Morning Five: 05.20.14 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 20th, 2014

morning5

  1. National Championships have their benefits, especially for second-year head coaches whose name has been recently bandied about NBA circles with the word “Lakers” involved. Reports surfaced on Monday that Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie, a man who was fighting for a long-term contract from the university as recently as 18 short months ago, is set to sign a new five-year deal that will reportedly pay him more than twice his current salary (nearly $3 million per year). It goes without saying that a coach in his early 40s who already has a title under his belt is a hot commodity, and Ollie will join many of his elite peers in take-home pay in very short order, as this deal will put UConn’s leading Husky among college basketball’s top 10 coaching salaries, according to USA Today.
  2. From one end of the coaching spectrum to the other, as Oregon State announced on Monday its hiring of Montana’s Wayne Tinkle as its new head basketball coach. Tinkle heads to Corvallis with a solid resume, having led the Grizzlies to three NCAA Tournament appearances in his eight seasons and never finishing below .500 while there. He will inherit a program that has proven to be one of the absolute toughest at which to win in Division I basketball. The Beavers last made the NCAA Tournament in 1990 (!!!), and have not achieved a .500 Pac-10/12 record in over two decades (1993). Further compounding the difficulty that Tinkle will face is that all five of last season’s starters from an 8-10 squad have moved on. Perhaps Tinkle is the guy to finally lead Oregon State out of the basketball wilderness, but it will be no easy task.
  3. One of the starters who left Oregon State this offseason was shooting guard Hallice Cooke, a rising sophomore who logged the second-most percentage of available minutes for the Beavers last season and nailed a team-high 45.6 percent of his threes. Cooke announced on Monday via Twitter that he will transfer to play for The Mayor at Iowa State for the rest of his collegiate career. Fred Hoiberg’s 12th transfer in his fourth season in Ames exhibits again just how well the popular coach has used the free agency transfer market to fill the holes on his roster (UNLV transfer Bryce Dejean-Jones will hold down Iowa State’s shooting guard spot during the intervening year). Although Cooke will not become eligible to play for the Cyclones until the 2015-16 season, his three-point prowess figures to eventually fit very well into Hoiberg’s spread-the-floor offense.
  4. Kevin Ollie wasn’t the only head coach to receive an extension this week, as Xavier’s Chris Mack — a coach who was reportedly considered as a top candidate for several other jobs this spring — signed an extension that will keep him at the school through the 2019-20 season. In Mack’s five years at the school, he’s compiled an impressive 111-57 overall record that includes four NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the Sweet Sixteen (2010 and 2012). Although Xavier has had a multitude of excellent coaches over the years from Pete Gillen to Skip Prosser to Thad Matta — it was in no small part due to Mack’s recent success that Xavier was invited to become a member of the new basketball-centric Big East. It will certainly be tough for Xavier to keep a talent like Mack on campus all the way through the term of his new contract, but the commitment is worthwhile for a coach who has proven he has the chops to win at a high level.
  5. Even on a busy Monday of college basketball-related news, the most interesting nugget of the lot may have come from a decision by the State Employees of North Carolina public workers union to allow student-athletes at the state’s 17 public universities to join its collective bargaining organization. Players at schools like North Carolina, NC State, Charlotte and others would be affected, but the bigger picture question is whether this move represents another arrow directed at the disintegrating notion of athletes as amateurs. This of course comes on the heels of the NLRB’s recent decision to classify a group of Northwestern football players as employees with the right to organize its own union, and although any holding in that case would only apply to private schools like NU and others, the sea change is coming whether the NCAA likes it or not.
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Big 12 M5: 10.08.12 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on October 8th, 2012

