Steve Lavin was hired yesterday to fill the coaching vacancy at St. John's University in New York,crossing yet another potential candidate for the Depaul job off the proverbial list. The administration has been pretty quiet about the search, leaving many to suspect that there simply isn't enough interest in the job. Something that AD Jean Lenti Ponsetto promises isn't the case.
It is clearly evident that the administration has fallen behind in the national coach search. So far,UTEP's Tony Barbee,UCLA's Ben Howland, Jamie Dixon, and Paul Hewit have been crossed off the unofficial wish list. This can mean two things,one being and that the real candidates are all still playing in the final four(Coach K,Brad Stevens,Tom Izzo,Bob Huggins),or two, the interest simply isn't there. The first scenario is pretty unlikely, as at least three of those four will probably never leave their current jobs, and since Brad Stevens has led Butler to the final four, even his name seems like a pipe dream.
It is hard to get an accurate read on the events that have taken place since the end of the season, but from the looks of things it doesn't seem like anyone has even interviewed for the job yet. To me, this is absolutely unacceptable. It has become obvious that the administration let the program fall apart by allowing Jerry Wainwright remain in charge after an 0-16 conference record. Instead of behaving like any big-time university basketball program would have and firing the coach, they let the win less conference streak continue until January. In my opinion, the second consecutive terrible season has shown the nation that this program has hit rock bottom, therefore making the job look like a lost cause.
This coaching search is on the verge of becoming an embarrassment. This is compounded by the fact that the administration keeps talking about how much money they are willing to pay for a top tier coach, and that they were looking for somebody that was currently coaching to take the job. They did reach out to Tony Barbee, but before they could interview him, Auburn snatched him up. For some reason they didn't even attempt to interview Steve Lavin, even though he expressed interest in the job. I know that Lavin hasn't coached in 7 years, but the truth of the matter is that man could win(145-78 at UCLA).
Assuming then nothing happens this week, it is apparent that university may have to settle for Southern Illinois' Chris Lowery, Billy Garret, or interim head coach Tracy Webster. If that happens, I believe that the coaching search should be deemed a failure, and it will be time for the university to start looking for a new athletic director. They have said time and again that there are going for the home run, but so far all they've done is struck out. This program is close to many people Spartans, and they deserve someone that is able to run it and turn it into something that it once was. As nice of a person Jeanie is, business does not reward personality, it rewards hard work and good decisions, the work is obviously there, but the good decisions simply haven't been there.
Here's hoping that I am pleasantly surprised next week.