"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

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday update: A Buzz about Marquette

Todd Rosiak reports this morning that current assistant Buzz Williams is "likely the top candidate" to replace Tom Irsay as the new head basketball coach at Marquette.

In a disappointing development, the article also reports that MU has approached Tony Bennett, Anthony Grant, and Sean Miller -- only to be rebuffed.

Meanwhile, WTMJ in Milwaukee is reporting that MU is down to four: Buzz Williams, Davidson's Bob McKillop, Wright State's Brad Brownell and SIU's Chris Lowery.

Chris Jenkins of the AP reports that MU already spoke with Williams informally about the opening. Thankfully it appears that Brian Gregory wants to stay in Dayton (lets hope that was just a bad rumor the other day).

The momentum (er, buzz) around Williams could be an indication that Marquette is keen to stop the bleeding with the incoming 2009 recruits, not to mention any players on the current roster. Williams could offer a smooth bridge to a new era on campus, without the disruption of a complete regime change.

We'll watch this space closely.

BTW, the Bleacher Report has an interesting list of 'up and coming' coaches to check out.

13 comments:

Richard said...

If we hire this guy, can we throw in a provision that he do something about his appearance? I'm serious here. This is the guy that will be on television representing Marquette University. There are going to be a lot of "Sling Blade" references thrown around.

Championships Matter said...

Is this the guy who is going to take Marquette from what it is -- a Top 25 program with good players and a great visibilty -- and make us National Champion?

Or is he Hank Raymonds, Bob Dukiet and Mike Deane?

I have a very bad feeling about this one! I do not know Buzz from Adam, but I do know the last times we reached down to our assistant coaches and to guys who did well at smaller colleges, things did not go well.

My best guess is Cottingham is panicing and out of his league. He is letting a buch of 19 year olds guide a decision that we're going to live with for a long time to come.

What I'm really afraid of is what happened in 1968 when Vince Lombardi retired and replaced himself with Phil Bengston. Tom Crean was not Vince Lombardi but I'm frightened that any of the people on our list will be Marquette's Phil Bengston.

Steve H said...

I think this just shows that the Marquette job is not as attractive as we all wish it was. It is hard to admit it but I think I have come to see the reality of it now that all these other coaches have said no.

jpudner said...

Sorry this will be long, but a very good observation by Steve H on Tony Bennett, Anthony Grant, and Sean Miller not being interested. With all this job has going for it, the expectation of the fan base is a negative in these situations. The reason for my adament defense of Crean's record - (NOT HOW HE DEPARTED) - is not for Crean, it's for the next coach. When a potential coach looks at a job and sees that much of the fan base considers a Top 25 finish and falling just short of a Round 2 win a failure, I believe it scares them off. Look at Alabama football, they had all the things we have here for basketball, best tradition and facilities, etc., and noone wanted the job becaues they knew a 9-2 record would be considered a disaster because they'd be coaching in the long shadow of Bear Bryant, just as the next MU coach will stil always be in the shadow of Al McGuire. Bama finally had to resort to let Nick Saban write his own contract at $4 million a year with no way to fire him for almost a decade. Bennett, Grant and Miller are idolized at their current schools - why come to a place where the lose all their stored up credit if they did not finish in the Top 25 next year? I'd ask everyone who trashed Crean non-stop to look in the mirror when coaches turn us down. I'd love to see us pull off Mckillop, Brownell or Lowery, but if we end up with Buzz I'll get behind him. And by the way, I don't drive TCs children to and from school (I'd never spoken a word to him until I got 3 seconds to give him a congrats after the Kentucky win) - but I have to give Lima a "touche" on that accusation, got me good there!

mu_hilltopper said...

jpudner - Nobody has suggested this year's team was a "failure" as you have written. NOBODY. At worst, people have written that the 11-7 BE record was "below expectations".

Stop perpetrating some myth that MU fans have bizarre expectations. Your gross exaggeration only hurts your cause.

The idea that expectations have scared a coach off is preposterous. Crean ended 7 of 9 years without an NCAA win, and he was NO WHERE NEAR being fired, which is the only thing a coach need worry about. He still had a HUGE fan base, and the University was solidly behind him.

MU's fan base is reasonable. The fraction who think we should compete for NC's are firstly, a tiny fraction, and secondly, smoking something, and lastly, mostly ignored. The other 99% would be totally satisfied with NCAAs 4 of 5 years, winning 1 NCAA 3 of 5 years, and a S16 run once every 5. And even THOSE numbers can be adjusted down, depending on the situation.