  1. No need to remind Chris Walker how difficult his job is this season at Texas Tech. He may have inherited one of the messiest situations in major college basketball after the resignation of Billy Gillispie, but he’s likely just happy to have the interim job at this point. With no expectations whatsoever, Walker is now pledging to get out and run with his new roster this season. Walker says he likes the Red Raiders’ athleticism, but as the article points out, his up-tempo style may depend on how well his new point guards perform. Last year, Gillispie’s point guards were nothing short of abysmal, and he did not ever find a viable option to take care of the basketball and facilitate offense. Those who’ve seen freshman Josh Gray say he’ll be a difference-maker at the point, but it’s hard to rely on a frosh for leadership and immediate production. No matter who takes the reins as the point guard, though, it’s nice to see Walker attempting to create an identity for this program. That’s the first step in the recovery process after the Gillispie debacle.
  2. Two former Kansas basketball players joined the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame over the weekend, placing a Jayhawk stamp on the state with Bud Stallworth and Wayne Simien. As younger folks, we had to google Stallworth to make sure to cover all of our facts. He starred in the early ’70s, reached the Final Four in 1971 and saw his number retired by the school in 2005. Googling Simien was not necessary, however. Simien played in two Final Fours under Roy Williams and blossomed into one of the nation’s top forwards as an upperclassman, averaging a double-double as a senior in 2004-05. He played briefly in the NBA before heading to Europe, and he’s now listed as retired by Wikipedia. A bit surprising, sure, but Simien built quite a basketball pedigree in his short career.
  3. We’re a little late on this, but Bill Self signed an extension last week to stay at Kansas through 2022. We’re not sure what we’ll be doing in 2022, but if Self makes it that far, he’ll rake in millions. The deal increases his annual salary, too, which begs the question: Is Bill Self still underpaid? Forbes took a look at the situation and makes a decent argument. The economic impact Self has made at Kansas is stunning. Forbes claims Self has increased the Jayhawks’ financial stock, from the eighth-most valuable college basketball program to the third-most valuable in just a few years. That alone is enough to justify Self’s salary.
  4. Speaking of money, Kansas State just shelled out $18 million for a new practice facility. It’s 50,000 square feet and gives the basketball program luxurious courts, offices, locker rooms and other facilities. It may not translate directly to a national championship, but it’s the sort of thing that helps in the recruiting business and adds an extra benefit to potential prospects. It’ll also make Bruce Weber’s job a little easier as he begins to mark his place in Manhattan.
  5. Oklahoma State represents Travis Ford‘s fourth coaching stop, and he’s had an interesting tenure with the Cowboys. After immediate success on the shoulders of the likes of Byron Eaton and James Anderson, he’s fallen on hard times lately and needs a rebound. As this piece points out, he’s slowly rebuilt the three previous programs at which he coached, but he’s now attempting to bounce back from an injury-riddled season and two straight seasons without an NCAA Tournament. It’s odd to say, but the pressure might be on Ford with Marcus Smart joining the crew this season. It’s silly to say he’s on the hot seat, but the direction of his program probably depends on how his team fares in 2012-13.
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Morning Five: 05.17.12 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on May 17th, 2012

  1. Keep moving along. Nothing to see here. That was the stance of ACC commissioner John Swofford on Wednesday in reference to the earth-rumblings regarding Florida State’s rather public dalliance with the Big 12. Taking part in the ACC spring meetings in Amelia Island, Florida, this week, Swofford said that he had spoken with FSU president Eric Barron there and had enjoyed several “positive” conversations which clearly leads him to believe that the Tallahassee school is sticking around. Public statements from officials in positions of power are virtually meaningless these days — especially when it comes to this topic — but we really don’t see Florida State leaving the ACC for a few million dollars when they’d be ceding so much of their existing power to Texas as a result.
  2. Better late than never, but the NCAA announced yesterday that Washington, DC, would become the site of the 2013 East Regional during next year’s NCAA Tournament. Usually the regionals are well settled at this point in time, but reports suggest that the NCAA ran into contractual issues trying to lock up Madison Square Garden (or another NYC-area site) for next year’s tournament. The Verizon Center in downtown DC has served as an NCAA Tournament site several times in the previous decade, and its convenient location built on top of a Metro station makes getting to and from the venue a snap. The other three regional sites in 2013, which have been settled for some time now, are the Staples Center in Los Angeles (West), Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas (South), and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (Midwest). Where are you headed?
  3. How much is an elite college basketball head coach worth? USA Today reported on Wednesday that Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski was paid $7.2 million by the university for his work in the calendar year 2010. According to their research, Coach K’s total compensation that year represents the second-highest total by a head coach (basketball or football) since the publication started tracking the figures in 2006 (Rick Pitino earned $8.9 million in 2010-11). K’s total in 2010, where he no doubt met a number of incentives for winning the national championship, blew his $2.0 million base salary up to nearly four times that amount. When you add in Krzyzewski’s corporate sponsorships to that total, you begin to see that the Duke head coach is competitive with some of the sport’s best-paid athletes in terms of compensation.
  4. While on the subject of Krzyzewski, he announced earlier this week that this summer’s Olympic Games in London would be his last as the head coach of Team USA. There’s no question that Coach K has accomplished a couple of important things as the CEO of the men’s national team. First and foremost, he used his otherworldly player management and motivational skills to encourage (at the time) very young players like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul to play together and win a gold medal as a selfless unit (both in the Beijing Olympics and the 2010 World Championships). This was no easy task, as the 2008 Redeem Team earned its name after the disastrous bronze medal performance in Athens from the 2004 team. The second thing he was able to do was to satisfy his appetite for coaching the very best players in the world, something that he had flirted with a couple of times previously. This allowed him to stay in his rightful place in college basketball at Duke where he belongs, rather than moving to the NBA for a certainly less-fulfilling experience. Gregg Doyel writes that Coach K was able to do something that not even NCAA/NBA champion Larry Brown could do — keep world-class professional athletes hungry and motivated — and he questions whether the next guy is likely to do the same in 2016.
  5. Former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine’s wife, Laurie Fine, announced at a press conference on Wednesday that she will sue ESPN for libel based on the organization’s reporting that (she claims) made her appear as a monster who allowed her husband to molest children. Fine said during the presser that her life has been “ruined” by these allegations to the point where she can no longer go out in public anywhere in central New York. ESPN came out with a response immediately afterward stating that they stand by their reporting. One of the interesting questions that will help define the course of this claim is whether Fine is considered a “public” personality as the wife of the former SU assistant coach. Public figures face a much more difficult threshold to prove libelous claims against them, whereas private figures stand a much better chance. We won’t speculate on how this case might turn out, but the validity of her entire claim may turn on that argument.
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Paging Ken Krayeske, You’re Needed in Austin…

