Friday, April 28, 2006

Adding Bowls and Other Notes

Four new bowls have been added for 2006-07. On top of that, a team need only have a .500 record to go to a bowl without a waiver. Thus, the 6-6 team is bowl eligible. The prior rule was that the team, without a waiver, needed to be above .500, which meant 6-5 in 11 game seasons and 7-5 in twelve game seasons. In addition to the new BCS bowl, there will be the International Bowl in Toronto, the Birmingham Bowl, and the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque.

That means, assuming the Houston Bowl doesn't fold, there will be 32 bowl games this season. I personally expect that the Houston Bowl will be saved. So that means 64 teams. That means more than half, or 53.8%, of the 119 Division I-A teams will go bowling next year.

This, of course, bodes well for SMU's quest for a bowl game in 2006. More bowls means more opportunities. That is obvious.

Keep in mind, however, that the last time there was a twelve game season was 2002 and 2003. At the time, there were 117 Division I-A teams. In 2002, 70(!) teams that year would have been bowl eligible under the new rules, or just under 60%. In 2003, 69 teams were .500 or better. Yes, in those years, there were a couple of waivers to allow 6-6 teams in bowls, but there were 6-6 teams left out in the cold as well. As an aside, last year, there were 64 teams that were bowl eligible; eight teams did not get bowl invitations.

On the radio today, I heard Rich Phillips say that he thought the NCAA would have to grant some teams waivers in order to fill all 64 spots. I disagree. If 70 teams were .500 or better in 2002, I expect at least that number, and maybe a couple more, to finish 6-6 or better in 2006.

So, yes, adding bowls, no matter what effect it has on the landscape of college football or the tourism of Albuquerque, is good for SMU and any other program that longs to go bowling for the first time in years. But it doesn't mean those teams can coast through the season and still expect to go to Toronto (Toronto? Really?). The teams have to be better; not just their records. In other words, SMU needs to be better than it was last year, not just as good and add a win over I-AA Sam Houston State. That isn't going to get it done.

Rex Walters will replace Doherty at FAU. Well, that means there is an opening on Doherty's staff. Though, of the two assistants at Doherty's press conference, one was the Director of Operations and not an "assistant." I don't know if he is moving up the food chain or what. So there is at least one, and possibly two, openings on Doherty's staff. I expect any openings will be filled quickly.

Orsini's replacement has been hired at UCF. Keith Tribble was chief operating officer of the Orange Bowl Committee for the past 13 years. He was also the senior associate AD at the UNLV. He is also african-american was named one of the "Most Influential Minorities in Sports" by Sports Illustrated.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Doherty Reaction

I took in the press conference yesterday. I stood in the back kept turning around to watch some of the football players’ “voluntary workouts” in Ford Stadium. There was also this girl running up and down the steps …I’m sorry, you were saying?

Oh, the press conference. You forget Matt Doherty was the starting small forward at UNC for four years. He’s a big guy. He towers over everybody (except Bamba Fall). Did we learn anything at the press conference? Not really. However, we got a little insight into the man that so much has been said about. He is a very polished man. He knows what he wants to say and he knows how to say it. He knows how to speak to somebody one on one and he knows how to handle a pres conference. In consecutive moments you can see this warm, jovial person and this very intense, serious coach.

Doherty repeatedly said that the players were going to work. I laughed at that. I remember thinking what an eye-opening experience it must have been for the players at Texas Tech when Bob Knight ran his first practice. Doherty is the coach that made his players at Notre Dame run 304 sprints. The players wore the number 304 on their shoes the entire season like a badge of honor.

Like Matt Doherty says, “…why can't we do special things here? Why can't we be in the top 25? Why can't we be one of the elite programs in the country? I asked the players that: Why not us?"

Anyway, the required reading for the day:

New SMU coach: "I want to build a program"

OK, so the salary is only $400,000 per year, plus incentives. What kind of incentives? Fundraising; attendance; performance. There is a commitment to build a practice facility within three years and penalties for SMU if it doesn’t get it done. I love this, by the way.

Watkins also listed four things to improve SMU basketball: First, improve facilities by adding a practice facility and upgrade Moody Coliseum. Second, have cheerleaders at every game and play more modern music to attract a younger crowd. Third, Doherty needs an assistant coach with Dallas roots to help bridge the gap between the school and the DISD. Fourth, marketing. He is exactly right on all counts.

Doherty faces rift with DISD

Money quote:
DISD assistant athletic director Goree Johnson said, "Tell him good luck. I have nothing personal against him. I have concerns with how SMU is doing business."

"Coaches have called me all morning and said SMU is not welcomed in their gyms," Johnson said.

Goree Johnson is, of course, the former coach of Kimball and now is with the DISD. Who else coached at Kimball? Tubbs? Who did Johnson replace? Tubbs. Before I concede that SMU will never recruit another player within a 100 mile radius of campus, I would like to hear from some of those other coaches.
This is where I come across as mean. Tubbs was just cut a check for $600,000.00. He wasn’t that good a coach and he wasn’t getting it done. I am sorry but I don’t feel too sorry for him. Maybe he can get another job as an assistant or maybe get another HS job. I wish him well. I really do.

After Tubbs was announced as coach, a lot of HS coaches left the press conference wearing SMU hats. After they left, they took them off and never wore them again. I said this when Tubbs was hired. If Tubbs had coached at SMU for ten years and let go, the DISD coaches would still be angry. And, guess what, SMU would still have gotten the same number of blue chip athletes as it got in the last two years-zero.

One more time:
Why can't we do special things here? Why can't we be in the top 25? Why can't we be one of the elite programs in the country? I asked the players that: Why not us?

Monday, April 24, 2006


...was the last time this happened?

Done deal: Doheryt to Coach SMU

Link. BTW, it is the top story on and

I am excited. I am excited for the SMU basketball program. I am excited for the SMU athletic department.

When some people wanted to fire Tubbs for simply not being a good coach, one of the frequent responses was, “Who are you going to get to take this job?” The answer, apparently, is Matt Doherty.

I never was a big fan of Tubbs. I always thought SMU could do better than the second or third assistant at a Big XII school. Tubbs, to be honest, if not for SMU, was never going to get a head coaching offer at any other institution in the country. How was I supposed to get excited?

