Last night at the wonderful SAAC banquet for the student-athletes at Mount St. Mary's, it was brought to my attention by a friend of a friend of a coach who talked to an administrator apparently involved with the search committee that my three finalists post was "way, way off." In fact I was told that only one of them is correct, although I do not know which one. I'm hoping it's Brion Dunlap.
Although I'm sincerely flattered that an administrator on the search committee took the time to read my blog, it was not my intention to upset them as I apparently did. I was simply speculating on who the next coach could be and made it very clear when I had factual information versus when I was simply passing along rumors or my own hunches.
That being said, I want to be clear in the blame that I'm placing. I have no beef with athletic director Lynne Robinson. My athletic career is over and the school can take nothing from what I've done and already received athletically. If I had a problem with Lynne's involvement in the selection process I would say so. In fact I do not know exactly how much influence she even has because of the one man who, I do respect, but am troubled by his involvement; President Thomas H. Powell.
I won't get into the reasons I have a lot of respect for Powell as a person, he really is a great guy and has done a lot for the academic side of campus. But as someone supposedly leading the search committee I'm highly disappointed in the road this process has traveled.
President Powell is a busy man and is often out of town (as he was yesterday), not to mention that his general knowledge of sports is limited. It's no secret that his strong priority for the Mount is academics, and he'll do little to advance the athletic department further along than it is. I'm not saying he doesn't support the sports teams at the Mount - he is very supportive. What I'm saying is that he is not sports savvy.
I am confident that if Lynne Robinson and a search committee she would personally compile would do this search with no interference, it would have been done by now and a great coach would already be receiving a paycheck. If Powell wants the final stamp of approval, I have no problem with that. He is, after all, the Man at the Mount. He deserves final say. But what the school does not deserve is for him to be Al Davis-like in the sense that he wants to micromanage every part of the process instead of letting the experts in the situation do what they're paid to do.
I would not claim to be familiar with all the intricacies of the search process nor how much weight each person on the committee carries. But I do know from talking to some prominent people on the athletic side of campus that Powell is essentially running the show. And that's why I am doing something that I hope I never do again in my life - rooting for Robert Morris.
If the Colonials never win another basketball game in their existence I will be no less upset with my life than I am now. But as for the time it takes them to name a new head coach, I hope they crush us. I hope it's over by the first half, per se. If we're really lucky, Robert Morris will name it's new head coach before we do, let alone in less total time. Keep in mind that Mike Rice officially left the school to go to Rutgers 17 or 18 days (depending on which report you use) after Milan Brown left for Holy Cross. So how embarrassing would it be if our biggest rival beat us to the punch, even though we got a 17-to-18-day head start? Hopefully embarrassing enough that the Mount starts to take itself more seriously.
If Brion Dunlap isn't your man, fine. If he is, even better. I've made it clear that I'm rooting for him. If he is not the choice, I trust that the search committee will make a selection that it deems to be the best suit for the program. I will support that person as much as I'll support coach Bri if he is selected. But that does not change the fact that the school has dragged its feet.
You want to say that it's OK to take our time? That there's a positive correlation with taking more time? Or maybe you have another justification for the length of this process? That's fine, but sometimes different circumstances dictate different approaches. It is MAY 5 - CINCO DE FRICKIN' MAYO - and we don't have a head coach.
The AAU summer circuit is about to get under way. How can the Mount's head coach convince players to come here when the head coach doesn't even exist yet? Who is going to run a summer camp to generate money for the school and program? If you think it's not important to recruiting and that we'll find another late talent like we did with Kristijan Krajina* last year, you're dreaming. We've already lost Donte Morales, who is a borderline Mountain West/Atlantic 10 capable player. If we lose Justin Burrell, too, we'll have one point guard - Lamar Trice.
(*I ate breakfast with Kristijan this morning and he is noticeably bigger. He says he's put on 15 pounds - now at 240 - since the end of the season. He already has a great finesse game, if he can throw some weight around in the low post the next three years he will be a very versatile force.)
So don't tell me it's OK that we take this much time to find a new head coach. If it were March 20, you could convince me, but not early May when we already have a scholarship floating around.
I'm told (actually told this time, not just a hunch) that the coach will be selected by tomorrow. Another person assured me that the selection will be made by the end of the week, which I take to mean as Friday. Regardless of which day it is, I'll be glad when the wait is finally over, even if it has gone a number of days past the common sense deadline.
Follow The Fan Blog closely the next couple days for updates as well.