Derek’s second season at UNLV is coming to an end. They had a good season with 20 plus wins and they made it into the Mountain West Conference Championship game for the second year in a row. For the second straight year they lost on a last second shot and do not make it into the NCAA tournament. I thought it was bad when it happened last year but when it happened again I thought I was going to have to get my husband some antidepressants. He was hoping that this would be the year he could get a head coaching position and if they made it to the NCAA Tournament that would give him a huge boost on his resume. It was like a shot through your heart and the head coach felt it too. He told his staff that they better start looking for jobs because he was done. He was too old to deal with the recruiting, the administration, and the coaching.
Derek decides to go after a head coaching job at Western Illinois University. Not sure if it is the best job to go after because they don’t have a history of winning and they don’t have much of a budget but if Coach Spoonhour is going to resign from UNLV it is better to be proactive and find a job rather reactive and not have a job. Derek was in a panic because he had 3 mouths to feed with another one the way! Yes, pregnant with the fourth and final. Derek just wanted to make sure he had some kind of security. He thought he would have a good shot at the job because he lived and coached in St. Louis for so long and he had a lot of contacts in Chicago. These would be two major recruiting areas and Derek knew them well.
On April 21st, 2003 Derek gets the call that he will be an NCAA Division I head coach. There are only 323 Division I head coaches and he is one of them. He gets to run his own program. He gets to call his own time outs. He can make the practice and meetings times around his schedule. He gets a guarantee five year contract. Wow, to know I will be somewhere for five years was amazing to me especially after the five years with four moves that we just had.