Philadelphia, PA – In his introductory press conference, new Weber State head coach John L. Smith made it clear that he's coming home to win games.
"I'm happy to be here, and thankful to be here," Smith said. "Our goal is to make Weber State a national champion in football. That's our goal, and we're going to spout it. We're going to tell recruits about it, and that's what we are going to get done.
"Don't be afraid to say it, national champion."
Of course, turning Weber State into a national champion -- or even overthrowing Montana and Montana State in the Big Sky Conference -- could be classified in the easier-said-than-done category.
But installing a coach with experience at Michigan State and Louisville is a step in the right direction, one almost as important as bringing in a coach who's worn the Weber State jersey.
Smith, a former linebacker and quarterback at Weber State, gives the program a known commodity at the helm, someone familiar with the geographic area, and more importantly -- someone who isn't going to jump ship at the next offer coming his way.
"We were looking for someone who understands the culture of our state, how to recruit here, it's a little different than everywhere else," Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee said. "The dynamics of the Big Sky Conference, which clearly John L. understands. The fact that he was an alum was important to us. He wants to see the program do well."
South Dakota did the same thing yesterday, introducing alumnus Joe Glenn as the new head coach of its football program.
A 1971 South Dakota graduate, Glenn's name is well respected at the FCS level.
Winner of the 2000 Eddie Robinson Award as the most outstanding coach in the FCS, Glenn's resume also includes an FCS championship with Montana in 2001 and a pair of Division II titles with Northern Colorado (1996 and '97).
"This is full circle. How proud can I be?" Glenn said.
And that's the key word: pride.
By hiring coaches who are attached to the institution by more than a paycheck, Weber State and South Dakota now have leaders that won't only be proud of victories, but proud of winning for their school.
Heck, Glenn even led a rendition of South Dakota's fight song in his introductory press conference.
Towson made a similar move three years ago, hiring alumnus Rob Ambrose to fix a broken program, one that had won just three games the year before.
Three seasons later, Towson is the CAA Football champion.
Whether it's a three-year timeline for Glenn to win a Missouri Valley Conference title or for Smith to win the Big Sky remains to be seen. Of course, the turnaround could be even faster, as South Dakota and Weber State are much further ahead than Towson was three years ago.
But whether it's three years or much longer, Smith and Glenn seem like they're dedicated to an extended stay at their respective alma maters.
Both in their early 60's, Smith (63) and Glenn (62) each have close to 40 years in the coaching business, and coming home to where they got their starts just seems like the right fit.