Sunday, December 03, 2006

And the head coach of your University of Minnesota Golden Gophers...

Quick update on the University of Minnesota mens basketball situation...

Unless you've been under a rock, you know that coach Dan Monson resigned under pressure last Thursday, one day after a disastrous home loss versus Clemson.

During the second half of the game Wednesday night, many prominent Gopher boosters walked out of the arena in disgust. Not coincidently, negotiations for a buyout of Monson's contract began the next morning, and by afternoon, Monson was out.

According to my sources, here are the candidates to fill the position following this season (listed in order of booster preference):

1) Flip Saunders
This would be a homecoming for Saunders, a U of M alumnus who played on the team in the late 1970s. Saunders is known to harbor dreams of someday coaching his alma mater, and many prominent boosters would like to see this happen. A huge complication is going to be Saunders' significant unfulfilled contract for the Detroit Pistons, though word is that a solution could be found -- apparently not everyone in Detroit is enamored with Saunders' work.

2) Rick Majerus
Majerus was briefly a candidate for the position the last time around when Monson got the job. At the time, Majerus coached a formidable Utah program and never whole-heartedly made himself available for the job. Later forced out of the Utah position, Majerus resigned due to "health concerns" -- which Majerus actually has -- but this was actually only a cover at the time for more serious interpersonal problems. Majerus could become a serious candidate only if Saunders is unavailable.

3) Steve Lavin
Lavin initially had success at UCLA but was fired in 2003 after several seasons which could appropriately be labeled "underachieving". Lavin's resume also includes public criticism by Baron Davis of inhibiting the development of his players. He's a notable name and he's available, which essentially summarizes his appeal.

Other names:
--Mike Montgomery: Formerly the coach at Stanford, Montgomery most recently failed in the professional arena during a brief stint with the Golden State Warriors. Montgomery is a proven coaching commodity, but is not seen as someone who would transition well to the Midwest.

--Jim Molinari: Currently the interim coach for the Gophers, Molinari probably won't get serious consideration unless he really turns the team around in a little more than half a season. Molinari has previous experience as a head coach at Southern Illinois and Bradley and is a defensive specialist -- a trait that factors well into Big Ten coaching.

--Trent Tucker: Tucker will not be offered the head coaching position. However, there is a lot of talk that Tucker could be offered the top assistant spot under the next coach -- especially if that coach is Saunders -- due to Tucker's knowledge of and potential ability to recruit the Chicago area.

--Kevin McHale: McHale has clearly not enjoyed the past two seasons as General Manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and another lousy season this year may finally push him out the door. Like Saunders, McHale is a former Gophers standout, and certain individuals believe that the Gophers position may reignite McHale's love for the game -- a passion that has clearly been missing in the near-recent past.


Blogger Super Rookie said...

what about B. Knight?

Mon Dec 04, 06:30:00 AM 2006

Blogger Tuffy said...

B. Knight is not happening. His newest contract with Texas Tech calls for his son Pat to succeed him upon his retirement. B. Knight is shrewd enough that he wouldn't put his son's future at risk.

Mon Dec 04, 08:55:00 AM 2006

Blogger AdamB said...

All those guys are pretty bad, except maybe Majerus. And maybe now that he's got his weight under control, he'll be more friendly.

Mon Dec 04, 12:57:00 PM 2006

Blogger Super Rookie said...

says the guy at basketball powerhouse Notre Dame.

Mon Dec 04, 09:31:00 PM 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am on my 11th year of season tickets and they needed to do something. Wonder when Monson's home on Bearpath G.C. will go up for sale?

Wed Dec 06, 09:33:00 PM 2006


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