Posted by rtmsf on May 12th, 2011

As the nation’s states, municipalities and university systems continue struggling to shake off the after-effects of a crippling recession that dried up government coffers and has resulted in huge cuts to education and other core social services, well-paid coaches at big-name schools are progressively becoming targets for political posturing and faux-outrage.  The latest coach to take heat for merely doing his job well is Texas’ Rick Barnes, who recently received a $200,000 raise from the university broken into two parts — $75,000 as a standard annual increase written into his contract, and $125,000 to keep his compensation among the top ten highest paid coaches in the country (a provision of his deal with UT).  His total compensation of $2.4M was approved on Wednesday by the UT Board of Regents.

Barnes is Taking Flak That We Feel is Undeserved

While we completely sympathize with higher education systems nearly everywhere in America that are buckling under the dual stresses of spiraling costs and a public generally uninterested in subsidizing those dollars, to place blame on a guy wholly funded by money from non-taxpayer sources is pandering in its worst form.  Check out these quotes from Texas lawmakers on the matter:

  • “I’m a big fan of UT basketball and coach Barnes.  But at a time when everyone up here is fighting to come up with money to pay for education, it was disappointing.” — Sen. Kirk Watson (D)
  • “I think it’s nuts.”  — Sen. Steve Ogden (R)
  • “It’s not appropriate, not at a time when we’re scraping for money for education.”  — Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R)
  • “It is bad timing.  They didn’t ask for my advice.”  — Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D)

We all remember how Connecticut gadfly Ken Krayeske caused a stink a few years ago in querying UConn head coach Jim Calhoun about the particulars of his then-$1.6M salary, causing the crotchety coach to fire back with several increasingly snide remarks.  That was bad enough, but this is different.  Not a dime of Barnes’ salary comes from the Texas general fund, which means the taxpayers of the Longhorn State no more pay his salary than they do that of the Prince of Wales.  Notwithstanding the deep coffers that the Texas athletic department has at its disposal, we’re also quite certain that the university reaps untold more millions as a result of Barnes’ salary (the Calhoun argument).

If Texas legislators are disposed to pick a fight over Barnes’ salary, they might want to consider his overall performance rather than fixating on the raise itself – when you consider that Barnes is a top ten coach in terms of annual salary, you would hope that UT would avoid the late season meltdowns of the last two years and he’d have more than a single Final Four appearance under his belt.  Frankly, at a football school like Texas, he’s done enough to enable job security for as long as he wants to coach there, but it seems as if the lawmakers completely missed the boat in their efforts to tilt at windmills today.

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Buzz: Jim Calhoun on Verge of Contract Extension?

Posted by rtmsf on August 6th, 2009

We’ve been just as guilty as many others in speculating that Jim Calhoun, with his health issues and intolerance of alt-media gadflies, might be close to retirement.  A report today from the New Haven Register, however, dampens that assertion.  According to their sources, Calhoun is close to signing a multi-year extension with UConn, which probably belies the notion that Mr. Crankypants has any intention to retire soon.  Calhoun has one year remaining on his current deal which pays him a relatively paltry $1.6M per year (compared with the multiples of that other coaches are making), and if you hadn’t heard, he’s still making F4s at age 67. 

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08.02.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 2nd, 2007

August sorta snuck up on us, and with it did the realization that we’re now only about ten weeks away from Midnight Madness. 2007-08 schedules are slowly leaking out (Hey Florida – way to challenge build confidence for your new guys), and students will be back in the school in just a few weeks. We’re getting closer…

  • Speaking of schedules, the four Preseason NIT first/second round sites are: Ohio St., Syracuse, Washington, and Texas A&M. Best chance for a first-round upset? Oral Roberts over TAMU.
  • Wazzu stepped up to the plate to compensate Tony Bennett for his fine first season, although his pay is still below the Pac-10 average.
  • The hits keep coming for New Mexico St. – star forward Tyrone Nelson was dismissed from the team hours after his conviction for the robbery of a pizza delivery man.
  • Over forty institutions were named as allegedly taking part in a student loan kickback scheme that could have affected non-scholarship athletes at schools such as Georgetown, UCLA, Kansas and Auburn. As student loan holders, this is a troubling development.
  • March Madness All Season released its midsummer Top 25 – Memphis is #1.
  • Oh, and a while back Dick Vitale released his 07-08 preseason Rolls-Roycers (we prefer Maybachs) with nary a Dookie to be found.
  • Ahh, our friends the Dookies. H/T to The Dude Abides for finding the Duke response to the infamous “This is Why Duke Sucks” vid from earlier this year. There is no way any of the guys in that video actually go to Duke. Also have to mention we love the Audi – is there any car more Duke?
  • Speaking of Duke douchebags, McBob has apparently found his way into the back seat with quasi-reality MTV star Lauren Conrad.   
  • So what you’re saying is that we’re like every other sports blogger, right? Actually this is a pretty cool (although admittedly unscientific) analysis of the typical profile of sports bloggers today.
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