Doherty, on the other hand, has been mentioned for at least three other coaching jobs this year. Doherty was at a place that really wanted him to stay. FAU really believed that Doherty could have taken them to better places.

Doherty is also a name-well known and recognizable. Yes, we should be concerned that he was run out of town at North Carolina Keep in mind that North Carolina went to the Sweet 16 the year he was let go. His leaving had as much to do with politics and his personality as his record.

Another thing I love about Doherty is his apparent due diligence. He’s talked to people about this job. Yes, he wanted more money. But look at the laundry list of things that he ahs demanded: an increase to the basketball budget; better salaries for assistants; a commitment to facilities. And here is the thing: SMU gave it to him.

I believe SMU is one of the rare schools that can accomplish anything it wants to accomplish. When it wanted to improve its campus, it raised $550,000,000.00 effortlessly. It has been twenty years since SMU committed anything to athletics save a brief commitment to build Ford Stadium. As someone recently mentioned to me, if the law school or business school were run like the athletic department, they would run the deans out of town on a rail. Truer words were never spoken.

Enter Steve “Steve-O” Orsini. The man hasn’t even moved into his office yet and he is already making waves. I like the Doherty hiring. I like that it is different than any other SMU hire in the last twenty years. I like that we are giving Doherty a lot of money. I like that he made demands. I like that SMU gave Doherty what he wants. One gets the sense that maybe, just maybe, SMU has decided that enough is enough. Time will tell. Sure, it is about ten years behind the SMU fans, but better late than never.

What time is tip-off on opening day?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Love me some Palm Beach Post!

The Palm Beach Post has their article on Matt Doherty. As an aside, thank the Lord for the internet, ya know? There is no way you and I could read the Palm Beach Post without it. No way to know what the Florida Atlantic Owls are saying about this. Oh, and no way you could read this; I would just be some crazy guy muttering to myself in a corner (maybe I am anyway, who’s to say?).

“A phone message left on Doherty's cell phone wasn't returned and his administrative assistant at the FAU basketball office said Doherty was out of town.”

Oh, isn’t that awful? I wonder where he is?

Has an offer actually been made? Well, Orsini says, "Things are still open… We haven't offered the job. It all depends on the two parties coming together." FoxSports reports SMU has offered (actually, FoxSports says he has accepted). The FAU Athletic Director says he spoke to Doherty on Friday morning, but was not told of any offer from SMU. Yet the Palm Beach Post says an offer was made.

The answer is likely one of semantics. The committee has not met to discuss Doherty yet. This is a little dance until all the ducks are in a row. Doherty has the job if he wants it. If he doesn’t, then hey! SMU never offered and get to go after Rob Evans.

How much is Doherty going to be paid and is there a chance FAU will try to match?
The salary range for the Mustangs' new coach is listed as "commensurate with experience" on the official job posting on SMU's Web site. However, it's believed SMU is offering Doherty close to three times his $177,000 annual salary at FAU.
"I'm not sure of the numbers they are dealing with, but I also know they are out of our league," Angelos said.

Do the math, three times Doherty’s current salary is over $500,000 per year. Nice work if you can get it. We are the long suffering Mustang fans. Isn’t it nice to hear “they are out of our league?” For once, SMU is throwing its weight around. But it begs the question” $600,000 to buy out Tubbs, $500,000 for at least five years for Doherty, $4,000,000 raised for a $12,000,000 practice facility, who is footing the bill for this?
Doherty, 44, has a $200,000 buyout clause in his contract.

You knew there was one. Is SMU paying that too? Maybe, maybe not.
It's believed Doherty met with Orsini on Monday in Orlando before visiting the SMU campus Wednesday.

If you think Doherty is the right guy, this couldn’t have worked out any better. Fly him up to Orlando and Orsini and Doherty gauge their mutual interest. Then a flight to Dallas on Wednesday to tour the campus. Interesting that the two meetings with Doherty bookend the meeting with Rob Evans on Tuesday.
This season, Doherty signed the Owls' best recruiting class in school history.

For those that question Doherty’s recruiting skills, there you are. Yes, it is easy to recruit to North Carolina (except it wasn’t that easy for the guy that preceded Doherty). It is easy to recruit to Notre Dame. But all recruiting is relative. If you want to know if a guy is a good recruiter, compare who he brought in against his predecessors.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Good read

Good read on Doherty. Written shortly after he was let go by North Carolina.

Doherty Offered

Sources say Doherty Offered SMU Job.

Well, how about that. So, Doherty went back to Florida with an offer in his hand. No doubt he is showing it to FAU officials as we speak to see what he can get from them. Good.

We'll talk about Doherty more later. I want to focus on one thing and one thing only for a moment. It is what I think is the most important thing to take away from this hire (assuming it happens). This is not a typical SMU hire. This is bold. This is flashy. This is going to ruffle feathers. There is an element of risk involved. This is exactly what SMU should be doing.

I could list a dozen assistants that might work out. I can list a dozen lower conference coaches that might succeed. I can list a half-dozen retread coaches that had inauspicious careers that might succeed. The fact is you never know. They might work out; they might fail miserably. And we don't know with Doherty either. But I can't wait to find out with Doherty.

This ain't no Copeland hire; this ain't no Turner hire; this for darn sure ain't no Ken Pye hire. This is what an Orsini hire looks like.

And that folks, is a GREAT thing.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Search to Stretch Into Next Week

According to the DMN, the search to replace Jimmy Tubbs will stretch into next week.

Again, playing smart PR guy, there is a Stars playoff game Saturday; Mavericks playoff game Sunday; Stars playoff game Monday; Mavericks and Stars playoff games Wednesday; Stars playoff game Friday; Mavericks playoff game Saturday. Given NHL ratings of late, you could do something Monday or Tuesday. I would avoid Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday are the best bets.

There have been 50 division I openings this year. There are nine openings left, of which SMU is one. UNC-Wilmington, Virginia Commonwealth were filled today. Of the nine left, I would rank the jobs (1) NC State; (2) Manhattan; (3) SMU; (4) Penn; (5) everybody else. You could make an argument that SMU is equal to Manhattan given the salaries paid to their former coaches but Manhattan has been to the NCAA tournament twice in three years so I give them the edge. Fortunately for SMU, there isn’t a lot of overlap among candidates. The exception is there is some rumbling that Matt Doherty is a candidate for both Manhattan and NC State.

