SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Anthony Grant for the Kentucky Job

Who?

Yes, Kentucky canned head basketball coach Billy Gillispie after only two years on the job. Click here for the story.

Now, this is one of the most prestigious programs in college basketball history, up there in the pantheon with Duke, Carolina, Kansas, Indiana and UCLA. So, it figures that the Kentucky brass will pick a big-name coach to try to turn the program around and put it perenially in the top 10. So, the speculation will run rampant about successful coaches in big-time programs, as is what usually happens. The question will remain whether Kentucky can lure that type of coach. Apparently, they reached out to Villanova's Jay Wright and Texas's Rick Barnes when they hired Gillispie, only to be rebuffed. Quietly, apparently.

Speculation has begun with Florida's Billy Donovan, who assisted Rick Pitino when Pitino coached in Lexington, but that same post says that Donovan is staying put. Speculation will begin about other big-name coaches in big-time programs, so we'll see what Kentucky does.

But I have a thought: Anthony Grant, the VCU coach. Grant assisted Billy Donovan for years at Florida (and was there when Florida won its consecutive national titles). He moved on to VCU, where he's excelled (one question to which I don't know the answer is whether Grant won with talent he recruited or talent that his predecessor recruited). Still, there's an SEC pedigree (not that that's any great shakes today when it comes to men's hoops), a Donovan connection, and success at VCU. That's pretty good.

I also read a report where Alabama is recruiting Grant hard, and that Grant already has toured the campus. Perhaps that tour will now include a detour through Lexington.

This is one hot job. It's a great job, but how great will the pressure be to win quickly? And why would a coach atop a successful program with a long-term contract at good money go all in and risk it for a chance for glory in Lexington?

Watch this drama carefully. It ought to be interesting.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grant took the Bama job.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous The Sports Curmudgeon said...

Prof:

UK used to be a hot job. Now it is not.

UK is not going to dominate all of NCAA basketball for years on end as in the past - - but the boosters and fan-boys there still demand those kinds of results.

They ran off Tubby Smith who had won them a national title. How long would they put up with a "youngster" who didn't make the Final Four? Two years? Seems about what happened to Gillespie.

BTW, Gillespie was over his head at that level of coaching expectations the day he signed on...

2:01 PM  

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