The One Job
On July 26, 1999, days after Dan Monson made a late jump from Gonzaga to Minnesota, which he beat three months earlier in the first round in the NCAA tournament, the Bulldogs announced Mark Few as their new head coach. The 37-year-old longtime assistant won 26 games and reached the Sweet 16 in his first season.
In the 21 years since inheriting the little-known, little-budget program and turning it into a college basketball powerhouse, Few has been inundated with interview requests and job offers and is the constant subject of “maybe this is the spot…” rumors. He has turned down every opportunity to leave the West Coast Conference for more money and a bigger stage. And he only seriously considered one: Oregon in March 2009.
Jeff Goodman released a story Friday on the Ducks’ pursuit of Few after firing Ernie Kent. And while the entire story is worth reading, this quote from then-Oregon athletics director (and Few’s longtime friend) Pat Kilkenny, was fantastic:
“It was a little contentious for the two hours,” Kilkenny recalled of his meeting with Few at a rest stop in Arlington, Ore. “I believed strongly Mark would be making a huge mistake not leaving a place that didn’t have the resources that Oregon could avail him. Mark said, ‘Oregon’s never gonna get it done, I’m at a better place.’ The conversation was polarizing.”
“Oregon’s never gonna get it done.” Mark Few from the top rope.
As of Saturday morning, 44 jobs have opened in college basketball, up from only 24 a year earlier as several programs opted for the status quo in the early days of the pandemic. The latest opening came on Friday when Porter Moser left Loyola Chicago for Oklahoma. Matt Norlander reported Loyola made a “huge offer” to retain Moser:
“Loyola Chicago has countered Oklahoma’s offer to Moser by putting a 10-year deal on the table for him to stay. I’m told the money is significant for the mid-major level as well.”
The report came after Adam Zagoria tweeted Moser was “on the fence” in weighing a six-year offer from Oklahoma, which Zagoria later reported to be in the neighborhood of $2.5 million annually. Moser leaves Loyola after 99 wins, including six NCAA tournament wins, over the final four of 10 seasons as head coach. The Ramblers are expected to promote assistant Drew Valentine.
Elsewhere, remember former Houston head coach Alvin Brooks? He’s getting another shot, this time leaving Kelvin Sampson’s bench for his alma mater, Lamar. Tennessee assistant Desmond Oliver is the “frontrunner” for East Tennessee State as the replacement for Jason Shay, whom players believe was forced out because he supported their protest against racial inequality. Also: Odds on Roy Williams’ replacement and candidates at Texas Tech.
Nate Oats is responsible for the on-court resurgence of Alabama basketball. Luke Ratliff is responsible for the off-the-court resurgence of Alabama basketball.
Ratliff, 23, died on Friday night due to complications from COVID-19. An Alabama student from Wadesboro, N.C., Ratliff was known and adored throughout college basketball as the Crimson Tide superfan. He attended 44 of their last 45 games, including all three tournament games in Indiana.
Odds & Ends
Kirk Herbstreit slammed “reckless” Dan Orlovsky over Justin Fields’ drama … NFL Mock Draft: Projecting picks by fantasy needs only … Arizona head coach Adia Barnes had the best reaction to beating UConn … You need to read Mark Schlabach’s story on a powerhouse high school football program in Georgia … Luka received the dumbest technical foul in NBA history… The best shot at Matt Nagy’s playcalling of all time … Four NFL teams are still over the salary cap.
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