I think there is an unknown candidate. I just can’t figure out who it is.

Edit: Something I just realized. Notice nobody has taken their name out of the running yet?

Steve McClain

Is Wyoming's Steve McClain a candidate?

He is a former Billy Tubbs assistant at TCU. Former Junior College Coach of the year. Former MWC Coach of the year. NIT Bids in 1999, 2001 and 2003. NCAA bid in 2002.

On the flip side, there was a rumor he was going to be let go at the end of this year by Wyoming.

My Wednesday

Here was my day yesterday:

Free Mavericks tickets.

I got four free tickets to a Frisco Roughriders game.

Before the Mavs game, meet at a bar to consolidate cars. Free beer.

Free dinner

Get to the game and get a free hat from

Free food and drinks at game

End of first quarter, get a free American Airlines ticket, which I will gladly sell to you btw. You have to go to San Antonio, Austin, Kansas City or St. Louis.

Sat through the whole game. It was the worst professional basketball game I have ever attended. As an aside, Pavel Podkolzine Puts the “P” in Project. Q Ross only played in the second quarter. What is up with that?

Walking out, went through one of the bars at the AAC. Saw two good looking chicks making out.

Free taco from Taco Bueno.

Good times.

Oh, you came here to read about SMU? SMU interviewed (finally) Rob Evans on Tuesday. I find it odd that the news came out Wednesday afternoon but no matter. We always knew that Evans was a candidate. It is also reported that Perry Clark was contacted. Clark was the head coach at Tulane and then Miami, before being let go in favor of Frank Haith.

We should also consider the possibility that there is an unknown candidate out there. Who that would be is a very good question.

I did hear from some people that the news may come down today. The committee, like with the Orsini hire, has not met and has not interviewed anybody. Two years ago, the committee met with two candidates. I don’t expect that to be the case here. Turner, Orsini and Copeland will pick a guy and present him to the committee. Committee talks with the guy for an hour and votes to approve.

I hope the decision is made today. I don’t suggest that SMU should rush a decisions based solely on public relations, but if there is no announcement today, the announcement will get drowned out by other sports happenings. Starting Saturday, there is potentially a Stars or Mavericks playoff game every day for the next two months. Next week is the NFL draft. Where do you think the SMU coaching hire ranks as a local sports story among Mavs playoff games, Stars playoff games, Rangers games and Cowboys draft news?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Quentin Ross and Stuff

Hey, Q. The guy shouting at Dunleavy to put you in will be me. Just like the last game at the AAC.

For whatever reason, I keep getting tickets to Clippers games. Maybe because they historically stink. As a longtime Mavs fan, I never turn down tickets. Correction: I never turn down good tickets. Therefore, I have seen every single game in Dallas of SMU alum Quentin Ross's pro career. In fact, this is my third Clippers game of the season thanks to a business trip to LA. I lived in Houston or had a 2200 annual billing requirement for my lawyer job much of Ross's SMU days, so this game just might mean I have seen more of Ross's games as a Clipper than as a Mustang.

Anyway, if SMU got a basketball coach today, I would not be shocked; decision today, press tomorrow. Last time I got into predicting the "when" of an SMU decision, I failed miserably, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I mistakenly made the mistake of assuming that SMU would take the news cycle into account and not make an announcement on a Friday.

With the AD hire, right before the Orsini announcement, I got a lot of hits from Orlando, Florida, including the UCF domain name. For what it is worth, I got a few more from southern Florida today. But that may stem from the Doherty interview finally making the paper down there today.

Bob Sturm mentioned this blog on his blog (link on the sidebar, btw). Thanks, Bob. Check's in the mail.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Calvin Watkins goes off the Deep End

Watkins chimed in on SportSay and revealed that at some point while covering boxing, he took a blow to the head.

I also enjoyed seeing The Bus today. Bettis was funny and insightful during the SMU Athletic Forum luncheon.

Good to see some of my SMU people smiling. During the luncheon, some people were asking me who SMU should hire as the new men’s basketball coach.

There are many candidates to choose from. One interesting name is Robert Hughes, the retired Fort Worth Dunbar coach. Hughes would get Moody Coliseum rockin' with his pressure defense and structured offense.

But seriously, I think SMU is looking at several recognizable coaches. Getting a head coach with a "name" seems to be the path president Gerald Turner is headed.

Robert Hughes? The guy is seventy-seven years old! I mean, sure, he is a legend in the game, but he is seventy-seven! Put aside that he has never coached in college. He is seventy-seven! And retired.

If you ask me, Watkins was giving an opinion that was the equivalent of not giving an opinion. Watkins could have just as easily said Phil Jackson, but the SMU'ers would have known who that was, known he wasn't serious and made him say another name. Mention Robert Hughes and the SMU crowd just stares at you in silence.

Anthony Grant

When Tubbs was fired, I threw out Anthony Grant as a name that SMU should consider. Grant is the assistant head coach at Florida, the national champs. He has been consistently labeled one of the best assistants in college basketball anda future head coach. Apparently, Virginia Commonwealth agreed.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Orsini meets with Matt Doherty

Well, well. SMU met with Matt Doherty.

If you are choosing between guys that screwed up in the past, you can do no better than Doherty. Doherty went from highly regarded Kansas assistant to wonderkid head coach at Notre Dame to Head Coach of North Carolina in the blink of an eye. He spent three years at North Carolina and was run out of town. Why was he run out of Chapel Hill? Basically because he was a jerk, from what I recall. There was much brew-ha-ha over firing a secretary in the basketball office that everybody loved. There were tirades. There were player revolts. There were anger management classes.

Has he changed? Who knows. Doherty publicly stated that he was "embarrassed" and "humiliated" by the manner in which his dream job had ended. Doherty chalked it up to pressure. After North Carolina, he worked for ESPN for two years before getting back into coaching at Florida Atlantic, in the Atlantic Sun Conference, arguably the worst basketball conference in the league.

Florida Atlantic was picked to finish 8th in the Atlantic Sun; they finished third. By some reports, basketball attendance doubled, others, tripled. Florida Atlantic was upset in the opening round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament.

