WKU Athletic Communications/Marketing Assistant
The speech that put Lance Guidry on the college football map lasts less than 90 seconds, but the impact of that 90 seconds has led him to an opportunity that it is believed no coach in college football has had before.
Following the 2010 season, Guidry led Miami University to a win in the 2011 GoDaddy.com Bowl as the interim head coach. In 2012, he will attempt to lead WKU to a win in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit on Dec. 26 as the Hilltoppers' interim head coach.
"I don't think there has ever been an interim head coach at two different schools within three years...," said Guidry. "I am going for that second win because I have to make history somehow. Right now I feel just like a closer (in baseball), just coming in at the end.
"I may go into business as just being an interim head coach, wait until coaches leave and then they can hire me to come in and close the deal.
"I am 1-0 in bowl games, so I have got to get to 2-0. I don't want 1-1."
If he can close the deal for the Hilltoppers, he will help the program make another step forward in its transition to FBS with the program's first ever FBS bowl win.
"These kids earned this bowl," said Guidry. "It is still this year's team. It is important that we finish off what Coach Taggart started. We have a chance to win eight games and we've never won a FBS bowl game before. We can put a feather in our cap."
Before Guidry led Miami to the bowl win, the coach gave an inspired speech that became a highly-viewed YouTube sensation in football circles. The speech reflected on the history of the Miami program, considered the cradle of college football coaches, and reflected on a program that could become the first to turn a 10-loss team into a 10-win team. Following the win, the RedHawks would finish the year ranked in the top 30 in the nation.
Now Guidry must guide a team that has a prime opportunity within its grasp, a bowl win, and the future standing in front of it with the hire of Bobby Petrino as the next coach of the Hilltoppers.
"It has been déjà vu all over again," said Guidry in referring to the similarities of the situation at Miami and WKU. "When I was at Miami, they hired a new guy, it was a bit later (in the bowl process), closer to when we went to the bowl game. It is a lot alike...
"Everything happens so quick. (The players) have been on a roller coaster. I am glad (the announcement of Petrino) happened a little bit early and not later on because their attention could be off for the bowl game... I am in good spirits, the rest of the coaches are in good spirits. We have the kids back corralled (from the emotion and excitement of the announcement). We will be fine."
The team appeared more than fine in their first practice following former head coach Willie Taggart's departure as WKU had a very strong practice on Sunday, Dec. 9.
"We pretty much did the same thing (as we did in practices with Taggart). They rallied behind us a little bit. It was the same thing at Miami, we had some of our better practices toward the bowl week (after a new coach had been named). We are going against each other a lot. Offense against defense, good on good. They like competing against each other."
In a month full of distraction, WKU will finally have one focus on Dec. 26: football.
"The closer we get to Detroit, once we get on that plane to Detroit, they will forget everything that has happened here for a little while."
Guidry's 2012 Hilltopper defense has been a force nationally, ranking in the top 40 in seven different national defensive categories. The Guidry-led defense currently ranks 23rd nationally in total defense (344.42) and ranks 12th in the nation in tackles for loss per game (7.42).
Guidry's defensive squad ranks at the top of four defensive categories in the Sun Belt Conference, including total defense, pass defense efficiency (128.4), sacks (31) and first down defense (19.3), while ranking second in rushing defense (136.6), scoring defense (25.6), passing defense (206.2) and interceptions (13).
The spotlight will likely shine on Guidry in Detroit when he gives his final motivational talk to the team prior to the game against Central Michigan as he tries to top the speech that helped him acquire his position at WKU under Taggart.
"I don't know if I can top the last one," said Guidry. "I think I may have something up my sleeve. It could top it. It is going to be a challenge, but I might have one."