Well it’s official: Louisville has parted ways with Chris Mack.
The former Xavier coach was widely expected to kill it in Charm City
but instead he’s lost his team and now his job. College basketball’s answer to Dobbie The House Elf is tonight unemployed.
Just a random thought: the fate of Mack and Dino Gaudio, both of whom toiled at Wake Forest for the late Skip Prosser, makes you kind of wonder about his judgment.
Anyway, back to Louisville. Here’s a reasonable summation of where Louisville has been lately. NCAA issues still loom. So naturally, the next question is, who wants to take over this train wreck of a program?
Louisville fans are about to make the same mistake UCLA and Indiana fans have made. Yes, it’s. program that should succeed. But it hasn’t always lived up to it, even under Rick Pitino, who always, and inevitably, saw his Louisville program compared to his Kentucky program. And of course his one national title was revoked.
Louisville fans, as this article suggests, are convinced their program deserves a big-time name. They’re hoping for UCLA’s Mick Cronin, Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, Arkansas head man Eric Musselman or Scott Drew, who has turned Baylor into an amazing program.
Here’s the thing though: right now, for all of them, it’s a step down, and to a program that still has NCAA issues. Why would they move now?
Kenny Payne has come up again and we could see that. But he has no head coaching experience and is, therefore, by definition, a gamble.
What Louisville would like, ideally, is a brilliant young coach who could stay and build for the long term.
In a perfect world, their next coach would have Final Four experience, preferably with national championships.
Did we mention 40 or under?
That pretty much eliminates everyone except one coach. Since Rick Pitino left in 2017, he’s won three national championships and lost six games - total.
We’re referring of course to Ben McCollum of Northwest Missouri State. We’ve never understood why people don’t take a gamble on this guy. He’s the closest thing we’ve seen to John Wooden since John Wooden.
It may be that, as a native of Iowa City, he’s holding out of the Hawkeyes job. So what?
We’d much rather take a chance on a guy with his resume than Pearl, who has gotten two schools in trouble, or Payne, who has never coached in college.
It blows our mind that his name never comes up in major searches. We’ve seen his teams in Cameron and they’re clearly well coached.
Of course it could go totally wrong and he could be a train wreck. But isn’t it a gamble worth taking? You’d have to think that, sooner or later, someone is going to look at this man’s accomplishments and hire him. It literally makes no sense to do a job search today, and certainly at Louisville, all the issues factored in, without his name coming up.