There’s a long intro to this column. If you don’t want to read my ruminations, scroll down ’til you find Bold lettering.
I have a list. It excludes all the people you’ve read on all the other lists. It’s not that those names shouldn’t be considered, it’s that you’re bored reading about them.
Just after the new year, I began asking my colleagues in the media: “When did you start making your list?”
Everyone had a specific answer. Whether it was the first Maryland game, at Indiana or Winthrop; everyone immediately remembered the moment.
No one ever asked “which list?”
Fans need not hate John Groce. They can want a new basketball coach without diminishing Groce as a human being. He didn’t publicly trash his players the way Bruce Weber did. He didn’t run the program into the ground the way Weber did. Groce merely failed to revive the program from Weber’s destruction.
John Groce got a five year contract to rebuild the program, and he got five years to rebuild the program. Fair’s fair. Illinois gave John Groce the time and money it promised.
Everybody can feel bad that it didn’t work out, while also acknowledging that it didn’t work out.
Groce is now $8.1 million richer than he was in April of 2012. His connections in the basketball world, and the level of respect he’s earned from members of the coaching fraternity, will ensure that he continues to earn a significant salary for as long as he wants to keep coaching.
We can feel bad that John Groce failed to achieve a level of success we all wanted. But we don’t need to feel sorry for him. He’ll be fine.
It’s really a perfect time to attract a new coach. Groce recruited a pretty good incoming class. That makes the job desirable to worthwhile candidates. Dee-Deron-Luther had Bruce Weber literally (yep) jumping (does nobody but me remember this interview?) in 2003, when Bill Self taught Ron Guenther a lesson about market forces.
With Michael Orris and Jalen James in the fold, Illini basketball did not find anyone eagerly jumping for Weber’s job.
The Lovie Hire
A blindsiding surprise. A pro coach moving to the college level.
Who’s the guy with a Chicago connection who then took the reins of a pro team in Florida?
Midwest native, Big Ten roots, pro pedigree. Can he coach? A lot of people have opinions on this topic. Over the last twenty years, quite a few of them played for Skiles in the NBA, where he’s benn both an assistant and head coach. Why not ask some of them how he’d do in a college setting?
The Lateral Mover
The Up n’ Comers
Are these guys ready for prime time?
Don’t even bother calling …
These guys have had some success. Can they be successful again?