DALLAS — You can find plenty of tall tales here in Texas, the new home of old LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis.
Here’s one: “Will clean pool for two tickets to CFP National Championship Game. Call Kevin Sumlin for references.”
Rustin McFarland, Texas A&M student and pool boy to the stars, tweeted Dec. 30 that he overheard Sumlin on the phone with the man he hoped would soon be A&M’s new defensive coordinator.
Turns out, that’s exactly who Sumlin was talking to — Chavis.
Here’s where you get to vote on which part of the story that is the craziest:
1. Sumlin, who’s in a profession where the professionals lie all the time, actually admitted to the media that he was indeed talking to Chavis when McFarland overheard him.
2. Sumlin fired said pool boy with a Twitter message, which reads “You just lost your job!” When you’ve got your fish (Chavis) on the hook, no need to mess around worrying you may need some plausible deniability somewhere down the road.
3. That Chavis was talking to Sumlin anywhere from minutes to hours before LSU kicked off against Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl.
I’ve seen a post that shows Sumlin fired off his firing tweet at 1:49 p.m., 11 minutes before the Tigers and Irish teed it up, another that he may have sent it at 11:48 a.m., 10 minutes after McFarland’s tweet.
Whatever, it’s really poor form by Sumlin and Chavis to be talking terms on a game day. Heck, most coaches’ wives probably can’t get their husbands to return a call on game day unless the kitchen is on fire.
Chavis was asked after LSU’s loss to Notre Dame whether his defensive players, who were penny against the Irish in the 31-28 defeat, had any reason to be distracted. Meaning, by rumors he might be going to A&M.
“No,” was Chavis’ terse reply.
Shame on us in the media for not asking whether Chavis was distracted.
The whole episode earned Sumlin a rating from ESPN’s Keith Olbermann on his show Friday as the second-worst (or worser) person in the sports world.
“That’s not a euphemism for anything,” Olbermann said of Sumlin’s tweet. “He fired the pool boy.”
And Sumlin, who appeared earlier in the week on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” show, didn’t sound remorseful about it, either.
“We try to teach lessons to young people,” Sumlin said. “I was on the phone, obviously everyone wanted to know who we were going to hire as our (defensive) coordinator, and actually I was on the phone with John Chavis at the time. (McFarland is) looking from the pool, and I’m coming out to the car, and he’s still standing around looking.
“The message is, if you come to somebody’s house and somebody hires you, whatever you’re doing, it’s a little bit personal. If you’re invading privacy, it’s not a public deal — Twitter’s public, so guess what? Don’t come back.”
There are probably more than a few LSU fans who would like to tweet the same thing to Chavis, though he will be back this fall when A&M plays at LSU to wrap up the regular season, so they can express their feelings in person.
Whatever time he and Sumlin talked, even if you want conclude that they didn’t speak Monday, Chavis clearly didn’t give LSU his best effort. By the time LSU lost, he pretty much had his mind made up he was leaving.
Look, I understand how things work. I’ve changed jobs before, most of us have. And at some point you’re going to be distracted during that process.
But a game day should be some kind of protected time, and both Chavis and Sumlin should have realized that.
By the way, a visit to McFarland’s Twitter page, which features a photo of a partially filled, pre-partially imploded Kyle Field (Chavis’ defense will have fannies in all those seats) indicates his tweets are protected.
Too late, son.
As for LSU’s search for a new defensive coordinator, now dragging on well into its second week, a parade of names has come and gone and still Chavis’ old seat in the LSU football office remains empty.
Two likely scenarios are in play: The search is going nowhere, with wilder and wilder names (Ron Zook?) being tossed about, or LSU coach Les Miles is waiting on a really good candidate who is still currently coaching his team. Oregon’s Don Pellum (seemingly a huge long shot since he’s been at Oregon forever) comes to mind.
Whoever ends up with the LSU job, let’s hope no more pool boys have to be sacrificed in the process.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.