As the world is now aware, John Thompson III was fired by Georgetown’s Board of Directors on March 23rd. In the days following this news, we previewed a number of possible candidates for the position, including Shaka Smart, Mike Brey, Danny Hurley, Tommy Amaker, Patrick Ewing and Richard Pitino.
We chose these individuals for these brief blurbs because these are the individuals whose names have been associated with the position, mostly from what the fans want and from media speculation. It is this speculation that I want to touch on here because if there’s one thing you need to know when it comes to coaching searches is that you shouldn’t believe a damn thing you see on the internet.
Indeed, I recognize the hypocrisy of that sentence as I sit here typing something on the internet. However, since I’ve received a number of texts and emails over the last few days with links to certain sites out there that suggest they know things regarding the candidacy of some of the above candidates and others, understand that information surrounding candidates for coaching searches has to be taken with numerous grains of salt. I have a few friends in very low places that have personally been involved in a number of coaching searches over the past few years from various angles, so I clearly have enormous amounts of credibility and should never be questioned.
Know this: In most cases involving a coaching search, information is sent to various members of the media by agents. Agents of coaches considered for these positions, the agents of other coaches that aren’t involved but want to be, or the agents of coaches that want to give the perception that their client is involved. The motivations of this dissemination of information are obvious.
Know this: Take into consideration where the information appears. Is it on a national news platform with a solid reputation? Is it from a beat reporter covering a team that the candidate is a current coach of? Is it on a site with a paywall that depends on clicks/subscribers? Is the news coming from someone in his mom’s basement?
Know this: Unless you hear information from the individuals running a search or the candidates themselves, you shouldn’t take it as gospel. In the case of the Georgetown search there won’t likely be any information released by Athletic Director Lee Reed or Paul Tagliabue, and with good reason. The school shouldn’t release names of those they are considering because frankly, it serves no purpose. The cleanest searches are the ones kept close to the vest, with the only announcement being the one of the hire. This gives the perception, whether true or not, that the individual that is announced as the hire was the school’s number one target, a PR benefit to all involved. A recent example of this was Archie Miller’s hire at Indiana. The flipside to this is what’s going on at UMass, a job that was filled by Winthrop’s Pat Kelsey who then had cold feet, or what is occurring at Duquesne, where the position has been rejected by a number of candidates. The last thing Georgetown needs from a PR perspective is to get itself involved in a similar scenario, and it should take its time to make sure that it doesn’t.
Know this: As I type this waste of time and words tonight, there is no reason to assume that anyone who we think might be in play for the opening is no longer in play. And yes, that goes for everyone, whether it be a head coach of Texas or a Hall of Fame center that used to play for the Hoyas.
Know this: The first name you hear associated with a job rarely gets the gig.
Know this: This will move quickly. Coaching searches are usually quick, as most openings occur in March and need to be filled by early April ahead of the live recruiting period. It’s been only 4 days, and while I suspect the opening to be filled very soon, there’s no reason to read anything into the lack of information surrounding candidates that may be involved. For openings that aren’t filled before the Final Four, interviews are often conducted over that weekend in the city of the games.
Know this: My advice is to just relax. AD Lee Reed and Paul Tagliabue are the perfect team to lead this search. Reed has vast knowledge of the college basketball landscape around the country and is keenly aware of the direction the program needs to take. Tagliabue brings with him the obvious stature of being a former NFL Commissioner, as well as carries experience as being part of the Georgetown basketball family and, as a member of the Board of Directors, can answer any possible questions that candidates may have, from contractual terms or the future involvement of John Thompson, Jr. in the program.
Know this: We’ll continue to have extensive coverage of the search and will certainly continue to post various rumors and speculation that I warned of above. I’m now going to watch BILLIONS and go to bed.