Thursday, April 13, 2006

Some College Hoops Coaching Notes

I have a few thoughts on coaching news of the past few days:

According to ESPN's Andy Katz, John Calipari would have left Memphis to take the NC State job but for the fact that he was not sure he could compete against North Carolina and Duke. My observations of Calipari over the years has led me to think he has a pretty healthy ego, and it's hard for me to imagine him backing down from that challenge. Katz had better be right or else he's likely to have an angry Calipari to deal with down the line.

Jeff Capel was hired at Oklahoma after compiling a 79-41 record at Virginia Commonwealth over four years. Capel is only 31 years old and may still be best known as a former player for Coach K at Duke. Unlike most recent Blue Devil alumi, Capel had to deal with adversity during his Duke career; his senior year was the season Coach K was out on medical leave. The Coach K coaching tree has come down with a serious fungus condition recently, so it will be interesting to see if he is up for the task of competing against Kansas, Texas, and Kansas State with new coach Bob Huggins. I've got my doubts.

I think Temple made an excellent hire when they drew Fran Dunphy away from Penn. Dunphy has long been rumored as a candidate to move out of The Ivy League, where he won 10 titles in 17 years with Penn. Dunphy's personality is radically different from the retired John Cheney (that's a good thing) but fans and high school coaches in Philadelphia already know him well. The Owls' program has slipped in recent years, but Dunphy is in position to rebuild it fairly quickly. Jumping back up toward the top of the Atlantic 10 wouldn't take that much, and I expect Temple to quickly return to the NCAA tournament.

Of course, a coach doesn't have to switch jobs in order to get a big payday. Calipari may come close to doubling his salary, which was already over $1 million. Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon got a fat raise with his 10-year extension (like he's really going to stay there 10 years). Even Kent State coach Jim Christian, fresh off a MAC championship, received a seven-year extension that will make him the highest paid coach in the MAC.

The NC State job remains the biggest position currently in play. Once athletic director Lee Fowler makes his hire, that could spur a whole new cycle of dominoes falling. Stay tuned.


At 1:41 AM, Anonymous Jesse said...

Jeff Capel played at Duke 1993-1997. Krzyzewski was out in 1994-95, right?

At 2:27 AM, Blogger Pradamaster said...

I've always gotten the sense that Calipari has a big ego, but I think staying at Memphis actually was in tune with that. Calipari didn't want to go to a situation where he would have to start as the third fiddle. At Umass and Memphis, he's always been the giant in a conference of dwarfes. It suits his ego well.

And I'm a fan of the Jeff Capel hire. Capel reminds me of Sampson, and Sampson was very successful at Oklahoma. Capel may have the Duke pedigree, but I think he will be very good at Oklahoma.


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