced with the daunting prospect of struggling to get by on a paltry $130,000-a-year salary, who suddenly lands an interim coaching job at a large university for an $850,000 payout.
I tell you, in these difficult economic times, it's enough to make Mitt Romney weep openly.
WSU athletic director Jerry Bovee is proving to be a class act in this awkward situation, saying that he just doesn't have time to be angry at Smith.
Well, Mr. Bovee, since I personally don't have to busy myself with picking up the pieces following the selfish departure of a coach who put personal desires and glory above his student athletes, I have plenty of time on my hands. And I'm perfectly happy to be angry enough for the both of us.
John L. Smith quit a mere 4 1/2 months after accepting the Weber job. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you do realize what that makes him, right? A quitter.
Which should generate some interesting halftime talks out of this guy for the remainder of his illustrious coaching career.
"OK, gentlemen. I know things are looking bleak, but let's remember that a football game isn't just 30 minutes long. So get out there and give it your best shot for the next 4 1/2 minutes, and I'm confident that-- (assistant coach whispers something in his ear). OK, as it turns out, it looks like football games are SIXTY minutes long. Who knew? So get out there for another 30 minutes. Oh, and by the way, I may or may not be on the sidelines when you come off the field. Because, to be honest, there's a big coaching job that just opened up on the East Coast ..."
"Win one for the Gipper" sorta pales in comparison, doesn't it?
What really irks is the cowardly way in which Smith slipped out of town. And the fact that he approached Arkansas officials about the job. And the way he threw his wife under the bus by saying she talked him into it.
Oh, yeah, and then there was that whole giving-back-to-my-alma-mater load o' horse manure this coach in the cowboy boots was shoveling back in December. And his "let's announce to the world that we're going to go get a national championship" comment.
In retrospect, I suppose that by "we," he meant "Me and the Arkansas Razorbacks."
Of course, if it makes you feel any better, an Associated Press story quoted Smith as saying that leaving Weber was "one of the toughest decisions of my life."
Huh. You'd think the offer to sell one's integrity for $850,000 would be a fairly easy decision, either way. I mean, you're either willing to do it, or you aren't.
So, where does Weber State go from here? If Jerry Bovee is smart, he'll embrace this whole incident. Indeed, what Weber needs to do is plan for a "John L. Smith Night" at a home game this year. The first 5,000 fans at the game get a free T-shirt, courtesy of the $25,000 Smith's new school paid Weber for his broken contract. The fine piece of apparel will read: "John L. Smith went to Arkansas, and all I got was this stupid T-shirt."
Look, people. The thing that defines winners and losers isn't just winning and losing. There's a huge difference between winning and being a winner, between losing and being a loser.
And even in the unlikely event that the Arkansas Razorbacks win all of their games next season -- capturing a national championship in the process -- I'm sorry, but John L. Smith will never be anything but a loser in my book.
As for what the "L" in his name stands for, take your pick: Liar. Lame. Lily-livered. Loserpants.
Me personally? I think the "L" stands for Lacking. As in, Lacking class. Lacking integrity. Lacking any sense of personal responsibility or concern for the dozens of young men who put their trust in a coach to lead them through the 2012 football season.
Because, while everyone knows there is no "I" in "team," apparently there isn't an "L," either.
Contact Mark L. Saal at 801-625-4272 or email@example.com.