"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Interesting perspective on Pitt, circa 2003

Here's an interesting summary of Pitt's situation in 2003. The Panthers, coming of a successful season, lost Ben Howland to UCLA--one of the five or six "elite" programs in the country.

First, interesting to note the lack of class that Ben Howland showed in leaving. For all the complaints about Crean, at least he actually met with our players.
It turned out Howland didn’t even want to tell his old players he was leaving. That fell to Jamie Dixon.
Second, there was widespread perception that the administration was guilty of rank ineptitude in running the athletic department and conducting the search.

Pitt was acting at the time with only an interim AD — no excuse for that since it had been 4 months since the former had left (and he gave notice). So you had the school chancellor and an interim AD doing the search. They only interviewed two candidates: Wake Forest’s Skip Prosser and Jamie Dixon.

Prosser was the guy they wanted. It was to the point where they were down in New Orleans for the Final Four and didn’t even contact any other possibilities to at least informally talk about the job. Prosser ultimately turned down the job and chose to stay at Wake Forest. A good deal of which had to do with still not finding a full time AD. After very publicly flubbing the pursuit of Prosser, the school hired Dixon.

Thankfully our AD is on the job full time, and I'm willing to bet that we'll interview more than one candidate.

Still, the decision to give the job to Dixon--largely to appease the incoming top 20 recruiting class and current players--was the right one in retrospect. Pitt may have botched the process, but worked out well for them in the end.

That would bode well for the candidacy of Buzz Williams.

Read the whole thing.


Dannimal said...

Whatever else whirls around about Crean's big move, it's downright sh___ty if his G-Eagle players learned about his departure from the news media. Call me Pollyanna, but it's still about the kids, Tom.

Jordan said...

Interesting spin on the Pitt situation. As a Pitt alum who was present while Howland shook hands with friends and cheerleaders the night before he accepted the UCLA job I saw it a little differently. And honestly, there's no animosity toward him for leaving for one of the better jobs around and the one he grew up watching.

But anyway, your analysis on the hiring process is dead-on. The Pete Gillen-Rick Barnes analysis definitely dead-on. For Pitt, both Herb Sendek and John Calipari have strong local ties and expressed interest, only to be ignored. For us, a lot of the veteran players almost demanded Dixon be made HC. I'm not sure if that's because he was a players' coach or because they legitimately had the best interest of the team in mind, but they were right. Coach Crean did a great job with your program, and as Pitt fans we're certainly not sorry to see him go, but as Big East fans, we hope you guys stay good. (Ok, maybe not quite AS good, since we struggle to beat you guys...;-) ) Anyway, here's hoping you land an Anthony Grant or Travis Ford type. Best of luck, see you in the fall!