Boy, I hope the committee is as quick as we are on this stuff.
(Just kidding, Rick.)
So…you remember the whole bit about the third-party contact method? The usage of intermediaries to get messages from school to perspective coach?
Well, Xavier’s Sean Miller has been informed, according to a source, through the back channels that Indiana will find a way to pay the $2 million buyout in his contract if he’s interested in becoming Kelvin Sampson’s replacement.
But, as of this afternoon, Miller had not officialy been approached by anyone from IU.
Which makes sense, since Tony Bennett apparently only just recently gave the answer the committee didn’t want to hear.
Publicly, Miller has already stated that he wants to stay at Xavier, where’s he’s been the coach since Thad Matta left for Ohio State.
“â€œI will be at Xavier,â€ Miller said after his team lost to UCLA Saturday. â€œIâ€™m looking forward to coaching at Xavier and continuing on with what weâ€™ve done for years behind me and what weâ€™ve done this year.â€
More on this story as we get it.
Â According to the Spokesman Review blog, Tony Bennett has decided not to pursue the Indiana opening. Read it here. (UPDATED at 6:35)
On a gloomy, rainy Sunday afternoon in Bloomington, there’s no news yet on whether Tony Bennett is interested in Indiana’s coaching job.
AfterÂ all the buzz yesterday,Â it wasn’t clear what we’d hear today. If Bennett isn’t interested in the IU coaching job, he isn’tÂ likely to announce that. Even if he does want the job, that doesn’t mean we’ll hear anything right away as negotiations take place.
But I didn’t expect it to be so quiet today as Indiana fans wait to hear further word about Bennett or other possible candidates. I have calls out toÂ people I know who areÂ connected to Bennett that I would normally expect to call me back, but haven’t heard from them. That must mean something.
We’re working to find out what’s happening today, but haven’t heardÂ anything significantÂ yet.
I was surprised last night to read that other media are reporting that Mike Montgomery and Lon Kruger are two potential candidates for the IU job if Bennett is not interested or if the reports of IU’s interest in Bennett turn out to be wrong.
My thought is that one of the biggest problems the IU athletic department faces is a lack of stability. Within the past decade, IU has had four athletic directors (and now Greenspan’s in hot water with many fans), four head footballÂ coaches andÂ soon will have its fourth head basketball coach. I can’t think of any otherÂ major college athleticÂ program with that much turnover in itsÂ most importantÂ positions.
Given that recent history, I’d question the wisdom of hiringÂ a 61-year-old coach in Montgomery (who’s been mentioned for this job for a while now)Â or the 55-year-old Kruger, who has had six different college head coaching jobs and has stayed longer than four years only once, and that was a six-year stint at Florida.
I’ve covered enough coaching searches for a while.Â Â Â
I agree with those who say IUÂ would be better offÂ hiringÂ a top young coach like Wright State’s 39-year-old Brad Brownell – even if he is unproven at IU’s level -Â and give himÂ time to build a program. BrownellÂ isn’t a big name nationally, but is a Hoosier native who seems capable and a good fit from everything I’ve heard and read about him.
I haveÂ heard from readers who think IU needs to make a big splashÂ with itsÂ hire. I don’tÂ see that.Â To me, the university needs to hireÂ aÂ coach who will do things right, put Indiana back as a perennial contender for Big Ten titles and stick around for a while.Â Â Â
Obviously, not everybody agrees with that. What do you think today about the reported potential candidates?Â Might Greenspan and Co. still pull a Sampson out of left field like last time? WillÂ the gloom disappearÂ in the upcoming hours and days?
Here’s what I learned from several sources today: some way, some how, Indiana has contacted Tony Bennett to begin the process of letting him know that it might be interested in having him coach the Hoosiers if he has any interest in doing so.
I don’t know that it has gotten any further than that.
We’ve posted below stories from two of the most noted national basketball writers in the country in Andy Katz and Jeff Goodman. Both have been quick to jump on this story (partially because they have been locked in a good old fashioned reporter’s duel for sometime now.) Anyway, to summarize, Goodman says the offer has been made. Katz says it hasn’t.
