There were a couple of bizarre, unconventional hires in college basketball today – both signs of what teams will do when they are desperate. First, UTEP. After Tony Barbee left to coach Auburn after a very good season, the team had a chance to hire someone who could continue on the momentum they had build and help the team become a regular C-USA power before Memphis can fully re-establish themselves in that role. Instead, they hired Tim Floyd. Floyd was an assistant for a lot of years, so boosters are familiar with him and he is a popular choice among them. He’s a terrible choice, though. He underachieved with ridiculous talent at USC, then threatened the program for the long term with violations that he left behind when he left. Floyd is one of those guys who keep getting jobs for some reason, yet never has the results to back up that decision, or really to warrant getting another premier job. In the dictionary under overrated there is a picture of Floyd. On top of that, Floyd has little loyalty and is always looking for brighter lights, so if he doesn’t have some quick success he’ll just ride that to a bigger and better job. He’s just not what UTEP needs.
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The Hornets have become the first team to fire a coach this year by booting Byron Scott just a year and a half after he was named NBA Coach of the Year. The team had limped out to a 3-6 start, and two of those win hardly count because they were against the Clippers and Kings. I’d sum up the way the franchise handled this with two words – inevitable and stupid. It was inevitable because Scott had to go because of the start and because of the way the season last year went – a disappointing regular season and humiliating playoffs. Chris Paul was frustrated and the team has no more important task than keeping Paul happy. They are already over the luxury tax threshold so they can’t overhaul the roster in a meaningful way, so Scott was the only real option. The move was stupid, though, because of their choice of a replacement. The new head coach is general manager Jeff Bower. He has been with the team since 1995 and he built the current team so he knows them well, but he has never been a head coach and a couple of assistant stints atMarist and Penn State a hundred years ago are his only real bits of (barely) relevant experience. They have also hired Tim Floyd as Bower’s top assistant. Not only if Floyd coming off a disgraceful exit from USC, but his last coaching experience in the NBA was with the Hornets – and they fired him in 2004 after one season because he didn’t do a good job. I have no problem with getting rid of Scott, but only if they replace with a coach with a good chance of being better than Scott was. I just don’t really see that here.
This Tim Floyd situation is going to get uglier and uglier. His resignation, and the speed and seeming joy with which the athletic department at USC took it, is a clear indicator of his guilt in the alleged cash-spreading incident, and it’s not hard to imagine him being guilty of more, either. The NCAA combined their investigation into the basketball team with their one into Reggie Bush and the football team et al . That would suggest that they are taking it pretty seriously, and this just adds fuel to their efforts. It will be very interesting to see what happens here. It could end very badly – loss of scholarships or post-season eligibility or the like. This really makes you wonder if maybe Pete Carroll will find the next NFL offer too good to refuse. If he does have some blood on his hands then he’d be much better off following the example of John Calipari – get out ahead of the scandal – than that of Tim Floyd.
So long, Tim Floyd. One of the slimiest coaches in basketball has reportedly resigned from his post at USC. He’s embroiled with a scandal over allegations that he personally paid an associate of O.J. Mayo so that Mayo would choose to attend USC. He hasn’t admitted to doing anything wrong, but this resignation is the next best thing. It was only a couple of months ago that Floyd declared his love to USC and chose to stay instead of taking the job at Arizona, sp this is a relationship that soured quickly. Now USC has to find a good coach at an awkward time, and they can’t afford to screw it up. The search won’t be made any easier by the sins of Floyd – no coach would be eager to jump into a school that could be hit by sanctions. I’ve never been a fan of Floyd, and this is just a clear sign that I can trust my instincts.
I assumed this was a lame April Fools’ Day joke when I first heard it, but it seems to actually be true – Tim Floyd is reportedly about to be named the coach at Arizona. This is truly bizarre on so many levels. First, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Floyd. Arizona is a good program with a great tradition, but they are little more than a lateral move from USC. He can recruit well to Arizona, but he can recruit just as well to USC if he doesn’t his job well, and he’s better located for access to more recruits. It would make sense if Floyd had a tie to Arizona, but he really doesn’t – born in Mississippi, school at Louisiana Tech and so on. He’ll get a bit more cash in his new deal likely, but he could have got more from USC if he really wanted it, too. It just doesn’t make much sense for Floyd.