Get ready for trial balloons
When Alabama hired Nick Saban, Athletic Director Mal Moore knew who he wanted to be Alabama’s football coach. And even then, it almost ended in disaster as Moore, while under pressure, averted his gaze from the Miami Dolphins head coach and flirted with Rich Rodriguez. Fortunately for Mal Moore and Alabama fans, that flirtation ended in disaster thanks to Paul Finebaum’s ridicule of Rita Rod’s hair.
This basketball coaching search will be different.
Trial balloons are already floating in the air.
Fans should expect several more trial balloons to float during the coming days, and it is a sign the administration is unsure how to proceed and is listening to various voices within the Alabama family.
It is clear, Anthony Grant was fired and there was no real plan in place—other than to make a change in leadership. One can infer that Auburn’s strong run in the SEC tournament and the positive energy in Auburn’s program was a big reason Alabama boosters pushed for Grant’s termination. Auburn appeared to be moving forward with Bruce Pearl. Alabama appeared mired in mediocrity with Grant.
Without the push from significant boosters, Grant would have stayed in Tuscaloosa with the blessings of the current athletic department leadership. It means that people were mostly content with Grant and Grant’s style of keeping the basketball program out of the spotlight.
It is unclear if Alabama and Bill Battle know what they want in a new men’s basketball coach. This isn’t like the time Mal Moore decided he wanted Nick Saban and then moved in that direction. There is still a significant amount of uncertainty in the athletic department and university administration.
However, we can infer a few things from some of the names floating now. All the names mentioned have head coaching experience. Also, it appears there is some question about whether a coach at a smaller program can repeat that success in the SEC. Perhaps this is a reaction to Grant’s failure in the SEC. So, hearing a few coaching retread names floated during this phase of the coaching search is understandable.
Yet, Alabama fans want more in the next basketball coach. So, keep an eye out for the next round of trial balloons to see where the wind is blowing on this coaching search.