First off, this isn’t a difficult thing, Joe Hull. When you fire a coach — with cause — you have to have an idea of what direction you’re going before you drop the axe.
Players told the administration that former coach Doug Wojcik had harassed them to the point where they felt he went across the line. In two seasons, the former Tulsa coach went 38-29 and hadn’t really generated any momentum with a program (the same problems he ran into in his final seasons with the Golden Hurricane) that experienced a bit of a rebirth under legendary coach Bobbby Cremins.
So, with all the current public information in hand, Hull, the athletic director, fired him.
That was on August 5. Which is, obviously, a horrible time to be forced to fire a college basketball coach. Freshman are arriving on campus to start summer term with the program. The summer recruiting period is over and for the most part, coaches are starting to turn their focus onto the upcoming season. But now, there’s no coach to be able to focus on the College of Charleston’s season.
Three weeks later, not only is there no new head coach on campus, the top two reported coaches for the job have publicly pulled their names from consideration.
Normally, when one coach does it, you can sometimes pin it to the fact that he was told, privately, that he was no longer being considered. But when three do it? Something’s off. And there’s no information out to prove that it’s something that’s on the administration.
So, for now, here’s how Joe Hull, you should handle the next week. Because that’s the time frame it should take to get your new coach into place.
- Take a day and try to get Anthony Johnson back in play. It’s a risk, but you assumed a larger risk when you fired your head coach in August. He’s the best candidate for the job as one of the best players in program history and a man who can actually get folks excited about the program again.
- If that doesn’t work, for the next few days, do everything in your power to be open about the search with the media. It’s the best way to get others to see what you’re dealing with. Transparency is key. Obviously, this has to be done while getting in the next few candidates.
- Then get the best two remaining candidates and bring them in for an interview. They’re former Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz, who had some great days as head man of the 49ers, and Clemson assistant Earl Grant, who has tremendous ties to the state, with coaching stops at The Citadel, Winthrop and, (of course) Clemson.
- Make a damn hire.
Hires for programs like the College of Charleston’s shouldn’t normally be big news. Only when there’s an egregious error in the process, as their have been many. Some that may have been avoidable.
We can’t sit here and say we have all the information, but short of something criminal, I’d have to say that there can’t be much holding up the hire of the best candidate (who accepts the position) for the program. Except those within the College of Charleston camp.
Make the hire and get on with the season. It’s not that hard.
Right? Wrong? Think this is nuts? Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter at @David_Harten.