We haven’t spent much time talking about the coaching carousel this off-season so we decided to open this entry for our readers to share things that they are seeing and hearing in the marketplace and to link interesting articles, blog posts, and internet ramblings.
Our neighbors to the South – whom we should play every year in basketball as some form of a ‘tradition’ game – seem to be talking most seriously about Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel and Miami’s Frank Haith.
Capel, 33, just completed his second season at Oklahoma after coaching the previous four seasons at Virginia Commonwealth. He emerged a few weeks ago as a candidate at USC, due in part to his ties to the area. Capel grew up in North Carolina, played at Duke and his father is an assistant coach for the NBAâ€™s Charlotte Bobcats.
You gotta think that Oklahoma is sweating some bullets right now. If for no reason other than perception in the market it can’t be a good sign to lose a coach to the Big Ten and a coach to the bottom of the SEC in a 24 month period.
But, you gotta give programs who know how to proactively manage themselves a lot of credit. OU once challenged Kansas as the gold standard in Big Eight / Big Twelve Basketball. But, Texas refused to sit on the sidelines and went out and hired Rick Barnes to challenge the top of the league.
I remember years ago how a couple of the captains of the HSSS would try to claim Barnes wasn’t a good coach because he couldn’t be OU that often. (Oh, the sadness of the irony). Well…I guess that criticism is gone. OU is now clearly not what they were and their job could turn into a high-risk revolving door and Texas was well positioned to be the benefactor of the turmoil in Norman.
Compare and contrast that with good Ole NC State who watched our rival, UNC-CH, employ FOUR different head basketball coaches in seven years. Talk about an opportunity to catch up!!! Instead, Lee Fowler’s Athletics Department continued to sit on their hands and watch Carolina struggle and then rebound all the while we just continued to run in place.
Coach K can’t be too far from retirement…I can’t wait to see how the Einsteins in West Raleigh are positioned to take advantage of that transition!!
For a little bit of fun related to Frank Haith – you will enjoy this entry from two years ago that discussed how Coach Haith’s interest in the NC State job presented us a ‘floor’ of the ‘worst that we could do’ – which, IMHO, was a fantastic worst case scenario.
You really should read that link; it is quite poignant even two years later and I think that you will enjoy the refresher. Note that the search was about 10 days old at the time and was after Lee Fowler bumbled Rick Barnes and John Calipari’s candidacy. As we highlighted just last week in this home run of an entry, “Coach Fowler” choose to pursue Steve Lavin, John Belein and Lon Kruger during this time frame as opposed to Haith and some of the names that we highlighted in that entry.
At that point, the remaining pool of potential candidates was so negatively tainted that ‘our’ search was screwed and Fowler had nowhere to turn. No coach wanted to be our public ’6th choice’. I will leave you with a couple of quick highlights from the aforementioned link:
Barring an unknown & unexpected event with some kind of â€œmystery candidateâ€, NC Stateâ€™s coaching search has probably entered a different phase where â€œStage Bâ€ candidates will need to be properly vetted if they have not already been analyzed by Lee Fowler and team.
Many people have asked, â€œwhy arenâ€™t you more devastated by the Rick Barnes & John Calipari situation over the last ten days?â€ The answer lies in what we think is NC Stateâ€™s â€œfloorâ€ in this search. In other words, â€œwhat is the worst that NC State can do?â€.
Barring a God-awful mistake like John Brady (that we honestly do not think that the Wolfpack Club would allow to happen), we think that the â€œworstâ€ that NC State could do is hire Frank Haith.
Step away from all of your pre-conceived notions for a moment. Think about this and realize that State is in a position that the â€œWORSTâ€ (for lack of a better termâ€) that we can do in this search is get: a current Atlantic Coast Conference head coach who was the lead assistant in the ACC for successful Wake Forest teams before becoming the lead assistant and top recruiter for Rick Barnes at Texas. By all personal accounts, Haith is an articulate, fiery, tireless worker who has valuable ties in local recruiting networks and is going to be a super coach.