Friday, April 8, 2011

The Tale of Three Coaches

Butler’s Brad Stevens, Virginia Commonwealth’s Shaka Smart and Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall were this year’s so called hot coaches.

All three had major success in the recently completed season. Steven’s took the Bulldogs to their second straight championship game. Smart led the Rams to the Final Four. Marshall helped the Shockers to the NIT championship. Yet, all three decided to remain at their mid-major schools.

I find that somewhat hard to believe.

Conventional wisdom says a coach should use postseason success as a springboard to more pay and a BCS job. But just maybe these guys didn’t want to go to the bright lights and start over. Generally, the reason the job is open in the first place is because of lack of success from the previous coach. And why leave a successful program for the unknown?

Just maybe these guys have learned from the bad experiences of other mid-major coaches.

We have two examples here in the state of Iowa.

Keno Davis led Drake to the NCAA tournament in his first season as coach. He cashed in on that success and moved on to Providence. The trouble was Davis lost his job at the end of this season after only three years.

Greg McDermott was laboring at Iowa State after leading Northern Iowa to three straight NCAA tournaments. The talk was Iowa State would give him one more year. But this had a happy ending for McDermott. Before Iowa State could pull the plug, Creighton offered McDermott a 10-year deal.

So maybe Stevens, Smart and Marshall subscribe to the theory that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

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