Today we hired a new coach for the basketball team. Where you stand on Tony Benford depends on what you think this team needs.
Do we need the guy that recruited Tony Mitchell, Chris Jones, and Jordan Williams?
Then we needed Shawn Forrest.
Do we need a successful, name guy that knows Tony Mitchell and has been to his AAU games and stuff?
Do we need the best (according to many) assistant coach in the country? Well then we needed Tony Benford.
He was a finalist at SMU until Larry Brown wowed them with pictures of the stuff he did back when he was a good and capable coach. Smoo’s loss is our gain. The guy is a good coach. He isn’t a big splash but we can’t afford a big splash. Despite all our success, we haven’t had much financial success (because we didn’t go deep into the tournament). We can afford competitive pay for good up-and-comers but not for established name guys. Fran Fraschilla, according to a source, was in line to be The Guy until money became an issue.
Again, that is according to a source.
I can believe it. Fran was the front-runner, even getting write-ups by ESPNDallas.
Here is the timeline as I understand it:
Friday: RV wraps up his search, having decided on Fran Fraschilla.
Saturday: Tony Benford steps in and wows everyone with an amazing interview. RV is second guessing himself but is still pretty sure he has his guy.
Sunday-Monday: Details begin to be worked out with Fraschill until talks break down. RV decides he can go with Tony Benford, have a good coach, and save lots of cash.
Tuesday: We have our guy.
Where do I land on this? I am undecided. I think we had three solid candidates. Shawn Forrest probably deserved a shot at the job. He likely was undermined by the terrible season Shanice Stephens, and Todd Dodge had. Worst case scenario: this is like the time Jerry Jones passed on Randy Moss because he was scared of getting burned.
I don’t know much about Fran’s coaching resume besides the bullet points. He was a decent coach and is an analyst with ESPN. He lives in Dallas, and had seen all our guys play multiple times, even attending a game last year. He tweeted frequently about the job and is bullish on our chances for an NCAA appearance. He was the next best thing to having Shawn Forrest. Worst Case scenario: We missed out on a guy with head coaching experience and ESPN contacts. Now we’ll be under-hyped.
Tony Benford is apparently a very popular assistant on the rise. He gives a great interview and nearly got the SMU job as I mentioned. Everyone likes him but he is unproven. He recruits the DFW area well but you could say the same for Forrest. Worst Case Scenario: Tony declares, CJ and JW transfer. Second WCS: The guys stay but are unhappy and we lose lose lose.
The oddest thing here is that we hired an assistant from another school instead of a guy that sat on our bench for years, and who was endorsed by Johnny Jones himself (to be fair, so was Fran). If Benford can win over the roster, and recruit more awesome talent? Well then we hired the right guy.
The good news is that he just needs to maintain the status quo and recruit talent to our already talented squad. This is hard but not as hard as recruiting to a barren wasteland.
Maybe because it is spring and I am sitting on my patio with no shirt on, drinking a beer and enjoying the beautiful weather that I am so optimistic. I am happy with this hire.
Mostly because we still have Tony Mitchell.
Go Mean Green.