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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dan Wilken - What A Day

What a day!
Posted by Dan Wolken

- First of all, thank goodness it’s over. Coaching searches aren’t fun for anyone, especially the reporters who have to cover them.

- I want to commend the reporting of myself, Geoff Calkins and Gary Parrish. Hopefully now everyone can see that the three of us were quite plugged into what was happening with this search and that, no, we weren’t “making stuff up” or “taking message board rumors and running with them.” Things were exactly as we said they were.

- While the process may not have gone smoothly, the end result was exciting. Since it broke that Josh Pastner was going to be the coach, there’s been a lot of positive energy. It’s different, it’s outside-the-box and it’s potentially a great hire. Not to say there aren’t risks or caveats, but Josh was going to get a head coaching job soon, and probably do well in that job. So why not this one?

- Josh is a great guy, will be a really positive face for the program and will take the PR aspect seriously. People like Josh, and that’s a big first step toward success. He’s been a tremendous recruiter, and I think he’ll continue to be a tremendous recruiter. Josh is organized and driven, and he’s been preparing for this since he was 16 years old.

- Anyone who thinks this was part of a grand, complex plan is simply mistaken. Pastner went into the office Monday morning to clean out his office and head to Kentucky. I spent a lot of time talking to Josh this weekend. People, I can guarantee you, as recently as Sunday he thought he had no shot to get the Memphis job. But things change. I called him this morning and left him a message joking about a bidding war between Memphis and Arizona for him to be the head coach. In reality, it wasn’t too far from the truth. If Sean Miller had turned down Arizona, there would have been a big push for Josh to get that job.

- On Monday morning, the Memphis coaching search essentially had to start over. They got together on Monday morning and planned to offer Derek Kellogg. After reaching out to Kellogg, however, they realized there were complications. John Calipari was pushing Tony Barbee for the job. Kellogg had been selected at UMass ahead of Barbee a year ago. Memphis was not going to hire Barbee under any circumstances, simply on principle, due to Calipari’s endorsement. Given that, it would have been difficult for Kellogg to take the Memphis job.

- After Sean Miller changed his mind and took the Arizona job, I had heard that R.C. Johnson called Pastner into a meeting Monday mid-day. Then I heard that Kellogg was not going to take the Memphis job. Things progressed quickly from there.

- An Internet rumor that Pastner is going to hire Jim Rosborough, a former colleague at Arizona, is false. Don’t look for Pastner to hire Kevin O’Neill on his bench, either.

- The local TV reporters, as they usually do, jumped the gun on the Carl Henry to Memphis staff story. I wouldn’t totally rule it out, but it’s extremely premature. Typical of TV reporters here, though, to take something that Parrish threw out on Chris Vernon’s radio show as speculation and run with it as fact.

- I think it’s very likely that Matt Eisele, the coach at Miami-Dade Junior College, ends up with a job at Memphis next year.

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