Could Miami Hire A Coach Without Contacting Frank Martin?Posted by nvr1983 on April 11th, 2011
When Missouri shocked the college basketball world with its announcement that it had selected Frank Haith to replace Mike Anderson most writers believed that the Miami administration would instinctively look to Manhattan, Kansas to find a replacement for Haith in Frank Martin, who grew up in Miami and still has strong ties down there. It was widely expected that the Hurricane administration would make a hard push at bring the Kansas State coach to Coral Gables where he could rejuvenate a program that has had few bright spots in its uninspiring history. Hurricane fans, long a fickle fan base even in football where they had a 20-year run that rivals anything done in that sport, even expressed a modicum of excitement at the possibility that their basketball program could finally become relevant even if it would take some work to catch ACC stalwarts like Duke and UNC. Yet it has been a week since Haith left Miami and according to Martin they have not even contacted him or anybody representing him.
Much has been made of the fact that Martin reportedly made significantly more than Haith ($1.55 million per year vs $1 million per year for Haith), but according to Martin that figure is if he hits all of his incentives and his actual base salary is “only” $1.1 million per year, which is essentially the same as Haith’s salary. The Miami administration has a well-earned reputation of not being willing to open up their checkbook for big-name coaching hires and the fact that they are without an athletic director at the present time (their prior athletic director Kirby Hocutt left for Texas Tech) may limit their ability to spend a few extra dollars even if they wanted too. In the end, that–either Miami’s incorrect assumption on Martin’s salary or inability to offer up more money without an athletic director–may end up costing the Hurricanes a golden opportunity to become relevant as they reportedly have their sights set on Tommy Amaker and have offered him “roughly $1.1 million for five years”, the same as Martin’s base salary. Amaker is said to be interested in the job, but has some reservations due to the effect it might have on his wife’s career (she is an Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School). Amaker has clearly done a good job turning around the Harvard program from 8-22 to 23-7 and brought them to the verge of the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid, but you would have hard time finding someone connected with basketball who would put Amaker at the same level as Martin.
As Miami Herald columnist Greg Cote points out Miami’s decision to essentially ignore Martin is tantamount to the Heat ignoring LeBron James last summer. The decision is even more surprising when you look at the other candidates that Miami has reportedly considered:
- Mike Davis (UAB)
- Rob Jeter (Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
- Donnie Jones (Central Florida)
- Tony Barbee (Auburn)
- Billy Kennedy (Murray State)
- Seth Greenberg (Virginia Tech)
While there are some interesting names on that list none of them even approach Martin’s status and that includes Davis, who made a NCAA championship game with Indiana in 2002, but has struggled to make the NCAA Tournament since then. None of the other names have even come close to advancing that far in the NCAA Tournament and Davis was the only one in that group to make the NCAA Tournament this year where his team lost in the First Four. In fact, Amaker’s history of coaching success might be even less substantial than many of the others on this list. While he deserves credit for turning Harvard around and guiding Seton Hall to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2000 the fact remains that it was 2000 and Amaker has failed to even get another team in his 15 years to the NCAA Tournament including during his 6 years at Michigan, one of the top basketball programs in the country. The fact that Miami could conduct this search without considering or contacting Martin boggles the mind.
Hiring Martin would immediately make the Hurricanes a contender in the ACC within a few years and could essentially lock down nearly all of the talent in the Miami-Dade area as Martin already has strong recruiting connections there despite being nearly 1,500 miles away and could offer local basketball players an opportunity similar to what Bo Schembechler gave to local football recruits in the early 1980’s when he told them they could create the greatest football program in the country in their own backyard. The Miami-Dade area doesn’t have the same concentration of basketball talent as it does football talent to reach that level of success, but with Martin pulling in the top recruits in the area and a few national recruits (there are many worse places for an 18-22 year-old to live than Miami/Coral Gables for a year or more) they could be in position to challenge the Dukes and UNCs of the world and occasionally make a Final Four appearance. His return to Florida would also send a chill up Billy Donovan‘s spine as Donovan would know that he would no longer command the attention of every recruit and coach in the state. You cannot say that about anybody on Miami’s list. If Miami wants to sell their fans on the promise of mediocrity, so be it, but don’t expect us to fall in line.