BLOOMINGTON – Welcome to the wacky world of high-profile college basketball coaching searches.
One minute you're hearing IU's 10-member search committee is a ruse, nothing more than a means to shield IU Athletic Director Rick Greenspan from his critics. The next you've been told Greenspan has no voice in the hiring process and that he has been advised to launch a search for a new job of his own.
Of course, this all comes on the heels of earlier conjecture that a 10-member search committee is so ill-equipped to evaluate potential coaching candidates that they've entrusted former Vanderbilt and South Carolina Coach Eddie Fogler to do it for them. Never mind that Fogler appears to challenge the six degrees of separation rule with anyone involved in IU's search, some insist he's the one pulling the strings.
Whoever it is that's in charge seemingly has been very busy. If you believed everything you hear, Rick Pitino, Bruce Pearl and Thad Matta, among others, have already been offered the opportunity to be the Hoosiers' next basketball coach. Heck, Pitino was offered following a four-hour sit down with Greenspan before the NCAA Tournament even got underway. His agent has supposedly been finalizing the details with Greenspan during a handful of trips to Bloomington, made courtesy the use of Fuzzy Zoeller's private plan.
Oh, and don't forget that Pitino's athletic director at Louisville, Tom Jurich, will be catching the next plane to Bloomington as well. He'll be replacing Greenspan once the current IU AD finishes dotting the Is and crossing the Ts on Pitino's $3 million contract.
Rumors have run amok in Bloomington, which is to be expected. It's been a free-for-all, and there's no shortage of people who profess to know the answer to the question on the tip of everyone's tongue.
Who is going to be IU's new basketball coach?
At some point, the only way to sort through the rumors is to apply a degree of logic to what is unfolding. In doing so, one would have to conclude:
- IU Athletic Director Rick Greenspan isn't going anywhere. If Indiana was going to make a change at the head of the athletic department, wouldn't they want to get someone in place so they could have a say in who the next basketball coach would be? It's illogical to think the university would give Greenspan a say in naming the new coach and then dismiss him afterwards. If he was going to exit, common sense suggests it would have happened by now;
- Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo won't wind up in Bloomington. While I've heard decision makers are intrigued with Izzo and some have insisted he's interested in IU, the idea of him switching jobs within the conference is far-fetched to say the least. He makes $2.7 million annually so his price tag would likely be in excess of $3 million. But more than the money the logistics of such a move make this impossible to see happening;
- Louisville Coach Rick Pitino won't wind up in Bloomington. There's probably no one who has been talked about more in recent days that the Cardinals coach. Some even have gone as far as saying it's a done deal that he's Bloomington bound. But like Izzo, this move makes no sense. He's at a school where he can compete for national championships, he's well compensated, and he's in a city atmosphere which he prefers over a the small town feel of Bloomington. Many of the other rumors of Pitino (being spotted in Bloomington, his agent making frequent stops in town, an extended sit down with Greenspan) also don't pass the sniff test;
- Indiana doesn't need to hire someone from the "IU family." Some think that with what has unfolded on Kelvin Sampson's watch the only answer is to bring in someone who was either a former IU player or coach. But as a long-time IU athletics employee once told me about the notion of hiring an ‘IU guy,' "Bob Knight and Bill Mallory weren't IU graduates, and Cam Cameron was." Touché!
While that sort of logical approach doesn't provide an answer to who IU will hire as its next basketball coach, it does at least call into question some of the rumors that don't seem to be overflowing with common sense.
But then again, common sense hasn't been in abundance as of late with IU basketball coaching searches.
After all, someone at the university deemed it appropriate to announce the formation of the search committee two days before the Hoosiers departed for the NCAA Tournament…someone else thought it was a good idea two years ago to bring in Sampson despite his pending NCAA troubles.
Maybe there's no logic to this at all.
What's the tail number on Zoeller's plane again?
DECKER: Is There Any Logic To Coach Search?
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