I've read about 10 articles on the post-UNC Doherty and am now braindead. Rather than summarize, here are a few links:

From Tobacco Road to Boca; Matt Doherty has made most of second chance at FAU

Ed Batista: Matt Doherty: Live and Learn?

Doherty having fun coaching

Dick Vitale

First Impressions: Matt Doherty

Ex-UNC coach no longer feeling blue

Five years ago, Doherty wasn't "a name," he was "THE NAME." Doherty knows his x's and o's; he knows how to recruit. The only question is whether you think he has learned from his past mistakes as he says he has. If you think he has, you probably won't find a better candidate. If you don't, then you should avoid him like the plague. Of course, only Doherty actually knows. Of course, the only person whose opinion actually matters is Orsini.

A name to watch

Lehigh coach Billy Taylor.

Wow. That was a short post.

Scheduling Article

some CNNSI article called "The Bonus". helps make a couple of points that I have been arguing for a long time.

First, does this sound familiar?

Like records, nonconference football contracts were made to be broken. In the 1990s, Nevada and Oregon entered into an agreement to play three games. The Wolf Pack would visit Eugene in 2000 and '03. The Ducks would play in Reno in '04. Nevada honored both visits to Autzen Stadium, losing both times.

Recall, SMU and A&M have an agreement to play three games. The Mustangs visit College Station in 2005 and 2011. The Aggies will play at SMU Reno in 2012.

Then, in the spring of '04, Wolf Pack associate assistant athletic director Rory Hickok received a disturbing phone call. "It was Oregon," Hickok recalls. "They told us that they had an opportunity to play a home-and-home with Oklahoma but that they could only do it on our date [Sept. 18, 2004]. They asked not to cancel the game, but to postpone it."

As one Oregon athletic official says now, "I suspect Nevada wasn't overly thrilled."

I am telling you, it will be a cold day in Hell before A&M sets foot on the Field Turf of Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Second, I know some people don't care for the idea of scheduling down and object to playing Sam Houston State and Arkansas State. Though, I find it odd people don't mind playing UNT this year when Arkansas State beat UNT and won that conference. Strange.

In December 2004, McKinley Boston was named the new athletic director at New Mexico State. Almost immediately he hired Hal Mumme as his football coach. In 2005 the Aggies, playing a nonconference schedule that included bowl teams UTEP, Cal and Colorado, finished 0-12. After the Aggies' final game, a 24-21 loss to Utah State, Boston made the decision to drop Arizona State from the 2006 schedule.

"I told our [board of] regents and our president that we have to take a hard look at our schedule," says Boston. "Do we want to continue to take part in body-bag games, to lower our program's morale, to risk losing three or four key players to injury just for a big payday? Or do we want to turn this program around? So we made the decision to go in another direction, to soften the schedule."

Later in the article:

Indiana replaced Oregon with I-AA Nicholls State and issued a brief release. The pertinent sentence read: "Our decision to add Nicholls State in Oregon's place was to acquire a game that would ideally assist our new coaching staff in their transition to IU."

In other words, first-year Hoosiers coach Terry Hoeppner wanted no part of a preseason Top 25 foe in his home debut. As it happened, Indiana squeaked past Nicholls State 35-31.

I am not saying you have to agree with SMU's decision to soften the schedule. The fact is, lots of schools do it and there is sound logic behind it. People tend to ignore that logic in favor of the usual assumption that SMU always has it wrong. In this case, it is the right thing to do and there is more precedent for building a program this way than with a number of "body-bag games."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Texoma Herald Democrat-Your Hometown Newspaper!

The Texoma Herald Democrat has a surprisingly lengthy article on Jim Copeland today. It is worth reading for a fluff piece.

Since Basketball is the focus of the day, basketball information is what I drew out of the article the most. What about those violations?

Now, as he prepares to retire May 31, it almost seems appropriate that another bit of uncertainty at SMU has popped up. Men's basketball head coach Jimmy Tubbs was fired April 6 amid reports of NCAA violations. The Dallas Morning News reported the alleged violations included the purchase of hamburgers for players, providing small amounts of laundry detergent, and excessive practice time. SMU responded that Tubbs would not have been fired for those reasons and that more serious violations have been uncovered.

What were those more serious violations? And why won't the school report them now?

In a recent interview, Copeland did not disclose the additional violations, but did offer some explanation as to why SMU would not make them public at this time.

"One of the things we don't want to do is pre-empt the NCAA," he said. "As they do their deliberations, there's a process there that takes a long time."

"We don't want to speak out and pre-empt that process with too much detail," Copeland said. "We can't do that. It would be unwise for us, as a school, to do that.

"We were very thorough with the investigation. Because we were comprehensive and because we were thorough, we ran across some things that we know; and there's no doubt about there being violations.

"Having the NCAA sit there, even though their report hasn't come out, we had a sense how they were responding to those things, as well."

Anyway, read the whole thing.

The Dallas Morning News has nothing new. Frustratingly, they update online articles continuously during the day. The article I link to may be very different from what you read online or what you read in the paper. This drives the researcher in me nuts.

The Austin American-Statesman announces that Rodney Terry has pulled out of the UNC-Wilmington job. You can read this several ways. Terry hasn't pulled out of any other jobs and the UNC-Wilmington job is very much still open. That is probably good for Terry and probably good for SMU if it wants him. Rodney Terry also is supposedly being considered for the Virginia Commonwealth job, but that job will not be filled any time soon as Virginia Commonwealth doesn't even have an athletic director at this time.

On a related note, the DMN Sports Letters to the Editor are not available online for some reason. Several were on the basketball "situation." My personal favorite was something to the effect that "Jim Copeland has shown that he is just as inept at firing coaches as he is at hiring them." Greatness.

