I am slowly beginning to wonder if Arkansas is just a leverage
tool. We have enough tradition, facilities, history, and being
in the SEC that we are viewed as a very respectable and an
attractive job. Just respectable and attractive enough to give
someone enough believable leverage to use us when ever we
are searching for a coach as a large enough lever to get a
very good raise.
It doesn’t matter what sport, we seem to be the poster child
for any agent to get their guy a raise. I have to believe that
other programs experience this as well and we are not just
the nationally designated go to school for squeezing out a
good sized raise. I hope that belief is true, but each new time
we have a search, its tests that belief more and more.
Are we only good enough to get an upper level coach a raise
but not good enough to get them to come here?
Some of us tried to tell everyone Arkansas is not viewed as strongly as some people make it out to be. People bash CMA but he was honestly the most qualified candidate interested in this job in the last coaching search.
People wanted a change now they got it, better hope for Mussleman, he’s the best possibility we have now. Don’t land him, you might can attract weird Gregg Marshall and his drama if you throw 4 million at him, any thing other than that you’re looking at an up and comer and we’re back to the Pelphrey/Heath days, which is what some fans have been begging for, since CMA was just so bad and we can do much better.
Every school is a leverage school if the coach they are trying to hire has leverage. Chris Beard has leverage…huge leverage. Gregg Marshall and Eric Musselman, not so much leverage. It depends on who you are trying to hire. Many times a coach will use a school to get a bigger contract, but sometimes you might get the coach. This is just a process that has to be gone through to hire an outstanding coach. Arkansas is a really good job…great town, great school, great facilities, great conference…decent recruiting area. We can get a really good coach if our AD is a sharp dude.
Calipari just milked UCLA and its 11 national championships for a lifetime contract at Kentucky. It happens. Blu is right, though, our job is not as attractive as some think. It wouldn’t matter how much money we threw at Izzo or Few or somebody like that, they’re not going to take our job.
Every school is a leverage school. It depends upon how much leverage the coach has who you are trying to hire. Chris Beard has huge leverage. Gregg Marshall and Eric Musselman, not so much. Unless you are Kentucky, Duke or a couple of other schools, you just have to play the game to hire a coach. Sometimes you are just a pawn in the game to get the coach a raise, but you can’t hire a guy if you don’t go after him, can you?
Mike Anderson is gone. He gave it his best…it just wasn’t enough. He was a solid coach, but certainly not irreplaceable.
Even if we get someone we really like…we won’t know how good he is until after 4-5 years.
If you have a sharp AD, he will earn his pay and his longevity with a nice hire. We are not Kentucky, but we certainly among the best jobs in the SEC in basketball. Most of these SEC schools could not care less about basketball…Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU…those fans don’t give a *%$# about basketball. We do in Arkansas. That is the difference.
I’m not so sure about Few as many others are. I’m not saying he would come to AR, but hearing him talk about “not even getting looked at kinda hurts,” makes me think he maybe interested. I think if someone actually contacted him and said, we just aren’t calling to say we called, but we are bringing the $$$$. He may actually stun everyone and leave Gonzaga.
The only issue I have with Few, is he didn’t build the program, he has just sustained it. Same thing Bret did at Wisconsin and we saw how that worked out. Not saying he’s as bad as Bret, but I don’t know about him building the program up.
Edit: If he becomes our next HC I’m all in. I would make him tell me no, if I was the AD. Above is just the one issue that jumps out at me. Sustained success means he’s very good
Isn’t that amazing, another year of him underachieving with the talent he has he gets a lifetime contract. I’m not a Cal fan, but you gotta admire how the guy knows how to play the game. Instead of fans being upset they got beat by an undermanned Auburn team, they panic thinking they may lose him and gives him a lifetime contract.
That’s one thing CMA could have learned from Cal. Even if you want to be at a place and retire there, don’t let them know that, you’ll get taken advantage of. There’s no loyalty in this business, and that was one of Mike’s flaws being too loyal. What CMA should have did was after last year, had his agent float his name around, he had just been to 2 straight NCAA appearances there’s some jobs even if they were lateral would have been interested in him, he should have flirted with those jobs, make everyone in Arkansas panic that we could be losing him, and forced their hand to extend him or he goes out on his own terms and gets a pretty good job. Now he ends up getting fired, and there’s a bit of taint on your name once you’re fired. Even if your resume is better than another candidates the fact that you were fired kinda gives them the upper hand. Nobody wants something someone else threw away, you have to always make yourself desirable in this game, and NEVER let a school get comfortable with you and let them think you’ll never leave, you’ll get burnt every time.
