Boy, oh boy, what has Steve Orsini gotten himself into?
To recap: The Mustangs were willing to offer Marquette head coach Buzz Williams a salary north of $2.6 million, plus a $3 million buyout, but to no avail. SMU then got turned down by Harvard's Tommy Amaker, Long Beach State's Dan Monson and most recently, Saint Louis' Rick Majerus.
With all those rejections, where does Orsini go now?
Sources close to the program say that Oral Roberts head coach Scott Sutton, who's brother and assistant coach Sean has a son at SMU, is waiting to jump on the opportunity if offered.
But the problem with Sutton now, according to sources, is that he knows even after he was initially contacted, he wasn't the schools first choice. While he was waiting to hear from SMU, names like Majerus and Duke assistant Chris Collins came up as names with a slight advantage.
Now, if he's offered, a sour taste could be in his mouth. But maybe a salary of $2 million per year could wash that out. Then again, the powers that be that are forking over the money to fund this salary only want to pay the big bucks to a big name. And is Sutton that name? Not really.
Aside from Sutton, other coaches that keep resurfacing are North Texas' Johnny Jones (who played for LSU and is said to be a lead candidate for that job), Illinois State's Tim Jankovich and Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, who publicly said weeks ago that he wanted the job.
The clock is ticking. The boosters are frustrated. Orsini hasn't delivered.
As of Friday, the NCAA recruiting contact period has started and SMU is still coach-less.
SMU hasn't been to the Final Four since 1956, the NCAA Tournament since 1993 and hasn't won a game in the tourney since 1988.
With the way this search has been conducted, the position has been the butt of many national jokes, but the thing is, despite everything, this job is still quite the opportunity for a coach willing to step in and rebuild a team as it heads into the Big East—there's money, a new $40 million gym, immediate talent that needs to be developed, a 7-foot center in the incoming freshmen class and fertile AAU recruiting grounds.
There's a long way to go before this program can be respected and that starts at the top and the top needs to make a slam dunk hire. And fast.
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