Not 30 minutes after I wrote the following I learned that Norwood Teague has hired Richard Pitino as the Gophers new men's basketball coach. All I will add right now is to say, read this before you bad-mouth the choice.
I'm more than willing to give the kid a shot. It looks to me like the kid has some upside. Otherwise, I think what I've already written says what I wanted to say.
I am on record saying that the Gopher men, given a variety of systemic and historic forces, are in need of a miracle worker. Am I saying things are bad? Yeah, things are bad. 1 NCAA tournament win in 16 years (or perhaps you prefer 22 years). No Big 10 title since 1982. Local talent that up until 2014, at least, doesn't appear to be able to support a winner.
(8 of 13 Mr. Minnesota Basketballs this century have gone to Minnesota. The losses hurt our feelings at the time [Isaiah Dahlman] and/or hurt the program longer term [Jordan Taylor]. But Boone, Humphries, Rickert, Tollackson, Hoffarber and Joe Coleman were otherwise pretty much as good as it gets--not to mention Dan Coleman, Dan Hagen, Lawrence McKenzie, Al Nolan among others--and it wasn't good enough by a long shot.)
6 years ago we thought Tubby was a miracle worker. It turned out, not. So why not roll the dice, I thought?
Well, why not? If you can't get a miracle worker, that's why not. Or, more to the point, if you can't get somebody who looks like a miracle worker. The irony is that Tim Brewster looked a little bit like a miracle worker, while Jerry Kill looked like and looks like, well, Tubby Smith. A grinder who will probably make the program better but seems unlikely to make it great. But, of course, the guy who promised to make it great proved to be a snake oil salesman who was low on snakes at the time.
So, is there a miracle worker out there? Is the even a guy who looks like and smells like a miracle worker? Who the hell knows. Not me. But if you're gonna hire another grinder, ya shoulda kept Tubby. OK? Ya shoulda kept Tubby if you can't get Shaka or Flip or Fred or Brad or the next generation of potential miracle workers.
But that's hindsight. I said, roll the dice, and Norwood Teague rolled the dice. I agree with Amelia Rayno. Whatever Teague's personal vision was or is, he did what we wanted. It's beyond hypocrisy to jump off the bandwagon now.
But let's be honest. The coach that Teague hires won't be a miracle worker unless he, miraculously, gets Tyus Jones and/or Reid Travis and/or Rashad Vaughn to come to Minnesota. That will be a miracle and, if it happens, it will beget other miracles, just like Lindsay Whalen resurrected a woman's program that was in vastly worse shape in 2000 than the men's program has ever been.
But if, as seems more likely, the new coach cannot inveigle his way into Tyus' or Reid's or Rashad's heart in 90 days, what then? Then...then...support your coach. Support your AD. Support your only local D1 university. He/they did what you asked. You and I, we own the consequences. Man up.