FORT WORTH, Texas — If not Billy, then who?
We're of course talking about the successor to Pat Knight at Texas Tech, where the school president took the weight of firing him off the shoulders of new athletics director Kirby Hocutt on Monday morning.
I'm on the record as saying Hocutt at least should have a conversation with Billy Gillispie, despite his past transgressions.
No doubt the former Texas-El Paso, Texas A&M and Kentucky coach is the popular choice on The Plains. And last time I checked, 82 percent of the respondents to a Star-Telegram online survey question felt that Tech should "definitely" think about him as next coach as well.
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Will he get a chance?
I'm told by more than one person familiar with Tech's new 38-year-old boy-wonder AD that Hocutt is very, very image conscious. The inference those people make is that Hocutt would be less-than-inclined to roll the dice and make the bold, gusty choice to bring in a new-look Gillispie — despite the fact that he would immediately solve problems like fielding an always-competitive team that people would come out to watch.
Apparently the unknown still greatly concerns the powers-that-be concerning Gillispie. Wrongly so in my opinion, but they don't ask me. They'd rather pay for their information.
And in my book, too many people rely on what they hear — the input they get from search firms among others — rather than rely on their own face-to-face impressions. Let me tell you something, if I'd relied on what I heard rather than my gut, I'd have been wrong way more than I've been right — though in this day and age being wrong doesn't seem to matter anymore.
It mystifies me that people who have risen to positions of power rely on someone else to do their research — and pay them ridiculous amounts of money to do it. Tech hired a search firm to find Hocutt, a guy every administrator in the country knew about.
But then a lot of things about the world I live in today mystify me. And I'm not just talking about ADs hiring coaches. And if you think these people get unbiased opinions from these search firms, you're wrong. Most any coach in the game who has had or knows of these things will tell you the same thing.
I've been told that there are some financially heavy Tech people who are going to lobby on Gillispie's behalf. Multi-million-dollar-type heavy. The question is whether or not they have the clout they think they do.
But what Tech should not do is what past TCU athletics director Danny Morrison did — go out and hire a coach, whether he knows his business or not — who has little or no ties to Texas high school coaches. Despite the nice guy that Pat Knight is, he was still fighting an uphill battle in that department at a school where you're starting from the fifth row back to begin with.
If not Gillispie?
Here's another name to consider. Try Nebraska Coach Doc Sadler on for size. He can coach. He can recruit. He does more with less. He was the behind-the-scenes ace on the James Dickey staff at Tech who found guys like Tony Battie, Corey Carr, Darvin Hamm, et al.
Doc still knows Texas. Nebraska AD Tom Osborne would do well to lock up Sadler, who has done a solid job at a school with less going for it in basketball — because of its location — than does Tech.
I've done my part. Any other names are going to cost Tech $50,000.