Another day gone by, and OSU still hasn’t hired a basketball coach.
Meanwhile, the clamoring for former OSU standout and current NBA assistant coach Lester Conner is getting louder. Just like it did before Jay John was hired. And just like it did before Craig Robinson was hired.
Why would this time be any different, though? The harsh reality is Conner still doesn’t have his degree.
Sure, he appears to be a strong candidate for the position. He was a great player for the Beavers during the Orange Express era. He enjoyed a long NBA career. He’s been an assistant coach in the NBA for decade. He understands OSU and Corvallis.
And perhaps the most appealing thing about Conner is that defense was his calling card as a player — so he would probably make it a much-needed focal point for the Beavers if he was at the helm.
However, while I’m a firm believer that you don’t need a degree to be successful or make a lot of money, I believe Bob DeCarolis and OSU are right to insist that Connor has a degree to be considered for the position. It feels hypocritical that a head coach of a college team wouldn’t have his/her degree. What kind of message would that send to his/her student athletes?
Or to potential recruits and their parents? What about that college’s professors/instructors? How would they feel about a coach at their school not having his/her degree, when they most likely were required to have a masters or PhD to teach at the college?
That brings me to the biggest issue I have with Connor. If he so badly wants the OSU job and he truly has lost sleep over the job, why hasn’t he taken the time to get his degree?
He apparently is pretty close to having enough credits, so we aren’t looking at something that would take a lot of time. He reportedly has enrolled in online classes at OSU, but it’s probably too late at this point. Besides, he’s known for at least six years, probably more, that if he even wants to be interviewed for the head coaching job at OSU, he needs to have a degree. So what gives?
Also, I wonder about Conner’s coaching ability when he’s been an assistant as long as he has without getting a shot at being a head coach. Maybe NBA teams are holding the fact he doesn’t have degree against him as well.
Some fans have suggested that OSU hire Conner with the stipulation that he has to earn his degree within X amount of time. I’m sorry, but that seems like a copout and isn’t fair to other candidates who have earned their degrees.
Bottom line: If Connor wants to coach at the college level, he needs to have a degree.
Until then, Beaver Nation would be best to move on from the novelty of Conner restoring the glory days, because it’s a moot point. (RW)
What do you think about Connor?