The Seton Hall Pirates targeted Fran McCaffrey to run their basketball program. McCaffrey surprisingly took the job at Iowa.
The word "surprisingly" makes sense with McCaffrey's decision. The thought was he would rather coach at St. John's than coach at a midwestern school.
He looks out of place at Iowa. It's hard to believe he can recruit east coast players to the middle of nowhere, but he welcomes that challenge.
Seton Hall quickly hired Iona coach Kevin Willard yesterday after McCaffrey made his choice.
It came down to them not wanting to be rejected. That's why they decided to hire a coach who wants the job.
It wasn't the way to go. They should have taken their time and interviewed several other guys for the job.
They interviewed Robert Morris' Mike Rice, Vermont's Mike Lonergan, and Willard last week; but other than that, that was it.
It sounded like Dean Hobbs wanted to end this search rather than go on. That's now how a program should be run.
There were other candidates that were better than Willard. Bob McKillop, Chris Richmond, and Steve Donahue should have been interviewed at least.
Ether of those three should have been hired. The Hall felt all of them would have rejected their offer.
So what if they rejected them? It happens. At least the university could tell their fans and their boosters that they tried to get a qualified coach with experience.
Laugh at St. John's for being jilted by Billy Donovan and Paul Hewitt, but at least they are trying to get a coaching star to come to New York. That's all New Yorkers ask out of them.
They won't give up unless a big-name coach agrees on a deal.
Now, the Hall shouldn't have to wait long, but they should have made their decision after three or four weeks. If they felt Willard was the guy after that, then that's fine.
Who knows if Willard is the right choice? Any coach would have been a crapshoot, but Willard could have used several more years of experience at Iona before he got the job.
Two things are going in his favor: He is the son of a successful coach, and he knows the area when it comes to recruiting.
Let's face it: No prominent coach was going to coach this team now and in the future.
The Pirates' coaching job will always be a job for up-and-coming coaches. It will always be a place where coaches look to add on to their resume. If they do well at Seton Hall, they can use their success to go elsewhere or use other schools as a leverage to get a payday.
This is what exactly Tommy Amaker did. He parlayed his success at Seton Hall and went to Michigan. He wanted to be the guy that turned that program around at Ann Arbor, but it didn't worked out too well for him.
Bobby Gonzalez wanted to do that too. It's hard to believe he was going to stay at Seton Hall if he had success there.
His ego wouldn't allow that.
Who knows about Willard? He acts grounded and mature for his age. Maybe he can be to the Hall what Izzo is to Michigan State.
Not only would Willard be a good coach, but he can stay at Seton Hall for life.
It would be nice to get both.
Right now, the Hall would settle for a guy who can coach.
It's one thing for the Hall to make a quick coaching hire by hiring Anne Donovan to run their women's basketball program today. Donovan proved that she is an elite coach.
It's another to go hire an unknown right away.
Hobbs hopes his decisiveness in hiring Williard works out as well his decisiveness in hiring Donovan.
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