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Friday, August 06, 2004

Okay, Still a Bit More on the LaSalle Head Coaching Job

Read a piece today in a suburban Philadelphia newspaper about what's going on with this search, and, admittedly, the columnist did not offer a whole lot new.

He did offer that Fran Dunphy turned the LaSalle job down a few years ago when Billy Hahn got it because he and his alma mater were more than $100,000 (per year) apart on salary. That's not surprising, because the word on the street always has been that the LaSalle job is one of the lowest-paying jobs in Division I.

He also offered that Dunphy may be having qualms about going to work for LaSalle AD Tom Brennan, about whom little love has been professed in the Philadelphia papers. That's an interesting observation, because, in its assessment of whether LaSalle was targeting Dunphy, noted that Dunphy and Penn AD Steve Bilsky don't lock arms and sing "Kumbaya" either.

Now, if you take what you read out of context, you could conclude (wrongly, I might add) that Dunphy is an impossible prima donna who can't work under any supervision (he's not, he's a good guy). Or, you could conclude that both Penn and LaSalle have impossible athletic directors. That's probably a wrong conclusion too.

Athletic Directors don't always get a lot of love. For whatever reason, they are more likely to receive criticism than praise, and this notion isn't unique to Philadelphia's Big 5. That's why A.D.'s have to have a lot of self-confidence, because they aren't going to get the hugs and reassurance from those whom they're managing. Moreover, good coaches are confident themselves, and they don't necessarily appreciate being managed by anyone. So the tension there is natural, and it will always exist so long as the best coach at the school doesn't double as the A.D. And that doesn't always work, the same way making the head coach in the NFL the G.M. doesn't work (see, for example, Paul Holmgren in Seattle, among others). Finally, good A.D.'s can make a world of difference for the better. They can raise money, find better coaches, create better facilities and help sell athletics to the rest of a university's administration.

So, what the local suburban Phila. newspaper suggests is that the barrier to getting Fran Dunphy to LaSalle is the A.D. That said, what is the LaSalle Administration doing?

Are they a) looking for someone other than Dunphy or Maine's John Giannini, or b) are they trying to figure out a way to sack Tom Brennan and make their famous alumnus, Coach Dunphy, both coach and A.D.?

Stay tuned.


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