There’s just not a lot of info floating around on the UCLA coaching search. But, I’m also not scouring UCLA message boards (nor SFN’s peer boards, either).
What’s most interesting to me in this search is that UCLA has always been widely considered a career destination job, and is easily one of the five best coaching jobs in college basketball, yet the Bruins appear spurned by some of the same folks that State missed on two years ago. Many folks agree it’s simply easier — and far less stressful — to win big at VCU or, more specifically, Butler, which will shed the moronic mid-major moniker next season when it joins the new Big East. Besides, mid-majors are making comparable money nowadays.
Beyond the obvious Tier 1A choices of Pitino or Donovan and Tier 1B choices of Smart, Stevens and Few, Mark Gottfried seems to be getting attention (WRAL.com):
“Word is that Gottfried is one of the guys that UCLA boosters are looking at and are excited about,” UCLA beat writer Ryan Kartje told Mike Maniscalco and Mark Thomas Wednesday morning on 620 AM The Buzz.
Kartje, who covers the Bruins for the Orange County Register, granted that Gottfried is somewhat of a second choice. “The first tier that UCLA fans would like to see are guys like Billy Donovan and Rick Pitino â€“ guys that are probably out of their reach,” he said.
Kartje said the Bruins are also targeting Butler’s Brad Stevens, and would likely wait for him to express whether he is interested in the job before more aggressively pursuing Gottfried.
“The indications are that he (Gottfried) would absolutely listen (if approached about the job),” Kartje said. “I think if Brad Stevens isn’t in the fold, I think Mark Gottfried is maybe the lead candidate for the job.”
Of course he’d “listen.” We knew that when we hired him. “Listening” is one of the ways coaches get raises they don’t necessarily deserve. This sort of reminds me of back in 2002 when we all worried Chuck Amato would replace Bowden at Florida State or Paterno at Penn State.
Obviously (well, arguably, depending on who you ask, while mired in the fear of off-season turmoil just a few days after the disgusting loss to Temple), Gottfried has done well in his first two years at State and has the program in better shape than its been since the 80′s, and we certainly want to maintain that continuity.
However, at least some folks seem to agree that losing Gottfried to UCLA isn’t a program killer. Beyond the buyout money that will be available, Gottfried has proven in a very short time, if nothing else, that it’s not impossible to win here, and even, as daunting as this seems, win against Carolina and Duke. Call me an optimist (at least 15 people just eliminated LRM as the writer here), but maybe the timing is better to make a big-name hire now than it was two years ago — for instance, Sean Miller (or similar).
If nothing else, we should be able to finally get Rick Barnes to Raleigh, right?