SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Stanford's Search for a Men's Basketball Coach

Mike Montgomery did a great job at Stanford, and I'll leave it to others as to what could have motivated him at age 57 to go to the NBA and take on the challenge of the Golden State Warriors (which last won a title in 1975, I believe, when they upset the then-Washington Bullets in 4 straight games behind a pair of forwards named Cazzie Russell and Rick Barry, and which have done not a whole lot ever since). Andy Katz wrote a good piece on espn.com about why Montgomery has left Stanford, and I would encourage you to read it. Naturally, there aren't many places the Warriors could go other than up, and SportsProf wishes the mentor of a school highly thought of for its academics and athletics (SportsProf likes this sort of thing) well.

Speculation will run rampant as to who Coach Montgomery's successor will be, and naturally, attention will first go to former Stanford assistant Trent Johnson, now the head coach at Nevada. You'll recall Coach Johnson led Nevada to the Sweet 16 this past March -- a great feat. Also drawing speculation will be former Stanford assistant Blaine Taylor, now the head coach at Old Dominion, and former Stanford player and current Stanford assistant Eric Reveno.

If Stanford were to go outside this network, who should they look at (that's an unStanford-like sentence if there ever was one)? Ironically, someone who would have been a prime candidate, Joe Scott, the former Air Force mentor who opted to return to his alma mater, Princeton, is out of the running precisely because he already took his next job. Then again, would Stanford really want to tip its hat to an academic rival by hiring one of the two premier keepers of the Princeton Offense (the other being John Thompson III, now at Georgetown)? At any rate, other possibilities should include some folks not, I repeat, not from the West, such as St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli, a fine, fine coach if there ever was one, and Penn's Fran Dunphy, who, reports are, was the runner up for the Georgetown job. Martelli knows how to blend all sorts of talent together, and Dunphy would do wonders with the ability to give scholarships (the Ivies don't give them). Perhaps there's a parallel story to Montgomery, at 57, looking for his last hurrah -- Dunphy, a few years longer, getting to show how good he is at a scholarship school.

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