So at night when I try to fall asleep, I try to fall asleep by solving Texas Tech sports problems. Is this incredibly lame? Absolutely, but it's what consumes me. The biggest sports problem facing Texas Tech is the men's head basketball coaching position. So last night, I kept going back to the thought that when the season ended, he said that he was going to conduct a nationwide search for the next coach and so far, I do think he's done that. Trying to determine who is in charge of the search isn't something that I can prove or disprove, but let's just assume, for now, that this is a list of candidates that have been approached and/or interviewed and turned down the job:
Steve Alford, New Mexico
Michael White, Louisiana Tech
Marvin Menzies, New Mexico St.
Scott Sutton, Oral Roberts
Barry Hinson, Southern Illinois
Steve McClain, Indiana (asst)
Donnie Tyndall, Southern Mississippi
And we might be able to add Tubby Smith to this list very soon. So there are a couple of take-aways that should be slapping us, as Texas Tech fans, in the face.
1. Right now, the Texas Tech men's basketball job is not desirable. It's amazing that we all tend to comment, and I think I'm even guilty of thinking that, "Well, Coach X is at a 'lower' coaching job, he'll come to Texas Tech." Apparently not. That's a long list of coaches that have or will pass on the head coaching job and if you ever needed a wake-up call about where Texas Tech is at a program, then this is it. This is the reality and it ain't pretty. I love my university, but I also realize that a culmination of events, from Robert Knight anointing his son, Pat to be the head coach, to the Billy Gillispie fiasco, to where we are today, the coaching situation has been one blunder after another. When Hocutt said that he has to get this right, he wasn't kidding. This is supposed to be an income producing sport and although I am sure it is producing some income, it has so much potential.
2. There are only two options: unproven or retreat. Those are really inaccurate terms, but this is what Texas Tech is looking at for a head coaching position. It is unfortunate but true. I don't care if the coach is older or younger, I really don't have a bias either way. I just want a winner. There are proven coaches that fit both profiles. I think with Hocutt and even Hance to an extent, it is about fit. There is no absolutely correct formula, otherwise there wouldn't be debates about what's best for the long-term of the program. I am sure that the Miami fans that balked at hiring the octogenarian known as Jim Larranaga (he is really not an octogenarian) would change their tune now, while the Minnesota fans that were relieved when Smith was fired. It cuts both ways.
3. Have all of these people passed or is Texas Tech waiting on another coach? When Texas Tech fired Gillispie, I put together a list of coaches that I thought could be candidates for the Texas Tech coaching position. It is amazing how much things have changed in that span of time as Tony Benford, Rob Evans and Reggie Theus are no longer even considered. But some names on that list remain, with Doc Sadler being at the top of that list with Chris Walker.
4. There are other fish in the sea. It seems that we've somewhat resigned ourselves to thinking that if Texas Tech is going to go young, that Chris Walker is the only option and that isn't really all that accurate. The name that stuck out to me then, was Grant McCasland, assistant at Baylor. It is a name that Chris Level almost always mentions, and I believe he mentioned McCasland early in the process, but hasn't been mentioned really at all. And then I ran across this article this morning from Nick Gohlson of TimesRecord in Wichita Fallss suggesting McCasland.
So why not? In trying to put together a profile of what type of candidate that Kirby Hocutt is looking for, he fits the bill. Thus far, Hocutt has two hires on his hands, Kliff Kingsbury and Tim Tadlock. I'll focus on Tadlock for now because I think it is a closer example of what McCasland is.
*Tadlock played at Texas Tech.
* Tadlock was a very successful JUCO coach at Grayson College where he compiled a record of 435-127
* Was hired as an assistant at Oklahoma.
* One of Hocutt's biggest confidant's is OU AD Joe Castiglione and there is no doubt that Tadlock came highly recommended.
* I really don't know if it was former head coach Dan Spencer that hired Tadlock, but it wouldn't surprise me to know that Hocutt highly recommended Tadlock to get Tadlock on board. Either way, Tadlock has an impressive resume and to get him to coach at Texas Tech, as an assistant or as a head coach, I think is a good thing.
So now we look at the resume of McCasland.
* McCasland has his undergraduate from Baylor, but his graduate degree from Texas Tech.
* Was Director of Operations at Texas Tech from 1999 to 2001 under James Dickey.
* Was the head coach at Midwestern State and Midland College and was very successful. At Midland College he compiled a record of 143-32 and at Midwestern State he was 56-12.
* Was hired as an assistant at Baylor in 2011.
This seems more like it. Now, if you had to choose between Walker's resume, which consists of a handful of assistant head coaching stops, albeit at successful programs such as Loyola Marymount, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine, Umass, New Mexico and Villanova, or McCasland, do you like one over the other?
I really don't even know if McCasland is a viable candidate. Baylor is currently playing in the NIT and is in New York, but they've had about a week break from when they last played and will play again April 2nd and if they win, April 4th.
This seems like a hire that is right up Hocutt's street. Young guy. West Texas ties and a degree from Texas Tech. Successful JUCO coach. Assistant coach at a Big 12 program.
Feel free to vote in the poll as to which resume you like the best.