TFST Extra: Where the Louisville men's basketball coaching search stands
Inside: We check in on a few things TFST has noted throughout the process and add and subtract some names from the list.
Thanks for reading The Floyd Street Tribune, and a hearty welcome to all our new subscribers. In last week’s subscriber newsletter on Thursday and TFST Extra on Monday, we reset the table on the coaching search, looked at candidates still possibly in the mix and broke down the work ahead for the new hire and for interim AD Josh Heird.
If you’ve been a subscriber to The Floyd Street Tribune, you’ve known the search would run into March and probably past Selection Sunday for weeks. Thinking the search would be over by now is a product of the ridiculous rumors that this was “done deal” weeks ago. That crap set so many fans up for this panic.
I get that these are nervy times. Louisville expects to be in the NCAA Tournament every year, and the drama and poor product have worn people down. I totally understand that, and I totally understand that people want their new coach to get recruiting and building toward the future. I would just remind you that the transfer portal won’t really speed up until the tournament is well underway, and even then, decisions won’t be made so fast that Louisville (or other teams hiring coaches) will miss out on great options.
If you are Louisville or Maryland, schools with the rare chance to conduct a longer search, you do your legwork — but you still have to wait out those candidates whose teams play in the NCAA Tournament. I don’t know many coaches who would have a formal interview — a lengthy, hours-long process where they lay out their plan and vision for the job and the AD shares theirs — before or during the NCAA Tournament when their team is still alive. In fact, if that coach was your coach, you’d be furious. And if it got out in any way, it would be a massive headache for all involved.
From the beginning, I’ve been clear in this newsletter: Interim AD Josh Heird spent the past six weeks or so sounding out agents and basketball industry people he trusts, preparing to set up three or four formal interviews with the final candidates. He has long-standing relationships with a number of agents who represent good coaches, and with the help of the search firm, they have vetted a number of possible candidates and spoken to a lot of people. One industry source told me there were “more coaches than you might think” expressing excitement about being “The Man” in Louisville.
All that said, challenges to Louisville’s coaching search exist: U of L cannot afford big buyouts or even “medium” buyouts that number in the seven digits. That impacts just about every candidate, save for a few. And, to be completely honest, in conversations with agents and basketball people around the country, I can say there is a perception that Louisville is a really difficult place to coach right now, between the lack of permanent leadership at the school, an extremely anxious fan base on social media and what I would describe as a bizarre media landscape.
Let’s get to the good stuff …