Our lives were in limbo. Up until this point I was relatively naïve to the hiring dance that took place amongst institutions and coaches. But I was thrown into the fire these past two years and I learned a great deal about the deep, dark coaching world. Many head coaches have a God Complex especially when it comes to hiring a staff. They play with your lives like you are pawns in their little game. These coaches will bring you in for interviews, talk shop with you about what a great addition you would be when they know full well they are giving the job to someone else. And half the time these coaches don’t have the decency to call you and tell you that you didn’t get the job. You usually have to find it out on the internet. On this particular occasion, Derek thought he had a good shot at the assistant job but the head coach kept dragging his feet and wouldn’t make a decision. One minute we thought we were going to get the job and the next minute we heard he was going to give it to someone else. He kept stringing Derek along for weeks. Derek didn’t get the job and we found out later that the head coach had already had someone else in mind for the job but thought he could entice Derek to take the lesser position of Director of Operations – the old bait and switch trick. Why tease us by dangling a job in front of us that you know is going to someone else? Here we are living apart- Derek is in Illinois and me and the kids with my parents in Cincinnati wondering what our future holds and coaches and AD’s don’t have the decency to tell the truth.
I was quickly becoming well versed in the dynamics of the hiring process. I discovered that in this business it is definitely who you know and not what you know that is important. There are many “families” in the coaching world – Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo and they take care of each other. Many coaches get jobs because they are in the “family” – they either played at the university or are somehow previously affiliated with the head coach, know the AD, or best of all they are a son of the head coach. If you don’t fit into any of those categories it is hard to break into the business.
Finally, after witnessing the whole March/April coaching carousel, I not only realized that college coaching is business but it is a cut-throat business. And business is all about money. Sure, coaches want the athletes to get an education but first and foremost coaches want to keep their jobs so they can get paid. And no matter what the media says or how much the institution stresses the importance of an education, coaches get fired if they don’t bring wins to the table. That is the bottom line. Win and keep your job. If you could keep the players from going to jail and have them go to class every once in a while that would be nice too! And while you are at it try not to get caught drinking with the student body and for God’s sake can you call someone when you had too much to drink because we can’t explain away your third DUI. It is all about the money and winning equals money. It is hard to fire a man who his bringing in millions of dollars through ticket sales, television contracts and tournament bonuses. The sad part about that is that I get it. I could take the holier-than-now approach and say it is a disgrace when a coach doesn’t graduate half his players but it comes down to money and money is a powerful thing. I would be the first to tell you that my life is a lot easier and happier when I have money.