Ben said...

Congratulations to the Women's team capturing the WNIT title! Go Marquette!

Gene Frenkle said...

To claim that MU's fans are any different, or vastly worse, than other schools is ludicrous. THere are always jags that don't appreciate a good thing at every good, yet-to-be-great programs.

But again, for allll the vocal minority that like to clamor anon on this site that bitched and moaned about firing Crean, well...you got your wish for change. Bring in Buzz!!!

If he's hired, words can't express the anger I'll have for Mr. Craps-his-pants Cottingham. Going that route, after all Crean has done and where this program is speaks to me in volumes of how ill prepared this administration was for a move of this magnitude...a move that they should always have expected to come at some time. That's what administrations in the Big East are supposed to do.

Settling for an assistant coach is beyond the pale.

But...at least all the anti-Crean people will be THRILLED to death.

warriorsforever said...

C'mon, everybody knows Crean was the one in control of everything at MU. He was the defacto AD and Cottingham was just a body to keep the chair warm in the office. Why is anybody surprised that he doesn't have a clue what he's doing and is about to kill any enthusiasm for mens basketball by hiring Buzz?

You take a risk by giving a coach like Crean so much control. It's fine if he stays at the school, but "uh-oh" if he suddenly bolts.

Gene Frenkle said...

Warriorsforever, I don't care how much control Tom had. Bill Cords should have had a list in his back pocket of coaches. Fr. Wild should have had this list too. Cottingham has had plenty of time to devise a list. All three of those guys are privvy to what's going on now. It all falls on Cottingham, but to say he didn't have time or say that Crean was the one in control is a cop out.

We are in the big east now. It's not mommy and papa time. We are with the big boys, not the St. Louis, Southern Miss, Houston's and Chrlotte's of the world.

jpudner said...

MU Hilltopper - I'll grant you that the fan base as a whole is a huge draw to a new coach (19,000 packed in and basketball not football being king). However, I believe there was a steady drumroll of "he has only won one NCAA game without D. Wade" and even the expectation you present of winning an NCAA game 60% of the time (3 of 5 years) is too high as a bar. Fact is we've won an NCAA game 5 of 31 years since Al left - less than one in every 6 years - so I believe to say our EXPECTATION of is unfair. (yes, TC was 2 of 9 by your criteria, but the coaches before him were 3 of 22). We've been accomplishing this goal 16% of the time, and you say most fans would be happy with a coach who can do it 60% of the seasons.

I want that too, believe me, but I think a coach weighing the options at a couple of schools knows there are plenty of places that will be THRILLED with winning NCAA games every couple of years, so I do think it is one negative in considering Marquette.

The Chuter said...

I have a gut feeling that the new coach will in fact be Chris Lowery, not Buzz. Felt it for a few days, then when I saw that the new Mr. Basketball in Illinois is an SIU committ, took it as an omen.

SIU stumbled this year, but over the past 5 years have been NCAA darlings.

mu_hilltopper said...

jpudner - I'll say that your historical comparisons aren't applicable anymore, plain and simple.

Is MU the same program it was in the 80s? No. The 90s? No. These past 6-7 years have put MU onto a different trajectory than before. Expectations have been raised. We weren't (consistently) the top 50 program in those 31 years you cite. Now we are, or we damn well should be or we should get the hell out of the Big East.

The drumbeat and expectations you rightly observe come with the territory - 16k average fans, BE, ESPN games and top 25 rankings up the wazoo, on top of sparing no expense for the program or the HC salary. If our expectations aren't to be in the top 32 60% of the time, we're doing something very wrong. -- The bottom line is, no coach worth anything would be so scared of that goal, they forgo the job.

Liam said...

Well done once again Punder. Our expectations should be low in order to comfort and alleviate the pressures of our new coach. "5 out of 31 years since Al left" is a stat all future coaches should comtemplate and it of course accentuates Crean's other wordly success here. The first thing our AD should say to our potential coach is "no worries if we resemble St. John's or DePaul we understand our fan base is irrational so go get em!!!" As the previous poster mentioned this situation is not analagous to the 80's at all, and if you were satisfied with 11-7 BE record this yr and a 2nd round exit you are in the minortity. We all know the next few years will be a struggle, regardless of who we hire, but your argument (if one can call it that) connotes that MU is a program that will never be able to compete for a Sweet 16 let alone a Final Four ever again. I mean why not join the Horizon league or start a new league with crappy Catholic schools that used to good. But you're right I'm the Crean hater, the pessimist, the irrational one, and 1% of the MU fan base.