Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The "offseason" in college hoops

Well, the coaching carousel which happens at this time each year has begun. It was announced today that former UCLA coach and ESPN commentator, Steve Lavin, will take his act to New York and take over the head coaching position at St. Johns. Over the weekend, Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt declined the St. Johns job and the focus then switched to Boston College coach Al Skinner. Skinner was subsequently fired and, in the meantime, and offer was made to Lavin.

Elsewhere, former USC and Iowa State coach Tim Floyd has accepted the head coaching job at University of Texas-El Paso. Floyd is a disciple of Don Haskins, the legendary former coach of the Miners, but also left USC under probation and has been out of coaching since.

Another troubled coach who is back in the consideration mix is Billy Gillispie. Billy G had good success at Texas A&M and parlayed that into a stint at Kentucky. However, Gillispie was a guy who lacked the charm and charisma to placate the UK fans and alumni and quickly was booted out in Lexington. Gillispie apparently is a front-runner for the open job at Houston.

Finally, Joe Dooley, assistant coach to Bill Self at Kansas, has been mentioned for the opening at University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Dooley's departure would open up a prized position on Self's staff which could be occupied by Barry Hinson, the operations guy on the KU staff and former head coach at Missouri State. Or, Self might invite Norm Roberts back--the former St. Johns coach was a key assistant when Self came to Lawrence and recruited players like Russell Robinson to Kansas.

What's always interesting is how coaches who have left a program under probation or in disrepair, i.e., Floyd and Gillispie, seem to get back into the consideration mix quickly for coaching opportunities which occur.

These moves, plus the hiring of Fran McCaffery at Iowa, mean there are no other major program openings currently in play.

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