Kentucky released a statement the same day Tubby Smith left for Minnesota last week. It detailed the task at hand.
|Tubby Smith was taken out of an unhappy situation in Lexington. (Getty Images)|
Is a "search committee" the same as a "search firm"?
I don't know. So I'm not calling anybody a liar.
But CBS SportsLine.com has learned from two industry sources that Kentucky is indeed using a search firm, and the sources added the firm has already made a phone call to the agent of Gonzaga coach Mark Few.
Obviously, no offer was presented and no formal conversation took place because at this point everybody not named Billy Donovan is a backup plan. But what makes the revelation interesting is that the firm making calls on behalf of UK is Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search.
Yes, that Parker Executive Search.
The same Parker Executive Search that helped Minnesota lure Smith from Kentucky by identifying him as a potential candidate, according to reports, in a Jan. 3 meeting.
So what that means is Kentucky is using the same search firm that poached its coach less than a week ago, which is baffling on many levels unless -- and this is where I start speculating -- this is Kentucky's way of repaying Parker Executive Search for removing Smith from a bad situation while saving the school millions of dollars.
Confused? Let me explain.
First, it's ridiculous that Kentucky needs a search firm to help it identify candidates. I identified candidates within 45 seconds of learning Smith was leaving, and I'd bet Gilbert Arenas $10 the name of the person Kentucky hires is on that list. This is not Northern Arizona trying to find an up-and-comer. This is Kentucky. If Donovan doesn't take the job somebody from another marquee program will.
Second, most athletic directors would be upset if a search firm helped poach its coach by initiating contact with the coach or his agent during the season. But don't take my word for it. Just read the words of Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh, who was none too happy upon learning Colorado used a third party -- i.e., a search firm -- to contact his coach, Jeff Bzdelik.
"I'm disappointed they have contacted my coach while we're still playing," Mueh told the Denver Post over the weekend. Again, this is not the type of stuff athletic directors appreciate.