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Friday, April 6, 2007

Keegan

Keegan: K-State should call off pity party

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Kansas State president Jon Wefald and athletic director Tim Weiser must have spilled their milk when they met with Bob Huggins and unsuccessfully attempted to make him stay because by the time they held a news conference to announce the vacancy, the two men still were crying.

Wefald, who has done marvelous things for Kansas State, was not at his best in what amounted to a pity party of a presser. He said Huggins' decision was "not fair." Weiser, another good man, kept saying the timing wasn't right. No, it certainly wasn't right for K-State, but it was for Huggins, or he wouldn't have returned to West Virginia, his alma mater.

Wefald and Weiser looked exhausted, depressed, defeated. That wasn't what the faces of Kansas State needed to look like. It merely added to the embarrassment factor. The men needed to sound confident that they would find another coach with feet gigantic enough to fill Huggins' Nikes.

The post-Huggins era is not off to a good start, but that doesn't mean it won't finish well. Thanks largely to Huggins, the Kansas State job is a more appealing one than it was a year ago. Huggins proved that if you start to build a program, they will come to watch. Plus, he left one, possibly two, tremendous building blocks behind him in Bill Walker and Michael Beasley.

Walker, who became eligible for Kansas State in the second semester of Huggins' one and only season, is considered a member of the 2007 high school graduating class. Therefore, he isn't eligible to declare for the NBA Draft. Considering he is coming off major knee surgery, that wouldn't be a wise move anyway. Walker showed in six games that he's a big-time college player. Any potential K-State coach would feel better about the job knowing Walker would play for him.

Huggins bolts K-State for West Virginia

One and done! That is the legacy Bob Huggins will leave behind at Kansas State University as the basketball head coach. Huggins accepted a deal with West Virginia to coach their basketball program.

Beasley signed a letter of intent with Kansas State thinking he would play for Huggins, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will ask for a release from his letter and follow Huggins to West Virginia. Beasley comes out of an AAU program called D.C. Assault (Am I the only one who finds that name a tad offensive?). Huggins hired assistant Dalonte Hill, former D.C. Assault coach, away from Charlotte to improve his chances of getting Beasley.

So if you're a big-name coach and K-State approaches you, here's what you do. Immediately call Hill, and ask him if he would stay at K-State if he is promoted to associate head coach. If the answer is yes, then ask him how confident he is that Beasley would stay, too. If it's a double yes, the idea of coaching Walker and Beasley becomes quite an appealing one.

Wefald and Weiser hit a home run with the Huggins hiring. Unfortunately, it was a walk-off homer.

Now what?

Here's a name nobody's talking about that everybody should be talking about: Kevin O'Neill. He's bold, aggressive, a proven recruiter and a standout defensive coach. O'Neill, 50, elevated programs at Marquette and Tennessee and then coached at Northwestern before bolting for an NBA career. He's living in upstate New York, looking to get back into college coaching and he has a lot of the same traits as Huggins. For one, he's feisty. As transitions go, it would be a smooth one, especially if O'Neill could instantly convince Hill and then Beasley to stay committed to the Wildcats.

Comments

Jason Sinclair 7 years, 4 months ago

Keegs,

How can you say that hiring Huggins was a "home run"? Everybody warned a year ago that the Huggins era would end badly for K-State and it did. I think it's time to admit that you were wrong on this one.

Could they recover? Possibly. Most likely, they will desparately hire a coach who isn't ready just to try to save the recruiting class for one year. Next year might be decent, but then the whole thing will be even worse than it was before Huggins got there.

For K-State, the worst part is that it perpetuates the national impression that K-State is a "victim" - a "punching bag" and will be forever.

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KU 7 years, 4 months ago

Keegan......Isn't Dalonte Hill under 30 years old? Do you really think someone with no college head coaching experience and limited college assistant experience should be hired at a BCS school solely for the purpose of keeping Walker and Beasley around for ONE year?

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nebraska_jayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

He was a homerun because he put kstate basketball on the map. He did his job and now they'll get a better hire because of him going there.

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Jacobpaul81 7 years, 4 months ago

They never should have chased off/fired: Woolridge.... Altman.... Kreuger.... the list goes on and on. K-State is it's own worst enemy. That being said, there are so many great mid-major coaches out there, I'm suprised K-State isn't already on the attack to pick one up.

Obviously Altman's out of the running (of course, he'd never come back to manhattan), and boy, if this had come up about a month ago, I wonder if Jankovich would have gone after it?

They are lucky that those boys at Arkansas got busted this week, as that hurts Arkansas' chances of picking up a coach before K-State. I think of all the coaches in the country, K-state's best option would be to pursue Sutton down at Oral Roberts. Doesn't mean they will, or he would even be interested, but it'd be a lot better than getting an easterner or westerner who is just waiting for the opportunity to get a better job in their respect home front.

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RonBurgandy 7 years, 4 months ago

Huggins always seemed like the type of person that would bolt when he got a better offer. I know a lot of people that would agree, that he would just use K-State to get his image back on the positive side. You could argue that his being there for even one year helped K-State, but hiring a big name coach who was going to be there for several years would have helped them even more.

I agree with logicsound about the AD. They just need to stay positive for the fan base and find someone even better.

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Joe Ross 7 years, 4 months ago

KU.

RE:

"Keegan......Isn't Dalonte Hill under 30 years old? Do you really think someone with no college head coaching experience and limited college assistant experience should be hired at a BCS school solely for the purpose of keeping Walker and Beasley around for ONE year?"

If this were Kansas, you'd have an argument. But Kansas State had a meager stint in the limelight though, with Huggins so quickly flaming out. Names like Walker and Beasley at Kansas State is exactly what that school needs, even if only for a year. Why? They are a struggling program and this helps to put KSU back on the map. Kids hear of it if the program does well and that helps recruiting. A good year (for KSU, a tournament appearance) also is helpful towards recruiting. Kids like to go to places that have a good shot of making the tournament. Though one year isn't exactly a reputation, it's a beginning--and you have to start SOMEWHERE if you're a struggling program.

Besides, it's not as if Hill is being hired as a head coach! Adding staff to bring in recruits may not be the best case scenario, but it is certainly not unusual. Chalmers', Mannings, etc.

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