Well, that sure came out of left field. On Monday morning, OSU announced that Craig Robinson was relieved of his duties as head coach. It marked a surprising end to 6-year tenure of optimism, hope, excitement, disappointment, and frustration.
Like Peter, I think Craig did everything right, but win. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, that’s what really matters. And while Craig did a lot of great things for the program, it needed a change. Fan apathy was at an all-time low, and the recent exodus of players was troubling.
It’s now up to athletic director Bob DeCarolis to make a hire that will either rejuvenate the program or make it more irrelevant, and ultimately, define his legacy at OSU. Extensions to Jay John, choosing Robinson, and later extending Craig were not popular moves.
Here’s my shortlist of candidates for the job. (Bear in mind, this is pure speculation and for fun. I have no inside sources anymore, and I’ve been known to be a little unorthodox.)
1. Ben Howland: After missing out on the Marquette and Cal openings, would the former UCLA coach be willing to come to OSU? Reports say… Maybe. If so, Howland would be a Dennis Erickson-like hire. A little baggage, but a big name, and most of all, a proven winner. Plus, he kinda is local. My only question is, why hasn’t he been hired already? What don’t we know? But does that even matter? He would make a big splash, and at this point, that’s what OSU needs desperately.
2. Eric Musselman: The current Arizona State assistant is highly-regarded in the pro and college ranks. The son of former NBA coach Bill Musselman, the younger Musselman has coached two NBA squads himself (Warriors, Kings). At ASU, he’s been credited with the development of one-time Beaver commitment Jahii Carson. Interestingly enough, there is some speculation that he was considered for the OSU job in 2008. Maybe second time the charm?
3. Damon Stoudamire: Those who insist on proven winner won’t like Stoudamire; he’s never been a head coach. But the former Arizona and Portland TrailBlazers standout is considered a rising star in the coaching ranks. Sean Miller, UA’s head coach, has said Stoudamire, of all his assistants, is the most ready to be head coach. He’s young and personable, played in the NBA, and has strong ties to the state. He’d probably be great recruiting and schmoozing with boosters. But then again, the last time OSU hired a UA assistant, it didn’t work out so hot.
4. Quin Snyder: The former Missouri coach has bounced around a bit (NBA, Russia) since resigning due to NCAA sanctions. But he’s a Northwest guy, played at Duke, and has a reputation as an excellent recruiter. They say, “Time heals all wounds,” so I think the stink surrounding Snyder’s time at Mizzou has faded. And guess what his strength is: player development. I bet he’d relish a shot to emerge from the shadows and become the face of a program again.
And here’s my darkhorse candidate. Told you I’m a little out there. But hear me out…
5. Rick Adelman: He recently retired from NBA, so he’s available. Coaching the Beavers would enable him to still be close to his ailing wife. Heck, his assistants could do a lot of the nitty gritty work during the offseason. Adelman is so respected in basketball circles. So what parents and athletes wouldn’t at least be interested in playing for him? Most importantly, he knows his Xs and Os. He does have some college coaching experience, even if it was 30 years ago at Chemeketa Community College. He’s a big name that would draw attention and respectability to the program.
What do you think? Who would be on your shortlist to replace Robinson? Share your thoughts in the comments section.