So Much Money, So Little Time

It's interesting that when asked about what is going on with Oregon's search for a head coach for men's basketball, there is so much speculation and so little evidence that anything meaningful has happened. Sure there are rumors of lots of money ready to be spent, but isn't the clock ticking?

Are the Ducks making any progress? One eDuck source tells us that Billy Donovan's name popped up -- again. Allegedly tired of competing for attention with Urban Meyer, Donovan may have thought twice and could overrule his agent's suggestions of ignoring a $3-4 million per year contract Oregon was flaunting around. There's also a rumor that Donovan is unhappy about some broken promises but he still has to be considered a major long shot to make the move to Oregon. The Ducks also have one of the hottest young coaches in college football with Chip Kelly at the helm which might give Billy another case of heartburn in Eugene.

It's no secret that Oregon football is the driving force that keeps the big donors coming back, especially after a trip to the Rose Bowl. Kelly's 2010 team looks to be picking up right where it left off, even with some high exposure incidents involving starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and running back LaMichael James. Either Nate Costa or Darron Thomas has adequately replaced Masoli, who has been suspended for the 2010 campaign because he pleaded guilty to Misdemeanor Burglary II in March stemming from an incident at a campus frat house. James pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge and will sit out the first game of the 2010 season because of a he-said, she-said incident that occurred in January. However both Masoli and James have been on hand for the Ducks' spring drills which just moved past the halfway point of the 15 allotted sessions.

So where does that leave the basketball search? Not to complicate things but the Ducks are minus an athletic director. Mike Bellotti, the former AD and former head football coach has taken a gig at ESPN. He'll be living nicely on a $2.3 million dollar going away gift that was agreed upon by the president of the UO, Richard Lariviere and Bellotti after it was discovered no contract for Bellotti's employment as AD was in place.

Lariviere explained to media that the amount paid to Bellotti was a fair settlement and would come from a specific set of donors and not from any sort of public funding.

In the meantime, former athletic director and major donor, Pat Kilkenny, is heading up a search effort for Ernie Kent's replacement when he's not at home in New York. An assistant athletic director at Oregon, Joe Giansante refuted Fox Sports report that the Ducks had narrowed its search down to Missouri's Mike Anderson, saying Kilkenny had not met or spoken to Anderson "at this point in time." Then, less than 12 hours after Giansante's comments, a report came out of Houston indicating former Portland Trail Blazers and current Houston Rockets coach Rick Adleman was now Oregon's primary target.

Our sources haven't made mention of Adleman and continue to assert that Anderson has never turned down the Oregon job.

Tom Izzo and Tubby Smith have also made the papers in regards to the open position, not to mention Butler's Brad Stevens, which probably has the most merit.

Former Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks headman Terry Porter's name came up but beyond speculation on eDuck's message boards and chat room nothing more developed on that angle. Porter makes his home in Portland and certainly is an intriguing idea. He'd have the name recognition in Oregon for people to fill the new Matthew Knight Arena, scheduled to open for the start of the Pac-10 season next winter.

So would Monty Williams, current Blazer assistant. He's such an up and comer that many feel he'll land a head job somewhere in the league, but who would want to go take over some of the messes where openings are occurring when the Ducks may be also able to come up with the same kind of cash? However, our sources didn't mention Williams' name the last time we asked for names. The problem with NBA candidates is that they are usually not polished recruiters and securing the right talent can make or break a program.

If Oregon whiffs on the big names, other candidates like Randy Bennett have been rumored. If Bennett were selected he'd be the second straight coach plucked out of St. Mary's. The first was Kent of course, whose 13-year stretch as top-duck was highlighted by two trips to the Elite-8. Kent left Oregon this last March when Mike Bellotti announced it was time for a change. Kent, an Oregon alum said that he told his players that no one coach, university president or athletic director was bigger than the program. Despite a tough couple of years, Oregon basketball had accomplished a lot under Ernie Kent. Ironically, it was only about a month later that both Kent and Bellotti had left Oregon and now there are two jobs to fill.

Information coming out of the Casanova Center in Eugene is very barren concerning names of likely candidates. The Ducks seem to be playing it very close to the vest but an obvious question is who is holding the info so tight? Nike? Everybody wants to anoint Oregon, the University of Nike, but that is unlikely the case and the folks in Beaverton have their own problems to deal with. Kilkenny? Possibly, but I don't live in New York and Pat hasn't been calling. Bellotti? I doubt that Mike is involved and he's probably busy preparing for his ESPN assignments. Just for the record, I believe that Mike Bellotti will be a smash hit as a college football analyst. Lariviere? Couldn't be him because in the last media conference I saw him at he indicated under his command the University will be more open and forthcoming -- so it couldn't be him because it's been so quiet.

I learned a long time ago in the army that nothing was going to happen until all the power-that-be made a decision. Once the decision was made then the wheels started to turn but until that time, "smoke 'em if you got 'em."

Apologies to all non-smokers, but in regards to the search for Oregon's new head basketball coach -- make mine a Lucky Strike.

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