If the past few days have shown us anything it’s that this Gopher fan base is one demanding group. Crazy indictments on the administration, Norwood Teague in particular, and the media frenzy to come down with the most ridiculous takes that further inflame the search process continue to amaze me.

Take a chill pill, people. It’s going to be okay.

I wish there was a voice in the local media telling us that hiring good coaches is what Teague does for a living and why he is where he is today (remember, he DID hire Anthony Grant and Shaka Smart)[UPDATE: Teague may or may not have hired Grant directly; it’s unclear. Grant DID develop under Teague’s watch]. Instead we get fanatical cries from people like Jeff Dubay and Charley Walters and crap like this that make it seem like because we haven’t found a coach six days into the search process that Teague has somehow failed in the process and is embarrassing the university. SIX DAYS. Does anyone actually know how the conversation went between Saunders and Teague? No? Perfect.

Can we get a little perspective here? Good lord. Hasn’t it ever occurred to anyone that maybe Teague has this thing COMPLETELY in control? Where’s that story angle? He hasn’t NOT found a coach yet; the NCAA season is still going on for Christ’s sake.

The biggest problem is that the entire search process and expectations have been been blown WAY out of proportion, and the rumors that come from nowhere feed themselves which make the broader fan base think that this whole thing is failure. As if Teague has somehow messed the whole process up because he hasn’t hired a homerun coach within a week of letting the previous one go.

I blame many members of the local media for lazy takes, creating a story based almost completely on speculation, which is now being taken as fact. Is it wrong to ask media members to take a more thoughtful approach to the whole thing? The truth is that there isn’t any actual insight into the process from the university’s perspective, yet the administration is getting skewered for not having a guy yet. No one knows how the negotiations went down with Smart or Hoiberg or Flip Saunders and to pretend like there is actual evidence to the contrary is unfair. So far there have been a whole lot of “reports” and “sources” but no actual comments from any of the coaches that have been approached and certainly no comment from the university.

So, I ask, why the apocalyptic reaction? Remember, Teague and Ellis do this for a living. This is their job. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. It hasn’t even been a week yet and just because Shaka Smart and Fred Hoiberg signed extensions at their respective schools doesn’t mean that the coach search is somehow blowing up.

My overarching point here is that it’s unfair to the administration to beat them up for something they haven’t even done wrong yet. And with such a dearth of hard evidence and insight into the search process no one actually knows what’s going on. It’s important to reserve judgement until actual reports surface into how the process is working, who is being targeted and what the results are. Real names with real quotes (not unnamed sources and anonymous reports) go a long way in the credibility department. So far that’s been severely lacking.


11 thoughts on “On a more thoughtful approach to the coaching search

  1. I basically agree with you, but to play devil’s advocate on the 6 days thing, I think the argument would be that you should have a solid plan in place to quickly hire an excellent coach before you fire a pretty good coach. So then the criticism boils down to, since nothing has happened in the first ~1 week, NT didn’t have a plan or had too much unwarranted confidence in his plan. Of course, that’s not what many people are explicitly arguing, and it would be nice if they spelled that out if that’s what they mean.

  2. Mike Ellis, Norwood’s right hand man, was involved in Capel, Grant, and Shaka, and he is deeply involved in our coaching search.

  3. Just WHY should anyone trust our new norwood about much of anything. This whole villa 7 thing seems like some kind of rip off on a dating service. You know, get some assistant coach to come into the office. Chat and get to know the interviewer a little more personally. Then, write up a nice profile piece, Then put it out there for perspective a.d. types to browse at their own convenience.

    What’s the deal with athletic directors wanting to scope out assistant coaches. IF a head coach is working for a control freak of an a.d. who wants to tell the coach which assistant coach to hire, it’s time for that coach to tell that a.d. to shove it where the sun don’t shine.

    In fact, it sounds kind of creepy for athletic directors to be creeping all over the profiles of some young assistant coach.

    I fear that our new norwood and this ellis buddy of his that he brought to town from VCU are just too vested in this villa 7 toy thing that they try to take so much ownership in it’s almost like it’s their very own object of pride and joy. IF they are including too many people with ties to this strange little internet MATCH GAME thing between assistant coach types and athletic director types, there is a distinct advantage to anyone who joined this little networking club. If this drives there search…it MIGHT appear to be a conflict of interest.

    Trust our new norwood: sorry, I’m watching to see what he does…not what he says he does. So far his is one totally unimpressive ad dude. And, I’m talking about his entire body of work here at the U. The 800,000 Carolina buyout…allowing badger joel macturi to extend all those coaches INCLUDING Pam Borton and then not letting anyone know…so HE could avoid the heat they knew would come with a Borton extension. Then EXTENDING Tubby Smith last July or when ever.