Finally, Orsini also spoke to Fran Frascilla. I am not that excited about Frascilla because (a) I think he is kind of nuts; and (b) he throws his name out there for just about every job there is. Some people think he would be an inspired choice. Here is a bit from one e-mail I received:
+ Wife is an SMU alum and grew up in HP
+ Not a basketball-only guy (won't make excuses about football getting resources, but will support football and use it as a recruiting tool). Already attends most home football games as a season-ticker holder and knows Phil Bennett well. His sons have even been SMU ballboys in basketball.
+ Extensive NBA and international basketball contacts: Donnie Nelson on down and has scouted part-time for several NBA teams. Dallas recruiting ties are overrated; he has national and international ties.
+ A name. Coming from ESPN, he brings some star power.
+ Great overall record and NCAA tournament experience (Evans is Dement, a career .500 coach, Terry has never been a head coach).
+ Will get a local radio show on KTCK or KRLD. Long-standing and strong friendship with Chuck Cooperstein. Great relationship with national media, ESPN, Andy Katz, Vitale, Digger on down. Built in national pub, esp. if he gets it going. Already be mentioned once in NY papers.
+ Already serves on the SMU Athletic Forum board, so he already knows the top boosters, sponsors.
+ Baggage -- and he does have some -- is distant and followed Dave Bliss' first nuclear meltdown at New Mexico. And, the year after he left St. John's they made the Elite 8 and have not been close since.
+ Total basketball junkie. Overgrown, undersized gym rat. Eats and sleeps the game. Read some of his columns on He LOVES hoops and has a TON of energy. We need energy not excuses like Schumate, Dement and Tubbs kept making. You make your own breaks!
+ He won't take the job unless he gets a financial commitment from Turner and Orsini to update facilities and schedule

See, I get e-mail. See, I post e-mail I receive. But not all e-mail. The mail order Viagra e-mail are staying in the junk mail folder.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

SMU Football Blog: Supergenius

Oh, yeah baby!

Nobody mentions Texas assistant Rodney Terry. Not in the paper. Not on the web. Who mentions him? Who mentions him? That's right. Yours truly.

And who is it revealed in today's Dallas Morning News that SMU contacted?

That's right. Texas assistant Rodney Terry. Rob Evans has also been contacted. And there are others.

Ow. I sprained my shoulder patting myself on the back.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Texas assistant Rodney Terry

Just so I am out front on something that won't happen, Texas assistant Rodney Terry is the apparent frontrunner for the UNC-Wilmington job. UNC-W for some reason is dragging its feet. If I were SMU, I would seriously consider flying him to Dallas and refuse to let him leave without signing a contract.

SMU names basketball coaching search committee


Disappointing. I was hoping to avoid this charade. Just hire somebody.

One name gone

Billy Kennedy, an assistant at Miami and former head coach, had been mentioned. He actually had a resume that was intriguing. Regardless, he took the job at Murray State.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that, a pay site, lists Rob Evans as having already accepted the SMU head coaching job. It may be true, but I am skeptical.

Coaching Carousel

There are fifteen coaching vacancies:

1. Furman
2. Hartford
3. Manhattan
4. Morgan State
5. North Carolina State
6. UNC Wilmington
7. Northern Colorado
8. Pennsylvania
9. Pepperdine
10. St. Peter's
11. Southeast Missouri State
12. SMU
13. Texas-Arlington
14. Texas-San Antonio
15. VCU

Also, Fox Sports has a small update:
Former Arizona State coach Rob Evans, Fraschilla (who lives in Dallas) and Miami assistant Billy Kennedy are names to watch.

Billy Kennedy is a new name.

Hats off to OU

OU hired its coach yesterday. I am not sure how to say this, but I respect schools when they "think outside the box" or make the nontraditional coaching hire. And OU did just that. Capel is the third youngest coach in Division I.

"I know that this announcement, probably in the college basketball world, is shocking," said Capel, who signed a five-year deal worth $650,000 annually. He can make $200,000 more in incentives, but Capel is still one of the lowest-paid coaches in the league.

And again, no committee was hired. The athletic director sat down, decided what was important to him and the University, and identified who he thought was the best candidate. It is easy to look around and hire a coach from a "lesser university" and hire him under the pretence that if he can do it there, then he can do it here. How hard is it really for NC State to identify a Rick Barnes or a John Calipari? It is something altogether different when you hire a thirty year old coach. The decision rests on the head of AD. It does anyway.

Likewise it is something different entirely, when you are a mid-major school, when you don't have the money or tradition to hire whoever you want. You need to focus on identifying (a) what success is for SMU; and (b) what it will take to achieve that success; and finally, (c) identifying the coach that has the appropriate skill set.

So, the first test for Orsini's is figuring out what are the short term and long term goals for SMU basketball. Fortunately or unfortunately, at the top of the list for the short term is stability-stabilizing the program. Stabilizing the program probably means experience is required. Recruiting is a must. Integrity is also important. Of course, a knowledge of x's and o's is necessary.

Long term, it makes sense to identify a young candidate. However, I am not sure a young candidate, or someone with their first head job can be a stabilizing force. Though, perhaps I am overrating the stability concern. A quality coach that has success will stabilize the program in a second. Maybe the hot assistant at Blank University can come in here and turn things around immediately.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

SMU begins search

SMU begins search for basketball coach

UNIVERSITY PARK – SMU officials announced that incoming athletic director Steve Orsini will take vacation time from his current post at Central Florida to help hire the Mustangs' new men's basketball coach.

Orsini will work with retiring SMU AD Jim Copeland and president Gerald Turner to find the replacement for Jimmy Tubbs, who was fired Thursday.

The Plano-based search firm of Eastman & Beaudine Inc. will serve as consultants.

Turner said Copeland will provide "the necessary on-site logistical support." Copeland was not expected to be involved in the search.

Copeland has fired two men's basketball coaches, Mike Dement and Tubbs, both of whom he hired.

Sure, it would be nice to hear the search was already done. It is frustrating that a consulting firm has been hired. If you recall, Eastman & Beaudine was hired to assist in the AD search that yielded Orsini. A quick search found that Eastman & Beaudine has recently been retained to assist multiple schools in their searches for men's basketball searches, including Baylor, Cincinnati, Fresno State and Missouri.

As expected, Orsini has a hand in the search process and Turner is apparently personally involved in this. As expected Copeland doesn't have a hand in this. It is amusing that Watkins refers to Copeland as firing two basketball coaches that he hired as opposed to hiring two basketball coaches. That choice of words was intentional.

I had to read the article three times to make sure. There is no mention of a committee. This is a good thing. SMU doesn't need one. SMU needs to streamline the process and move forward as quickly as possible.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Some more names

From Calvin Watkins in Sports Say:

Rob Evans, Pete Gillen, Fran Fraschilla, Buzz Peterson and Matt Dohery are some of the names out there.

