Think back to when Skip was conducting his "national search" for a "proven baseball coach". There were rumors circulating about various coaches being interested in the LSU job but considering the magnitude of the LSU program and status of the LSU job, there was an obvious lack of major candidates for the LSU position. Some fans at the time were all for Skip being allowed to hand pick his successor but there were also many who disagreed with this concept and were critical of not only Bertman doing it but also of Mark Emert allowing Skip to have too much control of the hiring and selection process. What occurred was Skip manipulated the hiring criteria to the point that any reputable baseball coach simply wouldn't accept the LSU job under Skip's conditions. Skip's "conditions" included: 1-The next baseball coach had to come to LSU for Skip's farewell season and basicly become an intern in order to supposedly learn the LSU system. This meant that it would be two years before the next coach would actually take control of the team. 2-The next baseball coach had to accept Skip's requirement that Turtle Thomas be kept on the LSU staff. This meant that the next head coach did not have full hiring autority for his own staff. 3-The next baseball coach had to be willing to share baseball camp revenue with Skip Bertman for 5 years after his hiring. This means that this year, Smoke Lavall is still kicking back baseball camp funds to Skip Bertman when camp money is a major part of a baseball coach's income. These conditions were/are ridiculous and are the very reasons why Smoke got the LSU job as other high-profile coaches simply would not take the LSU job with these strings attached. As a fan, whether you like Smoke or not, LSU deserved a better handling of a search for a baseball head coach than it got. At the time, some LSU fans warned that Skip hiring/hand picking the next coach was very similar to the Arnsparger/Archer situation back in the 80's. Now here we are 4 years into Smoke's tenure as LSU baseball coach and after some early success, Smoke is under fire for what is perceived as a declining program. This situation is very similar to the one Archer was in at LSU following Arnsparger. The Smoke Lavall situation is yet another example of why a school should ALWAYS conduct a true search for a head coach and favoritism and/or personal friendship should not be allowed to be a main criteria, or in LSU's case for selecting Skip's replacement, virtually the only criteria. LSU deserved better 5 years ago and I hope the kind of "search" LSU administrators allowed Skip to conduct will never be repeated.