I really think it is Oklahoma State's best interest, certainly the best interest of the current players, and soothing the emotions of the incoming recruiting class to hire a coach quickly. The PR on this Underwood departure is bad. A quick resolution, but a right resolution is needed. I see good candidates like USC head coach Andy Enfield, who has a great story and married an Oklahoma beauty and model. Northern Iowa's Ben Jacobsen, UTA's Scott Cross, Middle Tennessee State veteran head coach Kermit Davis, even current Oklahoma State assistant Danny Henderson have credentials. As most of you know, unless you literally live under a rock there is an alum in play.
He admits that he is the easiest hire. He'll take the salary that is basically offered. He is between jobs right now. He'll stay a long time because he loves the school and community, his wife is from nearby Drumright, and he would like to raise his three children there. Okay, he's never coached professionally, but his basketball IQ is as high as you will find anywhere. He's made plenty of quick decisions from a strategic standpoint with the basketball in his hands. He has coached some, AAU basketball and he is the head coach for this summer for the USA team in the Maccabiah Games (Hebrew Olympics) in Tel Aviv, Israel. It is a team made up of the best Jewish players in the college ranks in the country.
The Doug Gottlieb candidacy for head coach of Oklahoma State basketball is picking up more steam, a lot more steam than it did last year. Gottlieb will tell you he owes Oklahoma State. When he was booted off the team at Notre Dame for stealing from a teammate, Eddie Sutton, who had once hired Gottlieb's father Bob as an assistant coach at Creighton, brought Gottlieb in at Oklahoma State. Between Sutton and Oklahoma State, Gottlieb changed. Those of us that got to know him saw him change. The kid that could pass the basketball like few others and knew basketball X's and O's as good as just about anybody became a better person.
"I lied as a kid, lots of kids do, but I made a deal with God, and now I don't lie," Gottlieb said.
He sure doesn't, in fact, I'm not sure he is capable of it. He is honest to the point of getting himself in trouble. Gottlieb can be too honest, which is why he'll need a guide, For a candidate that knows basketball better than the back of his hand, has the pedigree of a father that was a Division I head coach at Jacksonville and Wisconsin-Milwaukee and coached as an assistant for Sutton and Jack Hartman at Kansas State and a brother in Gregg that is a top flight Division I assistant coach currently at Oregon State, has seen lots of basketball in his job in the media, and has a wife of great wisdom; Doug is so honest it can hurt and he may need a filter at times. He has rankled some feathers with college coaches out there with his analysis in his role as a media member and game analyst.
"I do say what I think, and yes, sometimes it has got me in trouble," Gottlieb said and then explained who he would have on his staff. "I will call my brother, that is a given. He has the kind of resume' that is worthy of being a head coach. He is currently in Hutcheson, Kansas recruiting for Oregon State the kind of players that would fit well for our (OSU) shade of orange. He has been out on the West Coast and now Oregon State, he has recruited California and junior college players and across the country. He knows his basketball as well as I do. I can't say the names of some of the others that I would bring. It is not fair because they have jobs. I can bring up my brother because if he didn't come he wouldn't be invited to Thanksgiving. Everybody knows about Gregg. The other coaches I would bring would be good recruiters, people that have experience at this level. Then I have two former Division I head coaches that have both told me they would come with me.
"I want people that are smarter than I am," Gottlieb continued. "I know I haven't had the title of a head coach, so I am going to be prepared and have people there beside me that can give me great direction on those things I haven't experienced. People that I will trust and people that everybody at Oklahoma State can trust will give me the right answers."
He has this planned out. He even admitted that his next employer (Fox Sports) knows about this, knows he has that passion.
"Recruiting is selling a story and the one I would tell is mine," he said. "Oklahoma State gave me a career, I met my wife there, I met great friends and teammates there that I treasure. I matured at Oklahoma State and became a better person and I can look parents in the eye and tell them that if their son comes to play for me at Oklahoma State, he will have a great experience, get a degree he can use, and will leave ready to be a good man and productive member of society."
I can see this working now. I've roomed with Doug Gottlieb on the road with the Oklahoma Storm basketball team. I was involved with his wedding. I gave him his first radio experience in Stillwater. I've eaten meals with his brother, his late father, and his mother. I would trust him with my life. Last year at this time, because of the inexperience thing I struggled with, I wasn't ready to trust him with the basketball program at my alma mater. Now, I could. It's not my decision. I think there are other good candidates, but I know this one could be there in a couple of hours, and if he's successful, would stay for a very long time.