Evans is obvious because of his ties to Turner.

Pete Gillen is the former HC of Virginia, if you didn't know. Four trips to the NIT and one trip to the NCAA's.

Matt Doherty. That is an interesting name. Let go after three years after replacing a legend. He's currently at Florida Atlantic, where he went 15-13.

Fran Fraschilla's name comes up all the time. It came up two years ago. When was the last time he actually coached?

Buzz Peterson is a former HC of Appalachian State and Tulsa and is now an assistant at Tennessee. Edit: Buzz Peterson is now the HC of Coastal Carolina. My bad.

One more time, calm down!

Rumors that Jimmy Tubbs was the second coming of Dean Smith are grossly exaggerated. You can like Jimmy Tubbs or you can hate him, but he accomplished little in his (albeit) brief tenure of SMU. The one positive thing I can say about Jimmy Tubbs is at least he beat TCU. Recruiting was not improved. You can argue that SMU is worse off today than it was when Tubbs came (the RPI supports that). Yet you can also argue that his firing hurt the program even more. In fact, you can argue both and still be right.

Quit freaking out over why he was fired! NCAA violations had something to do with it. OK? Performance on the court had something to do with it. OK? Is something else going to come out? Yes. OK? Is the next revelation going to pacify those opposed to this decision? I doubt it. OK? At the end of the day, Jimmy Tubbs is gone. He must be replaced. That is all that matters.

Quit freaking out over who made the decision! For one, it doesn’t really matter. First, the suggestion that outgoing athletic director Copeland wanted to “do something big before he left” is idiotic. The decision to terminate Tubbs’ contract will cost an athletic department that already runs a large deficit $600,000.00. Only the crazy and the dumb can suggest that an athletic director that is retiring in two months and has already sold his house can make a decision that will increase the athletic department deficit by 20% without going through President Turner.

Second, only a moron would suggest Turner didn’t at least run this by Orsini ahead of time. Undoubtedly, based on what Orsini knew, he agreed with the decision. Orsini is not on the job, but the future performance of his job at SMU is tied to that aforementioned athletic deficit, among other things. You are out of your mind if you don’t think Orsini had something to say on the subject.

Third, of all the wacky rumors out there, the only one that makes any sense to me is that Orsini insisted that Tubbs get the ax and didn’t want to be the one to do it. The other day, I alluded to the Parcells-Emmitt Smith situation as an example. However, I don’t buy this rumor. Why? That $600,000.00 buyout figure mentioned above. Orsini, when he takes this job, will need flexibility to hire and fire anybody. Frankly, I would suggest that if Bennett isn’t at least 7-5 next year, I will have seen enough. And the flexibility to buy out Bennett is now gone because Tubbs has been bought out. This bothers me very little because I believe Bennett will do better than 7-5 in 2006. Still, the flexibility is important. And that is why I don’t think Orsini insisted Tubbs be let go. And another thing, if that were true, wouldn’t Orsini be here now running the show on the new hire? BTW, …

Quit freaking out over who is going to make the decision on the next coach! It won’t be Copeland. OK? Again, athletic directors with one foot out the door don’t get to make million dollar decisions unilaterally. Quit thinking that they do. Even if Copeland is involved in the process, the new coach will be rubberstamped by both Turner and Orsini. The one problem I have is that Orsini is not in Dallas today. I have mentioned this before, but I think the best process is to give Orsini a checkbook and give him free reign on this decision, meaning no search committees. Go hire a coach ASAP.

Speaking of hiring a coach ASAP, quit freaking out over the timing of the decision! First, the spring signing day for basketball is overrated. The only SMU targets are borderline prospects. Second, there are still multiple openings (here’s the list). But of those openings, SMU is superior to many of them. The best two jobs open are OU and NC State, and depending on what you read, you can cross out NC State and replace it with Memphis. After that, you’ve got Temple and a host of others. SMU, can and will be competitive with any school on that list save OU and NC State/Memphis. Third, Turner has said that the SMU policy of leaving jobs open thirty days can be waived in some cases; I suspect this is such a case.

Calm down. It is time to focus on who SMU is going to get. I will be focusing on that from here on out.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Things I learned this weekend

1. Just because Cameron Crowe directed and wrote "Elizabethtown" doesn't mean you are not taking one for the team. It is a chick flick. From watching "Elizabethtown," I learned:
(a) No matter how cute Kirsten Dunst gets, the memory of her playing an eight year old vampire still creeps me out;
(b) I want Cameron Crowe to program my ipod;
(c) apparently old women from southern Georgia sound just like old women from rural north Kentucky.

2. Kite flying is easier when you have wind. And explaining that to a three year old is hard.

3. April is not too early to get a sunburn;

4. Vinick should have beaten Santos.

5. An SMU football Spring game is not the place to learn creative playcalling.

6. No one wears blue to the SMU Spring game.

7. Even at a Spring game, the refs don't think I am funny.

I went to the Spring game hoping, above all else, that one quarterback would emerge the better of the three. And low and behold, one did. Justin Willis is the starter. Do you hear me Bennett? Justin Willis is the starter. Repeat: Justin Willis is the starter. Justin was on target. When his passes were incomplete, they were drops. He has a little speed. And boy, he is short; there is no way he is 6'.

As for the other quarterbacks, niether were impressive in the first half. Both Slater and Johnson were better in the second half. Chalk that up to either playing with the first team or playing against second and third teamers, depending on your perspective.

The other highlight was Johnny Fitzgerald and James Mapps at RB. Probably good that Martin was out at tailback, because they got a lot of reps and both look good and as good as any running back has in a Spring game in a long time. Speaking of Martin, he looked impressive on the sideline; there is definitely some increased strength there.

Thirteen different players caught passes. Zack Sledge stood out to me. That and Bobby Chase's DROP. That is Chase's allotted ONE for the calendar year. You hear me, Bobby?

This was an offensive show more or less. Maybe one hit stood out, and that was Damon Hurst's.

But let's be honest for a moment. For better or for worse, all Spring games are the same. Playcalling on both sides of the ball were very vanilla and that is good and bad. There is rarely motion; there is rarely a blitz. Personally, if it were up to me, I would have blitzed Willis once. Tell him it is coming and just to see what happens. It is easy to make the third read when nobody can touch you.

