1. From nothing to "done deal" in like three hours
The most pivotal moment of Haith's career at Mizzou came when Mike Dixon was dismissed from the program. The 2012-13 team had a chance to be really good, but Phil Pressey, for all his gifts, proved to be monumentally untrustworthy as a point guard, especially in the game’s waning moments. Things would have been much, much different with a guy like Dixon making good decisions and taking big shots. That team would have won at least four or five more games with Dixon and would have earned a good seed in the tournament. Haith would have produced in a big way in each of his first two seasons and would have stockpiled enough good will to weather a year like the one he just had.
It is a nice reminder that good situations can often become shaky situations due to forces outside of your control, and good hires can become bad hires (and vice versa) at the drop of a hat. This is a really tenuous business. And as a whole, that's why I've enjoyed most of Mike Alden's tenure as athletic director. He doesn't always make a good hire -- that makes sense, as when it comes to hiring coaches, a success rate of 50% is pretty strong (which is why you don't want to have to do it very often) -- but he is pragmatic in his approach, he doesn't make emotional decisions (which hurts him in PR from time to time), and he sticks to what he sees as core values.
Those values, and the qualifications he seeks, have been honed and refined through the years, but I think this approach gives him solid odds of success. His basketball hiring track record obviously isn't amazing, but it also isn't as bad as we want to make it. Quin Snyder looked like a solid hire until about halfway through his fourth year, when it suddenly wasn't*. Given his minimal support and resources (as I'm sure you remember, curators were voting on whether or not to fire him as he was out looking for a coach), Alden's hire of Mike Anderson was an outright home run. And with Haith ... yeah, I understand that I have a different view of Haith's second year than most, so we'll just say that while it clearly wasn't a wonderful hire, I don't think it was as bad as most do right about now.
* "It was, then it wasn't" obviously means that it means it finished in the "bad hire" category, but it also points to how hard it is to project success. Quin Snyder was a former point guard who hadn't stocked the point guard position well enough, and he took a chance on a high-scoring JUCO guard playing in Idaho (a move that everyone LOVED at the time) for his fourth year in charge. And then things went in a different direction. But I think the Quin experience led to Alden changing his criteria (he now seems to seek more head coaching experience), which reminds us that coach hiring is like any other type of hiring in the world. You learn as you go.
Hiring is hard, and Alden hasn't been perfect at it. But I trust the qualifications he seeks, and we'll see what he comes up with this time around.
The Trib: Report: Tulsa to announce Haith as new coach on Friday
Post-Dispatch: Tulsa set to hire Mizzou's Haith
KC Star: Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith reportedly will take Tulsa job
The Missourian: Missouri basketball's Frank Haith to take Tulsa job, reports say
KBIA Sports: Missouri Coach Frank Haith To Become Tulsa Coach
2. Recruit reaction
More than anybody else in this process, I feel sorry for Jakeenan Gant right about now. His family just moved to Missouri so they could see him playing for Frank Haith. That's ... yuck. Hopefully he connects with the incoming coach, and hopefully he stays on board. I can't blame him if he goes elsewhere (I can't ever blame a recruit for looking elsewhere when the coach they signed to play for leaves), but this is a really tough situation for him and his family. I can't even imagine what their thinking was around mid-afternoon yesterday.
3. Hot lists? Hot lists!
I do believe I'll be making a hot-list hot list later today. Yes. That sounds delightful.
And ... a fun tidbit from Tuesday...
Are there any other jobs out there that might entice Marshall?
I think Missouri would be a possibility. That’s always been a gold mine, in my opinion. It’s a school with tremendous resources that has never produced to the level of those resources. And it’s a fan base that would embrace Marshall and vice versa.
But Missouri has a coach – at least for now. Frank Haith, though, will be on a definite hot seat next season and if the Tigers don’t win, and win big, he could be in trouble.
That’s one of the few jobs out there I can think of that potentially could interest Marshall, who could be the second coming of Norm Stewart in Columbia. He has that kind of personalty, that kind of charisma.
For now, though, Marshall isn’t going anywhere and the Shockers are set up for another tremendous season in 2014-15.
Overstating it, yes, but ... interesting. One has to figure Alden will at least make a run at Marshall, just like 100 other athletic directors have done in the last couple of years. The old "Make 'em say no" approach.
4. And if you're in need of distraction...
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Falls to No. 8 Texas A&M, 4-0, in SEC Championship
The Trib: MU tennis team falls in second round of SEC tourney
The Missourian: Missouri tennis eliminated from SEC tournament with loss to Texas A&M