Commentary

Coaches carousel is spinning

Originally Published: April 4, 2011
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

We have seen so many coaching changes in college basketball already. They have taken place at so many schools that are simply looking for success. Everyone is chasing the dream, saying, "Why can't we be the next Butler, VCU or George Mason?"

It is also interesting to look at the guys who are getting a second chance on the sidelines. Many times when a coach gets the boot, he has to wait for a long time to get another shot to rejoin the coaching fraternity. It is tough to get another opportunity.

Down at Lamar, athletic director Billy Tubbs, a longtime successful coach himself, went out and hired Pat Knight. That came shortly after Knight was let go at Texas Tech. The son of "The General," Robert Montgomery Knight, should have more success at Lamar, where it should be easier to recruit, because he isn't going up against Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Texas A&M and others like he was in Big 12 country.

[+] EnlargePat Knight
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesLamar gave Pat Knight a second chance on the sidelines.

Let's face reality, Texas Tech was a tough, tough situation. Now Knight can be a contender and a winner. He has a shot to win that league, and you know Knight will work hard. He knows the state of Texas and can recruit down there. I think Tubbs made a very good choice.

Take a look down at NC State. I don't want to hear that Maryland coach Gary Williams sabotaged the coaching search. I simply do not buy that from Debbie Yow. It is absurd and ludicrous. While Williams and Yow did not have a cordial relationship by any stretch, Williams performed admirably. I do not think he picked up the phone and complained to other coaches.

However, NC State has a lot going for it. There are a lot of positives in the ACC, playing on Tobacco Road. It is not an easy job going against North Carolina and Duke, but you can be successful there. A lot of guys were interested in the NC State job.

The Wolfpack found their guy in Mark Gottfried, who spent time working at ESPN, much like a guy named Steve Lavin. Remember that Lavin did a good job at St. John's in his first year back.

Gottfried led Alabama to five straight NCAA bids, including one year in the Elite Eight. That's a solid resume when you are going up against the likes of Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee, baby!

Now he gets another opportunity at a big-time school. He will work hard and recruit, recruit, recruit!

I look back at Mike Jarvis at Florida Atlantic. With a renewed energy, he got another opportunity and led the Owls to a regular-season league title.

It will be interesting to see if other guys get another chance. John Pelphrey is waiting to get another opportunity after being let go at Arkansas. He knows a lot about basketball and he deserves another chance. We will see what happens as the coaching carousel continues to spin wildly and other jobs remain open.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.