Funny coaching search stories ...

Back in the dark ages when I was a sports writer, I recall some pretty crazy stuff going on when Eddie Sutton left for Kentucky.

One local sports writer reported that Rollie Massimino, fresh off the NC with Villanova, was offered the job at Arkansas, accepted and backed out. I know people who believe this actually happened (I’m not one of them).

Others claimed to have seen Bob Donewald, and up-and-coming coach at Illinois State at the time, on a plane at Drake Field.

One pretty fantastic story was that John Thompson (the coach at Georgetown) had checked into what is now the Chancellor Hotel. Word is that a sports writer called the desk, asked for guest John Thompson’s room and was connected to him, only to find out he was part of the band playing in the lounge that weekend.

A TV crew managed to find out that Nolan and Rose Richardson were flying in to Springdale instead of Fayetteville on the day Nolan was hired (Drake field was already staked out). They followed Frank around in his car after he picked them up at the airport and Frank tried to lose them by driving around on Mt. Sequoyah.

In those days, a lot of this wasn’t widely circulated because there was no social media. But it was pretty crazy, just like today’s nonsense about an imminent press conference.

Having been inside of the situation at the time, Rollie was true.

But it definitely worked out the way it needed to happen.

Wow. I never quite bought that. Thanks for setting me straight.

I was a sports writer at the time as well, working in Little Rock. I remember hearing Massimino and Donewald’s name in the search, as well as some garbage like Krzyzewski (although that was the year before his first Final Four team when his Duke career really took off), and that Donewald really wanted the job and thought at one point he had it. I remember asking our Raleigh bureau to confirm how to spell Krzyzewski.

I know somebody who knows this actually happened, and I know the Philadelphia Inquirer reporters who confirmed it.

Schaeffer was talking about that on DTS the other day. Nova wouldn’t let him come here. I liked Rollie, but you’re right. It worked out for the better.