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.
Here is a quick look at some headlines from those conferences that you may not follow.
Georgia Southern has gone from one league win last season, to nine SoCon wins at this point this season.
Chattanooga Senior Ricky Taylor is 8th on the Division I scoring list, he needs just two points to move to 6th
The Citadel is struggling to find a lineup that works for them; they have had eight different starting lineups with Mike Groselle being the only player in all of the lineups.
Akron has started 8-1 in the Conference and is ties for their 3rd best start ever; the Zips have won 12 of the last 13 in MAC play.
Buffalo ranks 3rd in the country in rebounding (41.6 rebounds per game) and are on a six game winning streak.
Murray State is still the lone undefeated team in the nation (23-0), and the only team undefeated in true road games (10-0), Cleveland State has the most road wins with 11.
The Racers have the programs highest rankings ever (7 in Coaches Poll, 9 in AP), they are the first OVC
team to be in the Top 10 since the 1970-71 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The 23 wins is the longest streak ever for any OVC school.
In the win of SIUE, Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Murphy scored a school record 50 points. He was the first 50 point scorer in the OVC since 1991-92.