Ah, March. While 68-or-so fanbases are glued to tournament games, a different set of fanbases loads up FlightAware, logs on to every message board tangentially related to their university, and begins manically smashing that refresh button.
Every year, you have your share of bizarre coaching moves. Take, for example, Billy Donovan, who took an NBA job, then actually didn’t take an NBA job, then eventually left for an NBA job. There’s always a degree of weirdness that has to be endured as teams go through upheaval.
But 2017 seems have taken this to the next level.
Already in this unhinged insanity of an offseason, there have been too many ridiculous stories to count. Duquesne fired Jim Ferry on March 13 and for the last week-and-a-half have been in a constant state of tripping over their own tied-together shoelaces trying to find a replacement. First, it was going to be Monmouth’s King Rice. It was not. Then Dane Fife was floated as the next head coach. He’s still in East Lansing. Then it was going to be Ball State head coach James Whitford. Uh.
James Whitford is staying at Ball State and is no longer a candidate for the head coaching vacancy at Duquesne, per sources.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 24, 2017
And the hits keep coming.
After much Prayer and thought with myself and my family I have asked Duquesne University for permission to contact other schools— Mike Lewis II (@MrEightball_) March 24, 2017
No one wants the job and for good reason. I, though, have sources that are telling me that a Primanti Brothers sandwich is just about to sign a contract making it the next head coach of Duquesne Basketball.
I’m hearing now that the sandwich is removing itself from consideration. Another tough break for the Dukes.
UMass has been humiliatingly owned in public as well.
Pat Kelsey seemed to have all his things in order at Winthrop and had two feet out the door to become the next head coach of the Minutemen. He met with the team. He even had lunch with the athletic director in preparation for his scheduled meeting with the media to formally begin his tenure at UMass. Then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t the next UMass coach anymore. Just 35 minutes before his introductory press conference, he backed out. The timeline is absolutely wild, and UMass says that it’s owed $1 million due to a buyout clause in the UMass contract that Kelsey signed. Yeah, he apparently signed a contract before backing out. This may be the weirdest/dumbest coaching carousel story of recent memory.
Quinnipiac is supposedly floating around an $800,000 offer to their next head coach, and Mike Rice, the guy who can be found chucking basketballs at his players at practice, is supposedly “in the mix.”
Current @patrickschool and former Rutgers coach Mike Rice is in the mix at Duquesne, sources confirm. Could win a Jersey TOC in coming days— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) March 17, 2017
Will Wade left VCU after a very short stay and the university made a real life “I’m not mad, it’s actually funny to me” statement.
"I always meet with coaches after the season to determine the best ways to build their programs and put our student-athletes in the best position to reach their potential, McLaughlin said. "Will and I agreed on the necessary next steps, and we met all of Will's requests. He ultimately decided he would rather coach elsewhere.
"We have a world-class practice facility, a sold out arena every night and one of the greatest fan bases in all of college basketball. VCU Basketball is bigger than one person. We remain committed to ensuring that VCU Basketball remains a top-25 program nationally. We have a tradition of remarkable success that is focused ultimately on providing our student-athletes with a positive experience, focusing on our core values: student-athlete focus, drive to excel and integrity."
Recent Noted Mid-Major Coach Brad Underwood left Oklahoma State after just 12 months on the job and the Cowboys were, until today, in serious danger of putting a mediocre radio personality in charge of a power conference program.
Then there’s LIU-Brooklyn, which fired Jack Perri for no reason at all (the Blackbirds finished second in the NEC this year and won 20 games). Larry Brown reportedly reached out to them to fill that vacancy, and for a minute, it looked like it just might happen. The Hall of Fame coach known for staying a few years, winning a bunch of games, then leaving amid scandal and general brouhaha, ultimately could not convince our friends from Brooklyn.
Who else is rumored for that job? None other than Bruiser Flint — a delightful person I’m sure, but also a coach whose most recent season was a 6-25 disaster at Drexel.
Gregg Marshall, Archie Miller, and basically every other mid-major coach with any bit of success are all the next head coach of Indiana. Congratulations to all of them.
With each passing day, there’s another insanely weird plot line to get caught up on. It’s just all gotten so dumb so fast. What’s worse is that it will only keep getting dumber. There’s only one man who can save us from these dark hours.
Bring him home.