Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coaching Alternatives

I know it has been a while since I last graced you all with my presence. Been traveling a whole lot recently, in the last 2 weeks alone I've put over 1000 miles on the truck and have gotten a few thousand frequent flier miles. Of course when I get back to the office I've got loads of past work to deal with, but that stack will have to wait a while because it's time for me to get back to those who my articles while looking for something better (usually pictures of bikini clad models or athletes) but today I am writing about the, still unconfirmed, reports of Lute Olson's departure from the University of Arizona. The Hall of Famer has reportedly, though only known through sources, stepped down immediately as the Head Coach, 20 wins shy of 800.

I could spend hours going through the amazing-ness that was the Silver Fox's Hall of Fame Career, and probably will later. From the highs (Miles Simon and th 1997 Champions) to the lows (firing Kevin O'Neill and Miles Simon and the 07-08 debacle) but we've got more pressing matters at hand. Who will replace Coach O?

According to the many reports surfacing, by the second, and multiple personal sources (Randle is one, a PR official is another) within Arizona's AD office (apparently the phones are going off the hook) all accounts show that Lute's replacement could very vell be Assistant Coach Mike Dunlap. Dunlap has been on many staffs of recent including the 36ers of Australia's National Basketball League as well as the Head Coach of the Metro State Roadrunners of Division II, where he won 2 National Championships. Most recently, however, Dunlap could be seen with the USA under 18 team and on George Karl's staff in Denver. But I think we all know he is most likely a stop-gap solution in the wake of this breaking news and our Kitty Kats are going to need some serious firepower to fill in the gigantic clown shoes of Lute Olson. I firmly believe in keeping it in the family, so here are a handful of viable options with UA ties to take over for Robert Luther.

Miles Simon:
UA player 1994-1998, 1997 NCAA MOP, 2005-2008 UA Assistant Coach
Coach Simon was released by the U of A Athletics Department following last season. This was a controversial effort many thought was specifically to bring in new assistant coaches this past off-season. Some thing a major reasons was to hire Russ Pennell who's son Matt happens to be a top Arizona recruit. With all of the uncertainty surrounding the Arizona basketball program recently, planting a familar Wildcat face is the driver's seat is definately an option for the Arizona ADs. Hell you can still find Miles Simon jersey's for sale some places.

Bob Dole:

UA Student 1948-1951, US Senator 1969-1996, Viagra pitchman 1999

Lute Olson had all the trappings of a politician over the last few years while coach at Arizona so why not just skip all of that and go straight to an actual politician to run the team. Screw the new $14 million training facility, Bob Dole will take his teams to work out at Bear Down gym, using the same rusted weights and torn benches that other famous Arizona Athletes have used throughout the years. Back in the 50s before the was a McKale center. Bob Dole will bring back the tenacity of yesteryear. He will also help some of the youngsters with the use of their left hand, since he doesn't have the use of his right hand. He will also work on these youngsters ability to post up, and draw the foul:

Denise Austin

UA gymnast 1975-1977, Member of President's Council on Fitness and Sports 2002-Present

I think we all know Denise Austin, whether its from flipping through the channels on mornings when you're ditching class or playing hooky at work, you've no doubt seen her happily jumping and stretching to motivate the static housewives of America. She could help the UA team with their fitness levels and flexibility. She might not be able to work with Chase on his shooting, but wouldn't it be nice if she could help Jordan Hill to be a little more flexible and light on his feet to avoid so many fouls in the lane? They might not win a National Championship with her leading the way but they won't be as tired and breathing heavy late in the games. Plus wouldn't it be fun to replace Lute with a woman who looks exactly like his ex and future wives?

Jerry Bruckheimer

UA Student 1963-1968, Box Office Legend

True, he knows next to nothing about coaching or physical fitness in any way. I'm not doubting that but name someone else with the midas touch. Everything he touches turns to gold. Why not let the guy try to direct players on and off the court. You're telling me the guy who took a hardly known Martin Lawrence and a slightly more known Will Smith and put them in a blockbuster buddy cop movie couldn't get Jeff Withey to put on a few more pounds? I highly doubt it. Don't forget this is the guys who took a 4'9" Tom Cruise and made him a fighter pilot, then took an almost identical plot and made him a racecar driver, he took goofy Nicolas Cage and made him into a tough guy (The Rock, Gone in Sixty Seconds, the National Treasure series), run down his list he made Orlando Bloom look like a bad ass in the Pirates series, and Josh Hartnett look like a bonafide military man (Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down), and I could keep going on. But I think the main reasons Bruckheimer would fit. Glory Road and Remember the Titans.
Geraldo Rivera

UA Student and Lacrosse Goalie 1963-1966

Geraldo, probably best known for his mustache was also once known for roaming the Mall in Tucson and attending football games at Arizona Stadium. The man has brass balls and has reported from war zones plenty of times. He would bring the toughness, and facial hair, that Arizona has been lacking. Besides he doesn't need a greaseboard and markers just a patch of dirt and his fingers and he will diagram up the winning play.

Robert Sarver

UA Student 1978-1982, Founder Bank of Arizona, Majority owner Phoenix Suns

Now I'm not sure if this could be considered a conflict of interest but why not just let Sarver coach the team, sure he might not have been the coach of the Suns during their recent stretch of success but he has probably picked up a lot. Plus, he could always have those guys make the trip down to Tucson to practice against the Cats. Afterall, you don't get to be the best until you play against the best. That level of competition would be nice and I'm sure that Steve Nash could teach the guys down here a thing or two. He could bring Steve Kerr (UA Alum) onto his staff, plus I'm pretty sure he still gets discounts at the Four Points on Speedway across from Trident, after all his dad built it. The players could just stay there all the time, that's way better than the dorms, that's a pretty good recruitment tool. Plus, he could always use some connections he has to better a players chances at making the next step.

Craig T. Nelson

UA Student 1962-1966, Minnesota State Screamin Eagles Coach

I would have to go back to the records but Hayden Fox was the Head Coach of Minnesota State for nearly a decade, maybe longer, and even led his team to a win in the Pioneer Bowl over West Texas and the Pineapple Bowl over Southern Texas Wranglers. He went on to be the first Head Coach of the expansion Orlando Breakers. He has plenty of experience being a Head Coach (which none of the others posses), he is a U of A Alum, and he already has Luther and Dauber as his assistants. He also had some experience motivating and teaching a pair of figure skaters who were at one time dreaded rivals. He also has a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and had the balls to kick Tom Cruise off of his team when he was coaching. He doesn't put up with midgets back talking to him.

All in all it will be sad to see Lute go, and despite his attempts at pulling a Favre and taking down his legacy in a short span after a Hall of Fame career. I, for one, will miss Lute roaming the sidelines. I urge the Arizona Athletics Department to follow my lead and keep it in the family.