This sucks. Plain and simple. I love being on vacation but I'm stuck in Philly when I really want to be back in Omaha watching this Dana Altman to Iowa story unfold. I have said on the air a lot that I felt like the one job that Dana would take would be Iowa. I was told by a very reliable source a week ago that Dana would NOT take the job. Thus, I pushed that line on air. That same source flipped less than 24 hours later.
To me, Dana to Iowa seems like a done deal now. The search committee has pulled their number from their website. Both AD Gary Barta and Dana will be in Atlanta for the Final Four and I would expect a deal being finalized this weekend. Nobody knows except Dana himself though. I wonder if he enjoys F'ing with everyone :). Silence is the best way to freak everyone out.
If Dana does leave, lets hope he doesn't pull a Steve Alford. The Jays' fans should at least begin to prepare themselves for life without the best coach that the university has ever seen. I have often fought the line that I am a Bluejay fan. However, I will never fight perception that I am a Dana Altman fan. I am proud to say that I am. But the cupboard is NOT empty next year and if you look at coaches like Tubby Smith going to Minnesota, getting a good coach to come to Omaha won't be hard to do. A million bucks in Omaha goes a lot farther than say, here in Philly. Oh, and 17,000 a night is something the Sixers would love to boast. Lots of coaches will be interested in the job if it does open up, especially with 4 new coaches in the Valley already. (BTW - Congrats to Coach McKenna on the Indy St. gig. I hope he can recruit there. Tough job)
Here are the large name Head Coaches that I have been around in my career before Dana - John Calipari, Bruiser Flint, Pete Guillen, and Mike Gottfried. Not one of them was as interesting to watch coach as Dana. Sure, they all had their ways of being successful but Coach Altman has the knack of taking a C+ player and making them an A. That is a true coach. Some are killer recruiters (Cal), some are great motivators (Guillen), some can capture lightning in a bottle (Gottfried) and some are growing into themselves still (Flint) but I've never seen anyone be able to put it all together like Coach Dana Altman.
Steve Alford's departure was as messy as it gets. If you read the above article, the fact that Alford was trying to get his recruits to go with him to New Mexico just goes to show you that he wasn't an Iowa guy. That was something that Coach Greg McDermott pointed out in himself during his introductory press conference at Iowa St. Well, Dana might be from Nebraska but his ability to recruit players in Iowa is well documented. I don't expect him to try to get Keyton Walker or P'Allen Stinnet to follow him though. For one, it's illegal but moreso, he loves Creighton and would want to see the program continue it's winning ways.
I need to go find Kyle Korver tonight and get his read on Dana. I wonder if he could recruit him to stay? I'm sure Kaleb would prefer it given the fact that he'll be a Jay next year.
On Monday, I'll be back on the air in Omaha and I hope I'm not reporting that Coach has left. But if I am, there should not be any anger or sadness. The man built the castle and it's his right if he wants to move on to something new. He's earned it. I hope that Creighton will name the court next year after Dana for what he did. He's earned it. I hope the fans remember what he did and get behind the team as they will need it next year. They've earned it.
Change is never fun to go through but maybe it's best for all. Again, I hope the Dana Altman reign isn't ending but something in me is saying that it is. I know the Jays just got 2 commits from JuCo guards who were told by Dana that he was staying. That's recruiting folks....you work your ass off at your current job until there is a new boss to work for. Nothing dirty about it - just the way it is.
If it is over - I'd just like to wish the man the best and I hope he takes Iowa to great heights. I don't believe the Iowa fans deserve a coach like Dana Altman but they just might get one. For those who are saying getting Dana isn't a home run - you are sadly mistaken. If Barta gets him, put him in the Big Papi vs. Yankees in 2004 ALCS category of performances.
Will the Creighton Head Coaching Search begin on Monday?? Stay tuned.....