With news from OregonLive that Lionel Hollins and Terry Porter are names coming up for the Oregon State Men’s Basketball coaching position comes two realizations.
1. Should Bob be able to hire Ben Howland, Hollins or Porter we are seeing proof that the program is better off than it was when Robinson got hired.
2. That Bob actually made a very shrewd move in letting Craig go now versus the end of the season.
If David Grace or even a rising star like Damon Staudamire are the coach when the dust settles, then I am less excited about the process because those guys would have probably been available in March. The same cannot be said for some of the other coaches like Howland who would have been looking for other jobs over OSU while there were still higher profile positions available. Porter and Hollins might be up for some of the NBA jobs, but the fact that they are showing interest is a huge step for Oregon State.
Consider these articles from OregonLive.com back in 2008 when Bob was last looking for a coach for the Beavers. Those give you a glimpse back to how hopeless the job search was. While mid-tier coaches, assistant coaches and the hot names at small schools were saying no in droves, Oregon State has changed its position in the world to be a place bigger name coaches might consider.
The similarities between this year and football in 1998 is eerie. Mike Riley didn’t produce a winner, but did enough to not only get an NFL job, but also to make the school desirable to Dennis Erickson. The coaches OSU is wooing now are not without baggage, but they are also proven winners and names that OSU had no chance at six years ago.
So yes, Robinson didn’t get it done on the court to anyone’s satisfaction. Not even his own. But he brought down expenses, improved facilities and made a program that shows profits even with a losing product. And that losing product was not losing to the tune of 0-18 in conference play, but was disappointing in being .500. This is a far better destination than it was in 2008 and the names considering the Beavers are the proof.
As for Bob, the timing of the firing seemed awkward at first, but when you think about who is out there, the coaches that are known winners but have no home for whatever reason, or NBA coaches looking for a gig should one of the three spots currently available are not theirs, you have a much more qualified and desperate pool to work with. Ben Howland will have to sit out a year, and will turn 60 while doing so, if he passes on OSU. Or if OSU passes on him because something better comes along. These options were not available in March when there were many great opportunities for aspiring head coaches and they were not available in 2008 when Bob walked around the final four like a Kirby Man. This could be a happy accident, just like the Erickson hire, but even if it is, the real winners are Beaver Nation, and that is the best part.