OU job not an easy sell
OU athletic director Joe Castiglione faces a monumental challenge to find a replacement for Jeff Capel, who he fired two weeks ago. Because the program is in a deep hole, playing in an elite conference, it’s understandable why a lot of coaches would be hesitant to take the job.
Castiglione repeatedly has said the program’s rich tradition — a lot richer than often given credit — makes it an attractive job.
Castiglione can sell coaches on the fact the Sooners have been to Final Fours, won conference titles, played in countless NCAA Tournaments and have produced players like Blake Griffin, Wayman Tisdale and Mookie Blaylock.
But at this point and time, April 2011, the OU job isn’t that attractive for several reasons.
1) The talent pool on campus is lacking. The new coach will have some decent players to build around — Andrew Fitzgerald, Cameron Clark, Steven Pledger, Romero Osby and Tyler Neal — but none are stars which is requried to win at a high level. It’s probably the primary reason Castiglione decided to make a change. He could sense the current roster wasn’t on the brink of being a viable NCAA Tournament contender.
2) An ongoing NCAA investigation probably won’t lead to any sanctions since the investigation is almost a year old with no new developments. But one of Capel’s former assistants being accused of possibly being involved in a alledged improper loan to an OU player’s family doesn’t help Castiglione’s sales pitch.
3) The most daunting variable is the new coach faces the unenviable task of playing in one of the toughest conferences in the country. It will be even tougher with Colorado and Nebraska leaving. The 18-game round robin format will be brutal for everyone, especially a program in a rebuilding mode.
Kansas and Texas are perennial powers. Kansas State and Texas A&M have built solid programs. Oklahoma State has one of the nation’s top players joining a solid nucleus. Missouri is a factor once again and should remain so depending on who the Tigers hire.
Baylor coach Scott Drew has recruited NBA caliber talent. Texas Tech should improve dramatically under Billy Gillispie. That leaves Iowa State and OU. And Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg already is restocking the roster in Ames.
On a nightly basis, the new Sooner coach will be matched against Bill Self (Kansas), Rick Barnes (Texas), Frank Martin (Kansas State), Travis Ford (OSU), Mark Turgeon (A&M), Gillispie, Hoiberg and whoever Missouri hires. Drew is the least feared of the group and he signstop notch talent.
There will be no gimmes in the revamped Big 12. Especially on the road.
Castiglione is right. OU has a rich tradition. But it will take at least a year or two for the new coach to restock the roster to where it can be competive in a dog-eat-dog conference.
Maybe veteran coach Lon Kruger is willing to take on the momumental rebuilding task. Whoever takes the job, there’s a ton of work to be done in a conference where finishing in the top half will be a major challenge for everyone except Kansas and Texas.
Yes, OU has a rich men’s basketball tradition. But it won’t be easy to get the program back to where it was much of the past three decades.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 24523Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15852Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms drink in success of 'Hangover' series
- 10645Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 9696Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 9156Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 8753Story behind the photo: Family members describe desperate search for one another after EF5 twister
- 8578Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena
- 7656Carrie Underwood donates $1 million to Red Cross for disaster relief in wake of deadly Oklahoma tornadoes
- 7634Oklahoma tornadoes: Sooners bring back some smiles to Sydney Angle's teammates
- 6870UPDATE: Search continues for boy, 17, missing in Uncle John Creek in Kingfisher
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients