Now we have learned the number one task in coaching is how to deal with your players. They must believe in you. Neighbors an AR native and grad, has been through the system and succeeded as a coach. AR turns out good players every year. Him being a good recruiter, give him a few years and we’ll have a respectable women’s program.
With the statements below from Matt’s article, by Blair and Long, my question is why Long didn’t hire Mike Neighbors (with a good tract record as a winning/recruiting women’s basketball assistant coach for many years) rather than Jimmy four years ago.
As much as I like and respect the person that Jimmy is, he was anything but “entrenched in the women’s game” and certainly had not demonstrated the ability to connect with young women on the court.
Four years and about $1.5 to $2 million dollars in salary wasted. Program in much worse shape than it was when Jimmy was hired. Don’t think that’s even debatable.
Long’s hires are just baffling to me.
“Blair said Neighbors interviewed for the Arkansas job before Dykes was hired in 2014.”
“It was vitally important to our search committee and to me that we attract someone who is entrenched in the women’s game and someone who has demonstrated the ability to connect with our young women on and off the court,” Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said in a statement announcing Neighbors’ hiring.
Not sure why he pulled the trigger on Dykes, but obviously with the situation the program is in now, a coach “entrenched in the women’s game” was vital. I like Jimmy and thought he might be good for the program, but that experiment was not good. Long knows it. Hiring Neighbors before would have been best, but we do have the prism of 20/20 hindsight to know that. But I disagree with the assessment of Long’s hires. Overall, he has done well. Just my opinion.
Four years ago, Neighbors had just got promoted from assistant to head coach so he did not have the proven head coaching experience that he has now. He had more than Dykes but was not the slam dunk he is now with his recent final four achievements.
Neighbors was far more qualified than Dykes was four years ago. SMH.
Jeff’s “entrenched” statement yesterday stood out to me as well. It’s clear he learned his lesson from hiring someone with no relevant experience to the sport.
Modo, even without college-level head coaching experience, it’s clear that Neighbors was much more qualified to lead a women’s team than Jimmy was/is.
Neighbors has coached women’s basketball since shortly after graduating from U of A. Jimmy as far I know had never been on a women’s court in an official capacity.
As I stated before, really like and respect Jimmy. But, four years ago I didn’t think much of his hiring by JL. Just never understood it.