This is a very competitive “business.” When you compete at a high level, you don’t always win. Great pressure is put on coaches to win and they can put great pressure on institutions to “pony up” when they have other choices. So, if you want a great coach, you pay as much or more than the competition. You put in huge buyout clauses if you want to fire him before the end of his contract or he won’t sign with you. He will go with the best combination of money, contract deals, tradition, current players, recruiting potential, fan support, etc. that he can get. If you don’t have lots of advantages on that list of “considerations” then you will lose out to programs that do. But, you try and get the best coach at the best terms that you can get, if you want to compete. If you are getting turned down or “used to get a better deal” that just means you are going after the right coaches. It is like bass fishing and getting your lure hung up on a limb occasionally. If you ain’t getting hung up, you ain’t casting into the right places. Right under that bush is where the big fish hang out. JMVVVVVHO.
He’s sustained it for 20 years and took it to another level. Dan Monson isn’t sitting in the AD’s office micromanaging like Barry Alvarez did (and I still think BB’s problem is that he didn’t recognize that what he did in Madison wasn’t going to be good enough in the SEC; Alvarez didn’t call his plays or make his recruiting decisions).
Monson was only in Spokane for two years, got to the Elite Eight in year 2 then bailed out for Minny. That’s hardly a case of Few maintaining a history of sustained success.
Dan Fitzgerald had a three year run of 20 win season (2 NIT, and 1 NCAAT), had a down year and became full time AD, then Monson came in and had two 20+ win seasons and an EE. Then Few. Like with Alvarez, Fitzgerald is still there as the boss.
As for Alvarez and Wisconsin, Alvarez did call his plays, Bret has even said he would call down during games and say run this or your fired.
Now, I edited my post up to, that sustained success does mean something and Few would still be my number one choice, but he really has never built a program, that is something to look at.
Musselman was able to out-talent the Mountain West. That won’t happen at Arkansas in the SEC unless we increase the roster payroll to the SEC average. If CMA had been on the Nevada sidelines for the UF-Nevada game, a lot of posters on here would have eviscerated him for just rolling the ball out there. They were terrible on O with more talent than UF. It was just one game, and he had no PG on the roster to speak of. However, I’m not going to be doing cartwheels if he is the guy.
It can absolutely be a quick fix. But you also have to think about what led to our best teams:
1978 – We had three transcendent in-state players who elected to stay home. I don’t know how much of a recruiting battle Eddie Sutton faced, because I doubt that the Kentuckys and UCLAs were looking at Arkansas kids. But I know five years later Joe B. Hall was flying down from Lexington to watch Ricky Norton at Okolona.
1990 – Memphis (State at the time) was down and we went in there for Todd Day, Arlyn Bowers and others, and snagged a point guard that Nolan knew from his time at Tulsa, and a chubby center from Fort Worth.
1994-95 – The best high school player in 1992 was in Russellville, Arkansas, and we grabbed him away from Bob Knight and others, got a few more kids out of Memphis and a little-known shooter from Ruston, LA.
The common thread: We won with kids who grew up within 300ish miles of campus. We’re not getting all those kids now. Kentucky came after the Brand and Goodwin. Billy Donovan came after KeVaughn Allen. Etc. There are two five-stars in this year’s Final Four who grew up in Alabama. There have been two 5-stars in Arkansas in the last 15 years and they both went to Kentucky. We gotta keep them here, but they have to exist first.
My point remains the same. Three 5-stars in 15 years, we got one of them. We gotta keep them home (and hopefully keep them on the roster more than a year), but they have to exist first. Of course now the NBA has proposed officially ending one and done by lowering the draft age to 18, but the players association has to sign off on it. So they have to exist, we have to sign them and we have to hope they don’t go pro instead.
Or we could take the Chris Beard approach, sign no-names and transfers and hope you can get to the promised land that way. Give him credit, he’s done it, but is it repeatable?