    And now his LACK of having a sure fire plan in place following his buying out and friing Tubby.

    This new norwood is ONE bad deal happening after some other bad deals. Out Men’s Hoops Program Held Hostage: Going on Day Seven. ( You Do recall how Night lLine got it’s start on ABC,,,”Americal Held Hostage: Day five…”

    ; 0 )

  4. The problem with all of this is everyone thinks the U of M job is a great job. It’s not. No coach mentioned would be making a step up. It would be a lateral move for any. Oh sure, they are going to the Big Ten, but all mentioned are already at programs better than the U. Minnesota is not that great of place. The winters are miserable, the facilities are old, they have no practice facility, which is apparently a big deal these days, top recruits really don’t want to come here and they will never be a top program in a tough conference where others will be able to recruiter better and offer better situations.

    People think it’s the U and everyone should want to be here, but why? It’s not a great job and not that great of place.

  5. Well, jf: based upon the number of comments here you had better be pleased that anyone takes the time to state their feelings about this “situation” our new norwood has placed this basketball program in.

    Actually, it is getting to the point where it really doesn’t matter much, any way.

    But I can only hope that the NEXT athletic director really IS a Football guy. That 300 million dollar investment needs to have a LOT of attention to detail for Game Day Saturdays.

    The Men’s Hoops Program always has been just a day away from disaster in one way or another. The Musselman Mess…the Dutcher Demise…Clem’s Cheating Chapter…followed by sanctions, loss of scholarship, restricted recruiting visits…

    So, since our new norwood and his villa 7 is stuck on dead center, we will possibly end up with some assistant coach who had a some really nice profile shots that distracted our new norwood enough to offer a job as his new head coach. But, I guess it really doesn’t matter much.

    ; 0 )

    • I’ve reread this comment four times and I still haven’t the faintest idea what you’re trying to say. I think you’re cutting down Teague because you don’t think he’s been successful in the coaching search (which, I’ll remind you, has lasted a mere seven days), to which I’d refer you to the post you’re commenting on. Just because there hasn’t been an announcement doesn’t mean that things are going wrong; you’re buying into speculation that it MIGHT be going wrong and taking it as fact. That is unfair and defeatist. Consider that it also MIGHT be going according to plan. The problem is no one, not even the media, know what is happening behind the curtain. If you’re worried about giving Teague the benefit of the doubt then I guess there isn’t much that will convince you otherwise, though I’d question that approach. He’s done nothing but succeed at doing exactly this (bring coaches on board who succeed) and, again, it’s unfair to criticize a guy who hasn’t done anything wrong other than not be transparent to a paranoid fan base about a very sensitive issue (which I don’t even consider unwise).

      And your gripe about Villa 7 is just weird. There are no indications that Teague is relying on his Villa 7 connections to fill the position; the targets are current head coaches, not assistants. However, it’s a proven networking project that has placed dozens of successful coaches (including Shaka Smart) at high-profile institutions. You can read about the success stories here:

  6. So, this new norwood fancies himself as a basketball guy and a fund-raiser. So far I haven’t seen very much basketball sense that he has. He did extend Tubby last July. Why did he extend a guy when he really didn’t have to extend him? He could have let that slide and made a statement that before he extended he wanted to see how the season would play out.

    Oh yes…I know, it would have made it tough for Tubby to recreuit. So, now our new norwood has spent at least a million or so more than he would have had to spend buying Tubby out. He has managed to pi$$ al lot of boosters off with his handling of the “negotiations” with Flip. Just where do you suppose the U stands with the recruits now?

    And…this dude from VCU who claims to be all about basketball…AND…all about fund-raising has been on the job for 9 months. Where does he stand with raising money for a Practice Facility…for basketball….and ESPECIALLY for FOOTBALL?

    This new norwood just NEVER seems to do a darn thing.

    He even let badger joel macturi extend a lot of non-revenue coaches rather than have to go on the record for it himself. And one of the coaches he extended was Pam Borton.

    This athlete department reeks of mismanagement.

    It’s this new norwood’s mess to clean up. He will have to get out there and hit the boosters up for LOTS of Money. They certainly won’t hold a grudge about that Flip deal…will they?

    It just seems that EVERY direction this norwood turns…there are problems, people who are not happy with our new norwood and he never seems to get anything done. The goes way beyond this basketball coaching search.

    The athletic department at the U of M is not making friends and influencing people right now…that’s for surel

    ; 0 )

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