Friday, June 01, 2007

Be the Boy Scout

In a little more than 48 hours, Billy Donovan has gone from a man perfectly content to be in Gainesville to a man perfectly content to be in Orlando, or so a press conference at 11am EDT today will tell us. Such is the speed at which the coaching carousel can move. Life, indeed, comes at you fast.

In this Age of Quickness, preparedness becomes paramount. And if the reports coming out of Gainesville are accurate, Florida A.D. Jeremy Foley isn't letting the grass grow under his feet. Reportedly, he's already asked permission to speak to Virginia Commonwealth coach Anthony Grant, a former Donovan assistant, about the job opening, an opening at which Grant is expected to jump with both feet.

This is why I (and others on the NDN boards) harp on the importance of an athletic director being prepared in areas which fall under his purview, such as succession planning. Here you have one of the most currently high-profile basketball programs with a job opening, and thanks to the quick thinking and decisiveness of its school's responsible party, there won't be an opportunity for the jackals to get their jollies. Contrast that with the last two job openings --football and baseball -- at Notre Dame. It's not pretty.

Sure, Grant could turn down the offer, or the reports might be off and Foley could decide to go in another direction. Nothing's done until the signature is on the dotted line.

Grant's also a risky choice. VCU had a great year, to be sure, and 10 years under Donovan as an assistant for the Gators means he's familiar with how things work there. But he's only been the lead dog for one season, and Virginia Commonwealth ain't in the SEC. Matt Doherty showed what can happen when a long-time assistant tries to jump too far too fast, and given how Florida has improved from the time Donovan took the job until today, the jump Grant would attempt is much larger than the one his predecessor made from Marshall way back when. Florida wouldn't have been criticized for looking for a high-profile coach to continue the momentum of the program, and given how much talent is moving on this off-season, Grant will have to get up to speed very quickly.

But Foley has shown an M.O. of confidence and preparedness that, frankly, I envy. Perhaps if Chicago gets the 2016 Olympic bid in 2009 and Kevin White's role with their committee drastically expands in scope, Fr. Jenkins should consider a call down to Gainesville.

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