Somewhere Carl Abner has a bemused smile on his face.
Abner was the strong willed Economics professor, who dominated the search party in the early 70s that brought Denny Crum to U of L. There were others involved, but it always seemed like he was the guy large and in charge.
Which I mention as preface to this screed due to a parallel between that situation and the firestorm that’s enveloped the university and its basketball program these days.
There was an interim coach in charge of men’s hoops at that time. Howard Stacey. Standing in the stead of John Dromo due to the latter’s health issues, Stacey had proven himself not worthy for the job permanently.
The rest is, you know, history. Halcyon days for hoops ensued.
Matters are more dire today.
If the powers that be — we know their names, or at least think we do — want to diddle about with naming a permanent replacement for deposed school prexy Jim Ramsey, so be it. Greg Postel seems to have provided ballast for the U. Accreditation has been restored. Procedures are in place, etc, etc. The ship is no longer listing, at least, as much as it was.
But, if those muckety mucks calling the shots feel a committee is necessary to replace Tom Jurich, well, that’s not such a reasoned choice.
It’s time to act. Now.
I’m advised that a coach of one of the mens’ athletic teams has stated many current U of L mentors would be inclined to follow Jurich, should he be tabbed to run another school’s department and be inclined to harvest his Cardinal staff. A sense of stability is necessary to ward that off.
The same squared goes for Rick Pitino’s permanent replacement.
While it appears that Padgett and his staff are making a game effort to recruit, it is an impossible situation under present circumstances. NCAA sanctions hover over the program like Damocles sword. To think that any prepster of substance would sign on without at the very least knowing who will be the permanent coach is absurd.
And, the delusions of Cardinal fans notwithstanding, neither Billy Donovan nor Shaka Smart nor Greg McDermott nor Chris Mack is walking in that door. For the time being, the U of L job isn’t more attractive than where those guys currently reside.
So, one guy’s opinion, tear off the interim tags.
It’s time to generate some normality and continuity if nothing else.
Hire Vince Tyra to be AD. If he wants it, which my sense is, he does.
Hire David Padgett to be men’s basketball coach. And give him enough budget to keep Greg Paulus around.
Understand, I’m not sure if either is fully capable of maintaining the excellence of their predecessors. That’s not the primary concern at this juncture, frankly.
But, both have shown enough — to me anyway — that they are well worth the risk.
Besides, they’re both here, in place, and understand the full ramifications of U of L’s untenable situation. It’s hard to believe that any outsiders who would be considered upgrades would commit until the sanctions situation subsides. That might take years.
Thrown into the miasma, David Padgett has displayed all the necessary intangibles peripheral to the job. And, with each outing, he’s giving signs of climbing the steep learning curve he faced when thrown into the fire.
Vince Tyra has proven himself to be an adroit businessman. He’s also a Cardinal legacy. His love for the school is deep and true. At a time like this, that’s a huge factor in his favor.
So, sure, it’s a roll of the dice. But, given all the peril facing the university and the basketball program, I say double down.
Urgent Memo to Grissom, Schnatter, Postel, Whoever else is getting a word in edgewise.
Give Tyra and Padgett the jobs.
— c d kaplan