Someone around the Bull Run Water cooler pointed out that “as bad” as UB’s search went it’s nothing compared to what some other revenue rich schools are going through right now.
Then when I popped into UB fan I saw the same conversation.
When Buffalo landed on Whitesell I was happy with the hire but annoyed at the process and how it seemed to drag out. UB’s last coaching search took all of four days, which I imagine was the amount of time Danny White and Bobby Hurley needed to work out the details of his contract.
Remember that while Hurley had agreed to a contract in principle he (1) refused to sign the one presented and (2) had been taking interviews elsewhere. Danny White knew that it was likely Hurley was gone.
Conrad once wrote up a fantastic piece about the White/Hurley/Oats drama. It’s really worth the read.
The speed of the move helped keep Nick Perkins in Buffalo, or so I’ve heard.
This time it took a bit over a week, which was enough time for the entire recruiting class to fall apart, And while many Buffalo fans, buoyed by being a top 25 team, expected a big splash hire we got a conservative move to the older of UB’s assistant coaches.
Now key things to remember here. Since everything went down we’ve learned two things
- Oats had been talking to Bama for a short while but did not breath a word of that to Mark Alnutt, he had just signed nice contract in Buffalo and showed no outward signs of leaving. Not so much as a rumor out there that Bama’ was even talking to him
- Up until an hour or so before he left Oats didn’t breath a word to anyone. He left so fast that the only players he addressed where the ones who caught him and Hodgson trying to pack up their office and sneak away unnoticed.
Bushwacked doesn’t even begin to describe what happened to Mark Alnutt.
Then there were rumors of pressures from some program supports to hire Hodgson, and I don’t know if those are true.
Meanwhile Hodgson was flying around in a Crimson shirt while telling the Buffalo News that “he wanted the Buffalo Job”.
It was a total mess, but to this point absolutly none of this falls on Alnutt.
Would I have liked “head coach Jim Whitesell” to be presented by the end of week 1? Yes!
But I’m not an AD, chances neither are you. There are probably a dozen things here that have to happen that we don’t know about.
With all that out of the way, how did Alnutt do?
A good hire in 10 days.
Now lets look at UCLA and Saint Johns. A Pac12 school and a Big East Program.
UCLA’s coaching hunt took just over 100 days... They are a school with a lot of resources and history and they were hunting at a time when no other school was looking. Our Sister site over at Bruins Nation started talking about candidates back in January.
They ended up on Cincinnati's Mick Cronin, which is a good hire, but they aimed a lot higher for months and kept striking out. At least four high profile coaches from power conferences turned down the Bruins before they poached the American conference.
Now onto Saint Johns who’s biggest failure to date seems to be that they could not pluck Bobby Hurley from Arizona State.
It’s been nine days since Chris Mullin Stepped down and probably two weeks or so since the rumors started. Even before the NCAA tournament there were whispers that he was going to leave.
They also tried to lure Porter Moser away from Lyola and could not.
The current name being bandied about is Iona head coach Tim Cluess.
So Saint Johns is, again, going to go longer than UB and have to hire “down” from the MAAC. One could easily say, if you’re gonna take two weeks to swing the bat, at least hit a home run.
Did Mark Alnutt hit a home run? While the UB recruiting class fell apart the roster is entirely intact. That in itself is a major victory given the talent that’s there. If you don’t believe me go look at other programs that lost their coach, nearly all of them lost at least one player to the portal.
Alnutt took his time and managed to get the players on board with the search. He made them a big part of the process, meeting with them as a team and each individually.
He also hired a coach they all liked, knew, and respected. Even though the temptation might have been there to “go big”. Mark Alnutt should get some credit for holding this team together when a lot of other AD’s would not have.
I’m genuinely excited about next season. Adjusting to the losses we took may take a small bit of time but Buffalo will still be an exciting team that has the potential to pile up 20+ wins.
With the talent on the roster all this team needs is a couple of JUCO’s who are ready to contribute then Buffalo could easily compete for the division, if not compete for the title in Cleveland.
Now we just have to sit back and watch the recruiting sites to see how Whitesell does with his first class as Buffalo’s head coach.