Early Friday morning:
Johnny Dawkins flies across the country with his wife. Both are about to see Stanford for the first time. Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby says during the press conference that the interview was scheduled "on relatively short notice." Dawkins later adds that he and Bowlsby agreed to an interview on Thursday. Bowlsby wasn't kidding.
"We talked and tried to schedule times to meet," Dawkins said of a Thursday phone call with Stanford's Athletic Director. "The best time seemed to be the next day."
That Trent Johnson was introduced as LSU's head coach on April 10, a full two weeks before Thursday, April 24, would therefore imply that Dawkins was far from Stanford's first choice. Bowlsby, however, said one of the first people he talked to about the opening was Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, asking about both Dawkins and fellow Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski.
"He told me Johnny was likely succeed to him, and so I asked how long he was going to coach," Bowlsby said of his conversation with Krzyzewski. "He said as long as he was feeling he could put his best foot forward every day, and he could coach another decade. So the process started earlier than last week."
For his part, Dawkins answered a question about being contacted so late with aplomb.
"It bothered me," he said with an obvious smile. "I'm just kidding. I'm just happy to be here. I didn't pay attention to who was interviewing. I was just hoping to be a good fit."
Dawkins' answer to the possibility of succeeding Coach K might not please Stanford fans as much. In the press conference, he was relatively politic:
"No one can predict the future," he said. "I had an unbelievable
experience there. My memories from Duke are special. Who will succeed Coach
K, no one knows. I always tell him, ‘I don't know what you would do if you were
not in the gym, coaching.'
"I didn't look at this as a step toward taking the Duke job at all. It's an opportunity to continue to grow as a coach at a program I could call home."
But in a smaller setting with reporters afterward, Dawkins said he didn't know whether he had a Duke-specific escape clause in his contract, and then deferred a follow-up question about returning to Durham.
"That's not something I want to talk about," he said. "It's widely speculated I'd be next guy there. I loved my experience there and had a great opportunity there."
As Bowlsby himself was the first to acknowledge, Dawkins could well be at Stanford only as long as Coach K is at Duke.
Dawkins tours campus, and is struck by its beauty.
"Wow. Wow was the initial reaction," he said of seeing Stanford for the first time. "It's definitely a special place."
As TheBootleg.com was first to report, Dawkins interviews with the search committee in a San Jose hotel. At the Monday presser, Bowlsby identified and thanked the search committee: Psychology professor Ellen Markman, former player and senior associate AD Earl Koberlein, Deputy AD (Facilities Manager) Ray Purpur, Senior Assistant to the President Jeff Wachtel, Staff Counsel Patrick Dunkley, and current players Mitch Johnson and Drew Shiller.
"Thanks for your help with the project," Bowlsby said. "It couldn't have turned out any better."
The only candidates to interview with the committee were Doug Oliver and Johnny Dawkins, TheBootleg.com has learnt. Add in how quickly Bowlsby's offer would come after the interview, and Drew Shiller's words, and the committee interviews appear more of a formally. This was very much Bob Bowlsby's hire.
"It went well because we had an idea of who we wanted and we definitely got him," said Shiller of Dawkins' interview. "He was a guy on the original list and we hoped to get him, and Bob talked with Coach K and came back to the meeting and sounded enthused about him. We all quickly understood he was the best candidate."
Over a dinner at Wachtel's house, Bowlsby offers Dawkins the job.
"During dinner, Bob came up and said, ‘Hey, would you accept a position?'" Dawkins said. "And I looked at my wife, kind of coy, smiling and very happy."
Perhaps 10 minutes later:
It didn't take Dawkins long to accept.
"So I looked at her and asked how she felt about it and she felt very good," Dawkins said of consulting with his wife. "So I would say [I accepted in] about 10 minutes. That may be too long."
Dawkins flies back to Duke Friday night, where Bowlsby said he was honored in a Saturday ceremony. Sunday, Dawkins flies to Phoenix to meet with Coach K and the US Olympic coaching staff. From there, he catches a flight to the Bay Area.
Dawkins has a 15-minute meeting with his players.
"It went real well," Shiller said. "He introduced himself. We all shook hands. He talked for 15 minutes about the principles of integrity, competition and trust. He didn't want to talk our ears off and said we'd meet later in week."
Indeed, individual player meetings and workouts will start later in the week.
Dawkins holds court with the press from 4-5 p.m., and with major donors at a reception immediately after. Monday night, Dawkins plans to catch a redeye flight…
Tuesday and Wednesday:
…and land in Austin, Tex. home of 2008 commit Jeremy Green. Next comes a visit with 2008 commit Jarrett Mann of New Jersey. Then, Dawkins said he hopes to visit a "potential recruit in North Carolina," presumably 2008 decommit Miles Plumlee. (Perhaps a visit to 2009 power forward Ryan Kelly in nearby Raleigh could somehow be squeezed in?) Dawkins plans to wrap up his recruiting tour with a stop in southern California. 2009 prospect Anthony Stover lives in La Canada, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb. The quiet period begins Thursday, May 1.
Stay tuned to TheBootleg.com for more quotes from Johnny Dawkins and player
reaction to the hire.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our website, as well as our full-length feature articles in our glossy magazine. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up) and The Bootleg Magazine (sign-up)!