Couple O' Links:
SMU Release.

DMN Recap.

I tried to get some basketball info, but ended up with nothing new. But let me end with this: Imagine a police drama. The detective is investigating a petty theft, minor deal really. He brings in the suspect's known accomplice/acquaintance that, unknown to the detective, doesn't like the suspect much. The detective asks a couple of questions, takes a couple of notes, really no big deal and nothing earth shattering. As the detective is closing his notebook, he nonchalantly asks the known acquaintance, "Is there anything else?" The detective starts to get up, expecting no answer, when the known acquaintance says, "Hey, you aren't going to ask about that armed robbery?" Turns out the detective has a few new questions he wants to ask.

That would be a pretty interesting scene in Law & Order, wouldn't it?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Possible names

Per espn:

Evans a possible SMU solution
posted: Friday, April 7, 2006 | Feedback

SMU has plenty of choices but probably should make only one to replace Jimmy Tubbs: Rob Evans.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the black community in Dallas is not pleased with Tubbs' abrupt firing Thursday after the school uncovered NCAA violations that include buying hamburgers and laundry detergent and practicing more than 20 hours a week. There could be more to come, but either way, after just two seasons on the job, Tubbs, a former Dallas high school head coach, is out.

Morning News columnist Kevin Blackistone wrote a direct and comprehensive column Friday laying out how this will affect SMU's place in the Dallas community. Tubbs was extremely popular in the area. If these allegations are true (and are the only ones), they could be considered secondary, not major violations. Blackistone also points out that Tubbs was turned in by SMU booster Max Williams, who was around during the Mustang scandal years in the 1980s. His grandson, Matt, was on Tubbs' team. Yet, Williams, according to the DMN, gave Tubbs money for player meals.

All of this is a violation under NCAA rules, but coaches have survived for worse offenses. And, if SMU is smart, they will bring the one person who can fix this mess: Evans.

Evans was a college classmate of SMU president Gerald Turner when they were at Lubbock Christian College in the mid-1960s. They are good friends. Turner hired Evans at Ole Miss. Evans, who was just fired at Arizona State, is as clean as they come. He resurrected Ole Miss and took the Rebels to the NCAA Tournament in 1997 and '98. He led the Sun Devils to the NCAAs in 2003. He didn't win enough at ASU to keep his job, but he was not fired for anything but wins and losses.

Evans is a class man and would help bridge the newly created gap between SMU and Dallas' black community. Evans is well connected within the state. Ole Miss' top player under Evans was Ansu Sesay, who was from Houston, and the Sun Devils' top player, Ike Diogu, was from Dallas.

There are other candidates interested in SMU, like Coastal Carolina's Buzz Peterson, and no one would be shocked if outgoing AD Jim Copeland or incoming AD Steve Orsini of Central Florida called up ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, who lives down the street from the school.

Some assistant names I'll throw out:
Tennessee assistant Scott Edgar, LSU assistant John Treloar, Florida assistant Anthony Grant, BC assistant Bill Coen.

Message Board Down! Conspiracy?

How convenient. Lots of rumor and inuendo. And then the message board goes down. How convenient, indeed.

Makes you go hmmmm....

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Well, I have to say something.

Greetings from seminar land!!!

Anything happening while I am away?

Tubbs' status at SMU in jeopardy.

Tubbs fired after two seasons.
Statement from SMU

DISD Coaches upset.


Let me restate the official SMU Football Blog positions on sports other than football and on Tubbs. First, I chose SMU Football Blog as a title because I never wanted to respond to anyone to say, "Why did you not say anything about the Women's Crew Team beating Old Dominion?" I like other SMU sports just fine, I just like football more. I talk about all other sports how and when I want.

As for Tubbs, I didn' like his hiring. I thought SMU could do better than Tubbs, who I remind you was the no. 2 or 3 assistant for Oklahoma. I didn't think Tubbs could deliver what we were told he would deliver: a pipeline to DISD talent. And make no mistake, that is what was implied. To suggest that Tubbs was "supposed to just get SMU's foot in the door" is crap; he was expected to deliver.

Apparently, SMU at the time had its own reservations by only giving Tubbs a four-year deal instead of the standard five. My opinion is that if you weren't willing to give the guy five, should not have given him four (or three or two or one for that matter). In the end, the four-year deal would end causing about as much trouble as it was worth.

But hey, Tubbs was hired, he's here, he's the coach. Support him.

So Tubbs comes here and barely cracks .500 his first year. Below .500 the second year. Really lights no fires in the recruiting. His most significant recruit being a project center from Africa via Virginia prep school. Never recruits a single kid from DISD. Only one area kid at all the traditional way. Midway through his second year, he starts wanting an extension and gets some help from his buddy at the Dallas Morning News.

Let's look at this honestly. Did Tubbs merit an extension? No. SMU's RPI has gone down every year. Dement's last year it was 137. Tubb's first season, it was 144. At the end of this season it was 234. SMU was 0-1 versus the top 25, 0-5 versus the top 50, 0-7 versus the top 100, and 1-10 versus the top 200.

Yeah, well, Bennett got an extension! After three years, he did. Went 3-8 after going 3-8 and 0-11 before that. Yup. And then he got another one last year after going 5-6. There isn't a numerical formula at work here. For the most part the extensions of Bennett were not rewards so much as an attempt to show confidence in Bennett's ability and project stability. Based on that standard didn't Tubbs deserve an extension?

Personally, I take it as fact that you don't let a coach go into the season on the last year of a deal. I don't think the stability thing was an issue as much as it was with Bennett at the time of the first extension(obviously, it is now). Tubbs didn't really need one till the end of next season. The problem with next season is that the the odds that the Tubbs 2006-07 campaign was going to be better than 2006-'06 were about nil in my book. Hopkins, the team leader in minutes, points and assists is leaving and there really isn't anyone to fill those shoes. I am not sure you are going to learn anything more about Tubbs next year that you don't already know.

Tubbs probably didn't deserve an extension. Still, I was content with SMU giving him one. If you are going to give a coach four years, you better give that coach four years as soon as possible. Chalk it up to making the right decision for the athletic department and be done with it. It is a judgment call that I wouldn't quibble with.

