Sorry St. John's, "Hammer Pants" Are Out: Adjust Coaching Search Accordingly
The St. John's men's basketball coaching search is not going so well.
C'mon, you saw this coming, didn't you?
The statements from the University saying that they were prepared to go after the big names in coaching and that the size of the contract would not be an issue were not well thought out.
You set yourself up to look silly if you publicly declare that you want to land a big-time coach, and then you fail to get one.
Wouldn't you do your due diligence first to see if any big names actually wanted to come to St. John's?
Billy Donovan was apparently their top target. He was offered gobs of cash, and he turned them down flat. Why in the world would he even come?
Paul Hewitt was then targeted (again). St. John's thought that had him landed (again), when negotiations broke down at the last minute. Apparently, no one told the St. John's AD Chris Monasch that Hewitt had a $3.5MM buyout that he needed taken care of. Did Monasch think Hewitt would pay it himself for the privilege of rebuilding St. John's?
It now looks like Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg, a Long Island native, is the top target. He is already public option number three—that should make him feel loved.
The administration has apparently decided that they need someone with NCAA tournament success and ties to New York. They will spend to get such a man.
I say that they should save their money.
"Hammer Time" no longer tops the charts. Parachute pants are out. "Diff'rent Stroke" was cancelled.
St. John's is no longer relevant on the college basketball landscape.
Overpaying a mid-level coach like Greenberg is not going to restore St. John's to prominence.
St. John's needs a couple things above all—one could help get the other.
First, they need some buzz. Greenberg does nothing for the excitement level of the NYC ballplayers that St. John's needs to get on campus. Neither does Fran McCaffery or Bob McKillop. There is a name out there that is eager to get into coaching, however: Mark Jackson.
"Action" Jackson wants to be an NBA coach, but no one will give him a shot—probably because he has no coaching experience at all. Why not call him? Restore some luster to his alma mater and build the coaching resume all in one shot.
Jackson's name still means something in NYC hoops. He is a direct link to the "glory days" of St. John's hoops.
He might even still own "hammer pants."
If Jackson, or someone like him, can restore some buzz around the program, maybe even win some games, then the University could tackle the biggest hurdle to their return to the big time: an honest-to-goodness basketball facility.
The renovations to Carnesecca Arena are nice. They are also far from enough.
The Big East, along with the rest of the major basketball powers, is in an arms race. With everyone being able to deliver TV exposure, practice facilities and sparkling on-campus arenas are what's attracting the four and five-star recruits. Without either, St. John's just can't compete—not for big time players, and not for big time coaches.
I'm sure there are some Red Storm fans out there who might disagree with me, but that's how I see it. I miss the days when St. John's was a Big East power, but I don't see Seth Greenberg being able to turn things around.
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