"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

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Charm Offensive

After embracing a quiet, guarded public persona during his first few months on the job (which was incredibly refreshing given the media whoring we'd seen in previous years) Buzz Williams is emerging, ever so smartly and measured, in the media. After nearly wrapping up the bulk of what looks to be a solid-to-very-good 2009 recruiting class, and in advance of the vital open recruiting season, Marquette fans (and others) are getting to know their head coach.

First we had the Buzz BBQ, a spectacular success by all accounts. +1

Next we had an article from a media outlet that we're not comfortable mentioning given their bassackwards and unclear demands of new media. Still, Colin Fly is a fine reporter and a few days ago he re-introduced Buzz Williams to the masses on the backs of the program's greatest current strength, the Three Amigos. +1

Now, we have the Holy Grail of sorts--- a big, fat feature on the Marquette program and Buzz Williams on ESPN.com. The Adam Rittenberg article is a home run. Williams is positioned as a decent, down-home fellow who worked his tail off to make his own breaks. More importantly, coach Williams comes across as a player's coach (if there can be such a thing at the college level) and the accolades from Billy Gillispie and Jerel McNeal reaffirm the potential upside of the hire. +1

While the media firehose we'd been drinking from in the past nine years has slowed considerably, one gets the sense that the coverage now is much more about the Marquette program than the coach himself. Blatant self-interest (self promotion?) has its limitations -- and a well executed media strategy on behalf of the basketball program, rather than the coach, is bound to pay dividends.

3 comments:

Richard said...

The media attention is all well and good, however the tone of every article is "Who the heck is this guy?" And let's be honest here, he's still a HUGE question mark. Isn't that the point?

As Cottingham says in the ESPN piece, there are still people asking him what the hell he's doing? Why were we forced to hire such a huge question mark?

The comparison to Crean's hiring are completely inappropriate. For one thing, we were in a downward spiral when Crean was hired. For another, we were in Conference USA. Lastly, Crean was coming off about 5 years at MSU, coupled with stops at Western Kentucky and Pitt. Buzz has, I believe 3 years high DI experience. Three years!!!

We are a Big East basketball program returning perhaps the most experienced team in all of Division I basketball and we now have essentially the most unproven coach in high DI.

Buzz may be organized. May be the greatest guy in the world. We may win a couple games in the NCAA next year. It could work out great.

But it was an inexplicable, lazy hire and Cottingham's feet should be held to the fire on this one.

The Chuter said...

Feel better Richard? Check the box under “Vent venom about Buzz hire.” What’s next? Neighbors’ cat?

Tell me, given how much Jerel McNeil has riding on his senior year, which amounts to about 10 years of hard work, why is he so comfortable with the hire?

"It was an unbelievable job by coach, he's been doing a great job since he's been named as head coach," said McNeal, who acknowledged he was shocked when Crean left. "He's been keeping guys on the same page, and keeping guys together."

Cottingham has stated that they put out feelers to the experienced D-1 coaches you so desire, and they were either pimping for pay increases or not interested. BTW: how experienced was Tony Bennett before his hire? Or Dick Bennett for that matter. I recall all the Richard’s of the world stating that UWGB and UW-State Schools were not training ground for UW-Madison.

Get over it already. We got a guy who can recruit and looks to be a players coach. That’s 80% of the battle. The other 20%, game coaching, was Crean’s biggest weakness, so how much worse can Buzz be?

John said...

Great pick of Jerel on the ESPN article.