Well, that didn't happen. There was an investigation into some NCAA violations. Burgers? Detergent? What has been described in the paper, as far as I know, are not actual NCAA violations. There is more to it, right? There has to be and that is what SMU is saying. What do I know? Nothing.

SMU says there is more to it. I tend to take anything from the SMU athletic department with a grain of salt. Could SMU be making it up? Maybe. But any implication of Tubbs is an implication against SMU. SMU saying that Tubbs did anything wrong is saying SMU did something wrong. DonÂ’t forget that. I tend to believe statements against interest. It is one thing to shoot yourself in the foot, something else to aim a howitzer at your gut.

I will say that violations as a pretext for firing a coach is BS, especially minor ones. If the decision were made that Tubbs canÂ’t coach, then fire him for that reason at the end of the season. DonÂ’t wait a month and dig stuff up. Be a man and do it right away.

"Sources say..." Isn't it interesting that the sources all come from the same mindset? I find it very interesting that just days ago, Tubbs was about to land SOC's Ronnie Morgan and another junior college player. Many moons ago, I watched a high profile civil matter play out in bankruptcy court between a bunch of banks and bankrupt company. I was mostly an observer because my client was ancillaryary to the whole deal. Every day there was a hearing, it would be on the news that night. I sat right behind a local TV reporter covering the story. The local reporter got the story 100% wrong every night. Why? Because the banks wouldn't talk to the press and the debtor was more than willing to. And what the debtor was telling the reporter was far removed from reality. How did it end up? Very bad for the debtor. The point is, when one side is talking and the other isn't, you aren't getting the whole story.

Again, call me skeptical. I have thought all along that the “source” was Tubbs himself. I still think that is true.

Anyway, Tubbs is gone. Getting paid in full. It played out very weBut. but it is done.

Is this the biggest mess in the history of coaching changes? Not by a long shot. There are many that are much worse. Some in Texas. Calm down and think about it. The difference is SMU has baggage and as SMU fans, we carry that baggage around to every press conference. I am going to talk about this in the coming days. We really need to stop that.

Well, the Dallas coaches are pissed. Tubbs was “their guy.” And now he’s gone in quick, summary fashion. The Dallas coaches think Tubbs didn't get a fair shake. If Tubbs coached at SMU two years or five years, the Dallas coaches would still think Tubbs didn't get a fair shake. Period. I think I said as much on the SMU board two years ago. SMU hires the right candidate and this works itself out. DISD coaches will come around.

SMU athletics PR is terrible. Just terrible. Terrible in how it relates to the press. Terrible in how it relates to the community. Terrible in how it relates to the fans. The fans is why I am here.

Was this just an Orsini power play? This is the weirdest theory and I don't buy it. I can envision a scenario where the discussions were that SMU would have to fire Tubbs and Orsini agreed, but Orsini refused to have that be his first act. In a way that was the Bill Parcells making Jerry Jones cut Emmitt Smith scenario. Yeah, I can envision something like that, but it is doubtful. It just doesn't sound plausible to me.

What now and who will take this job? I will answer that with a question of my own: Who would take the AD job? The answer was somebody with a resume better than any of us expected. Is it possible the same can be said for the basketball coach? Possibly. We go over this every time, but I go back to the point that there are not that many jobs like this available. And really, you would be surprised to find out how well SMU pays.

If SMU is smart, it flies Orsini in here tomorrow and lets him just hire a guy. No committee. No debate. Let Orsini identify a candidate and get to work.

Again, everybody needs to calm the [BLANK] down.

Anyway, back to seminar fun.

Edit: toned the language down.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

100 Greatest Finishes

SMU has two entries in's 100 Greatest Finishes, no. 3 and no. 28. No. 28 is Bobby Leach's game winning kickoff return in the Texas Tech-SMU game in 1982. No. 3 is the 1982 Holiday Bowl loss to BYU.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Transfer Issue Resolved? Or "Little Orphan Animal Husbandry"

I could go on and on about academic "restrictions" and about what they actually are and what that impact actually is on athletics and the university. But I have done that before and chances are that if you are reading this, you already know. But the fact is that SMU football and basketball get precious few transfers in comparison to its "natural and traditional rivals" (whoever you think that may be).

It was rare that any I-A or JuCo athlete could transfer to SMU and be eligible for a scholarship to SMU. We have heard the stories of the Northwestern University transfer that wanted to come to SMU; the Navy student; the Juco quarterbacks.

Junior college transfers are needed to fill immediate needs and add depth. Likewise, I-A transfers, despite the fact that they must sit out a year, are another avenue from which to recruit those players that qualified academically but chose another institution that they desire to leave for one reason or another, be it lack of playing time, coaching change, homesickness, you name it.

The problem with recruiting these students to SMU has always been that even if the student could get into SMU, they would rarely have the credits to transfer to SMU in the numbers necessary to qualify for a scholarship under the NCAA rules. The SMU rule was that if SMU did not offer the course, the credits did not transfer. In SMU administrative lingo, these were referred to as "orphan courses." Ergo, the title of this article: a student athlete that took three hours of Animal Husbandry would get zero credit when he transferred to SMU. The same goes for education courses, kineseology courses, sports management courses, contemporary Baltic language courses and a host of others. One class would make little difference, but as far as many transferees were concerned, the number of courses that would not transfer started piling up.

Well, all that has changed. On February 15, 2006, the Faculty Senate approved a resolution awarding of free-elective transfer credit for appropriate courses completed with a grade of C– or better at regionally accredited colleges or universities, even if there is no equivalent discipline at SMU.

From the resolution:
The changes we made will encourage prospective transfer students who have earned credits in disciplines not offered here to add SMU to their list of schools for consideration,
We can now compete more successfully with other schools for these transfers. The message is that we will not automatically decline credit for legitimate academic courses earned elsewhere just because we don't teach that discipline at SMU.

That is the "carrot," the stick is that a faculty committee will evaluate orphan courses for transferability on a case by case basis. Referrals to the committee will be made by Enrollment Services, the Dedman Records office, the Athletics Department, the Registrar's office, or any academic department or division.

Bottom line is that this means more transferrable hours for transfer students, which means more student-athletes will have more transferrable hours and will be eligible per the NCAA rules. This means there is a bigger pool of transfers from which to recruit. This is a good move. Now let's see how it plays out.