Alabama Basketball Coaching Search Update

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.

Alabama basketball needs new leadership.
Alabama basketball needs new leadership.
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.

9 Comments

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  1. 1
    finebammer

    i can’t help but believe Wimp knew exactly what he was doing when he announced Friday on a Birmingham radio show that Battle intended on keeping Grant. (and judging by how things went down, i do believe he had no intention of firing Grant)

    whether he intended it or no, it cannot be denied he set off a firestorm behind the scenes. by Friday evening, the infamous Cecil-tweet was public:

    “Sounds like substantial 11th-hour pressure being brought to bear on Bill Battle re: UA basketball program.”

    so the decision to fire Grant was a last minute thing, i think we can all agree.

    which would lead one also to believe they have no idea who they want to replace him with.

    competent people (emphasis on ‘competent’) in these positions, when their minds are made up about terminating someone, have a list of coaches they want to contact.

    if Battle has a list, he threw it together while eating his flap jacks this morning.

    in the coming days, we will inevitably hear the comparison to choosing a pope, watching for the three puffs of smoke from the papal chimney for a decision.

    but if you go by past coaching searches at the Capstone, it’s probably more like waiting to hear three farts from the outhouse.

    • 2
      Capstone Report

      Good comments.

      I hope I didn’t come off too negative in my post. There is still time to get this hire right, and I believe Battle will make a good choice because there are so many good candidates out there for Alabama to consider. I just haven’t been too impressed with the end to Grant’s tenure and the start of this coaching search.

    • 3
      Rick Webb

      If Bill Battle was so in the dark about needing to replace Grant long before the season ended for Alabama then he needs to be fired and a search for new athletic director with a clue needs to be under way. He should have had a wish list
      completed long ago.

  2. 4
    Hunter Ford

    I like Avery Johnson as a possibility, of course.

    But if not him, why not somebody else with NBA experience?

    Seems to me, high level recruits with pro dreams dancing in their heads would be attracted to someone with NBA street cred.

  3. 6
    finebammer

    http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2015/03/alabama_inspired_to_beat_illin.html#incart_river

    “To win it back, to reignite the program’s pilot light, Battle has a plan. According to people close to the program, it’s an ambitious plan.

    It’s go big or go home.

    Find a coach who’s won and won big, a coach who’s proven himself over time, a coach whose name will resonate with casual fans as well as roundball junkies. Don’t let the naysayers tell you this coach is out of your league or your price range or that coach wants no part of a basketball program at a football school.”

    according to people close to the program.

    it gets better:

    “If it takes Saban money to boat that big fish, so be it. Spend it. It’s not an expense. It’s an investment.”

    that should rule out T. R. and Keith.

    should.

    well, at least “people close to the program” are talking shit.

    Can Battle back it up?

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