Now we’ve got Gary Parrish jumping into the fray, and his story sounds to me to be the most accurate. It’s the closest to what I’m hearing.
I’ll have more as this story develops.
Well, here we go with the back and forth information and misinformation among various media. Andy Katz of ESPN has just reported that the Fox Sports report earlier this morning is wrong.
Katz is reporting that Indiana has not made a job offer to Washington State’s Tony Bennett, as Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports reported. Katz writes that he has spoken with a person with first-hand knowledge of the IU coaching search and with Bennett himself and that no offer has been made.
“I haven’t had one conversation with [Indiana] and so, no, I haven’t been offered the job,” Bennett told Katz.
Katz’s story says IU hopes to announce its new coach by Thursday. To read his entire story, click here.
You may want to take this with a grain – or maybe a block – of salt until there’s other verification, but Fox Sports News is reporting this morning that Indiana has offered its basketball coaching job to Tony Bennett.
The Fox Sports report by Jeff Goodman says IU, according to two unidentified sources, offered Bennett, 38, the job yesterday, one day after his Washington State team lost to No. 1 North Carolina in WSU’s first Sweet 16 game since 1941.
Bennett, the son of former Wisconsin and WSU coach Dick Bennett and brother of former IU women’s coach Kathi Bennett, is 52-17 in two seasons at Washington State.
To read the entire Fox Sports story, click here.
Here’s a story freelance sports reporter Howie Stalwick, who covered the Washington State-North Carolina game in Charlotte, wrote for us Friday about speculation that IU will hire Bennett:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — George Raveling, one of the relatively few coaches who was able to coax more wins than losses out of basketball teams at Washington State, was succinct when describing the difficulty of recruiting players to tiny, isolated Pullman, Wash.
â€œPullman,â€ Raveling liked to say, â€œis not the end of the world — but you can see it from there.â€
Washington State fans wonder aloud if Tony Bennett can see the end of his stay in Pullman — and, perhaps, his arrival in Bloomington — coming in the next few days.
Bennett, whose name has been linked in media speculation to the Indiana job for several weeks, has repeatedly dodged questions about his future at WSU. Nothing changed Thursday night after the 21st-ranked Cougars were crushed 68-47 by top-ranked North Carolina in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.
â€œRight now, Iâ€™m coach at Washington State. I just want to talk about the seniors,â€ Bennett said to a small mob of reporters outside WSUâ€™s locker room at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk said he has yet to ask Bennett about his plans for next season â€œbecause I think heâ€™s very happy where heâ€™s at.â€
Of course, outsiders speculate that Bennett might be even happier if a school like Indiana can double the $895,000 (counting bonuses) heâ€™s expected to make this season at Washington State. Bennett would have to pay the Cougars $500,000 to void the seven-year contract he signed last summer.
Asked if he expects Bennett to remain at WSU, Sterk said, â€œYeah. He enjoys whatâ€™s happening. Heâ€™s building a program here.â€
Bennett has tied the school record of 26 wins during each of his first two seasons as a college head coach. He assisted his father, former Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett, for the last three of WSUâ€™s 10 consecutive losing seasons before the Cougars shocked the college basketball world by going 26-8 last season and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994. The Cougars finished 26-9 this season.
â€œHeâ€™s done a fabulous job,â€ Sterk said.
Theoretically, recruiting and winning would be easier at Indiana than Washington State. WSU’s incoming recruiting class is widely regarded as possibly the best in school history, but only one player is rated among the top 100 high school seniors by Scout.com, and that player is ranked 96th.
The 2007-08 seniors who made up the core of the first full recruiting class of the were lightly regarded for the most part. The Bennetts emphasized defense and teamwork to mold the Cougars into a nationally respected team that was ranked as high as fourth (a school record) in the polls this season.
Bennett called Pullman â€œa wonderful placeâ€ earlier this week, and he has repeatedly stressed how much his family enjoys living in the small college town. However, the Cougars graduate three starters who were instrumental in turning around the program, and Bennett may feel his work is done in Pullman.
â€œWashington State is the type of job where you have to rebuild and recycle and build things up,â€ Bennett said. â€œThe next step is to get us back to this point again, whether itâ€™s a year or two or three.â€