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Berry Tramel


Doug Gottlieb has the coaching itch

by Berry Tramel Published: April 2, 2012

Doug Gottlieb wants to coach. I know, sounds crazy, a guy who’s been doing radio for 10 years, with nary a minute of coaching experience, taking over a program like Kansas State’s, which Gottlieb campaigned for.

But before you dismiss Gottlieb as just rambling, remember who you’re arguing against. Gottlieb can spin a powerful argument on most any subject, and if that subject is himself, it’s no different.

Over the weekend, Kansas State hired former Illinois coach Bruce Weber. But last week, Gottlieb told the Manhattan Mercury’s Cole Manbeck of his desire for the job. You can read the story here.

“I’m pretty self aware,” Gottlieb told the Mercury. “I understand that the idea is not necessarily out of left field, but it would not technically be the norm for an athletic director. But I do believe if given the chance, I would do it pretty well.”
Gottlieb’s wrong on that first count. Hiring a coach with no coaching experience absolutely would be out of left field.
But Gottlieb has counters to the arguments.

On the idea that Gottlieb would be an incredible risk: “Look, nothing great has ever happened without somebody taking a chance. They took a chance on Frank Martin (who had limited college experience when he replaced Bob Huggins at KSU), and he hit it out of the park.”

On Gottlieb’s total lack of coaching experience, Gottlieb said he knows the game (true) well enough to coach (who knows?) and is smart enough to surround himself with really smart people who have been head coaches and need a gig (sounds like he had a plan) – that’s what I’d do. I’d love the opportunity.”

On the value of his association with ESPN the last decade: “I have instant name recognition due to being at ESPN. Also, the ability within the Midwest to be young enough that people are actually able to remember me having played” at OSU, from 1997-2000.

On his ability to recruit: Gottlieb pointed out that his father, Bob, a former assistant at KSU under Jack Hartman and at Creighton under Eddie Sutton, Doug Gottlieb’s coach at OSU, now runs a major recruiting assistance program on the West Coast. “Knowing recruiting as well as I do, so much of it is about relationships with the players, relationships with the AAU coach, relationships with high school coaches.”

Gottlieb points out that the likes of Mark Gottfried (now at North Carolina State) and Steve Lavin (now at St. John’s) have had major recruiting success getting back into coaching from the ESPN pool of analysts. Of course, Gottfried and Lavin had coached at Alabama and UCLA, respectively, before joining ESPN.

But Gottlieb counters that argument with Fred Hoiberg, the Iowa State coach who went from an NBA front office back to his alma mater and has produced quality results despite having never coached before.

“Fred Hoiberg opens up a massive door for the argument of people who have never coached before,” Gottlieb said. “Either you can do it or you can’t do it. There’s obviously some of the time spent where you have to learn the intricacies of running a program, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn on the job and it doesn’t mean you can’t do the job.”
The K-State door is closed. I don’t know if any school would give Gottlieb a shot. It would be a risk. But he certainly sells himself; I don’t know why he couldn’t sell his school.

I have no idea if he can coach a ballgame, and truthfully, no one else does, either. But Gottlieb played for a world-class coach in Sutton. Some of that had to rub off.

I know this. Any school that just hired Weber should have thought long and hard about taking a chance on someone, anyone, be it Doug Gottlieb or not.


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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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