No, that's not the surprise.
The surprise was the naming of 11-year Tommies assistant John Tauer as interim coach. I mean, what's with the interim? The announcement said a proper search for a permanent successor to the wide one will occur in the spring of 2012, after the interim coach has had a year to impress the search committee, or otherwise.
Seriously. Interim? I mean, who decided on that? The outgoing coach doesn't get to pick his successor. No, the athletic director does that. Well, that, too, is one Steve Fritz. And who is gonna pick the permanent coach a year from now? Steve Fritz, maybe?
Well, the fact is that Fritz has already hired Tauer 11 times. Of course he wants Tauer to be his successor. And so what caliber of options are going to arise? What really great young coach is going to step forward and say, Steve, I want that job, when he knows that Tauer is da man.
I guess there's some bureaucratic requirement or other that St. Thomas requires in cases like this, so I guess they're going through some motions. And, sure, Johnny Tauer doesn't mind waiting a year to really get his own set of keys. But you'll note that the St. Thomas summer basketball camp is already the John Tauer Camp.
So you can all just forget about that interim label. It's unfortunate that it's there at all, because it's so damn obvious that it doesn't mean what it says. And that is that Johnny Tauer--well, he's not gonna get 31 years, like his predecessor--but Johnny Tauer is gonna be pulling the strings for the Tommies for probably the next 21 years.
Congrats, Steve. Congrats, Johnny. What a ride, and the indications are that it ain't over.