How Soon is Now?

It's been one week since Keno Davis was relieved of his coaching duties. The buzz around Providence for days has been that Ed Cooley is the Friars head basketball coach in waiting. Is Friartown looking forward to getting this done, or does it seem a bit impatient?

No one enjoys a protracted coaching search, particularly one like Providence Athletic Director Bob Driscoll endured three years ago. The coaching search that ultimately resulted in the hiring of Keno Davis went too long, was too public, and had too many wild turns. The satisfaction of winning the press conference when the process ended felt like an achievement in itself. Unfortunately for the program, the long term results of that hire did not include enough successes either on or off the court.

The Providence search effort this time around seems to have learned some lessons from the mistakes of the last go around. Sources indicate that former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese has been brought in as a consultant, and the candidate list has been much more guarded. This has been largely been to Providence's benefit, as the College has avoided some of the circus and media scrutiny that so often surrounds basketball's "silly season".

Ed Cooley has done an admirable job at Fairfield. His team finished first in the competitive MAAC conference, and Fairfield has already won on the road in the NIT. His team always plays hardnosed defense, and his tough Providence background suggests that he is one coach who will always take charge of his team. Ed Cooley is a quality candidate who deserves every consideration to be the next coach at Providence College.

The question is, how did he become the leading candidate? Who else is being seriously considered? The names that have been bandied about are Syracuse Assistant Mike Hopkins, Quinnipiac Head Coach Tom Moore, BU Head Coach Pat Chambers, and Pittsburgh Assistant Pat Skerry. These candidates, like Ed Cooley, each bring their own qualities to the table. Have they been interviewed yet? That's unclear. That would have been difficult to accomplish this past week considering the post season games these coaches have been busy participating in.

Yet the rumors persist that the Providence job is Cooley's to lose and that an announcement could be around the corner. We can only assume that Providence is interviewing at least 3 of their candidates before selecting a new head basketball coach. In the absence of big time candidates, the thought of conducting a thorough coaching search that only produces one interview is difficult to imagine for such a critical hire.

As we know, Providence has not made the NCAA tournament since the Big East Conference expanded to 16 teams. When Providence faces some inevitable adversity on the court next season, it seems that the Providence Administration will want to stand up and say they are confident in their selection and the process that produced their new coach. With the College dismissing two basketball coaches in the last four years, the importance of making a good hire this time is more important than ever. If it was somehow discovered that only one candidate was ever seriously considered, it would jeopardize the credibility of all parties involved.

Everyone wants the coaching search in Providence to end as soon as possible. However, how you accomplish that is just as important as who you hire. Process matters. Unless the next Bobby Knight or some other can't miss candidate of the coaching profession is walking through the door, due diligence demands that you fully consider all your realistic options through the interview process. Comparison shopping produces good results and a selection you can defend.

Friartown is eager to toast their new coach, but let's make sure that the process this time is done right from start to finish. When that happens, everyone will be able to say with confidence that the best candidate got the job.

Scout Friars Top Stories