Blog Entry

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

Posted on: March 27, 2009 4:03 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2009 5:46 pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- With Billy Donovan out of the picture , Kentucky must now turn elsewhere.

Tom Izzo?

That would be excellent.

John Calipari?

That would be tremendous.

But I'm less sure about Travis Ford, and I like Travis Ford. He was great at Oklahoma State this season; that school is lucky to have him. But the reality is that Ford has coached nine Division I seasons at three different schools and been to just two NCAA tournaments, which doesn't suggest he's guaranteed to succeed anywhere, much less somewhere like Kentucky. He might . Or he could miss the NCAA tournament three straight years like he did at UMass. It's hard to tell, and that's my point.

Mitch Barnhart should be less interested in gambling on a UK graduate -- which some are reporting is possible -- than securing a guaranteed home run like Izzo or Calipari or Jay Wright or any number of guys. Some day, Ford might be in that class. But he's not there now, and that should make Barnhart hesitant, because if he completes another questionable hire that goes bad then the next UK press conference might not be to announce a new coach in two years, but a new athletic director with a better track record of success.


Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: March 27, 2009 8:29 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

Why bring up Ford?  No one is talking about him at UK.  He won't even be interviewed.  OSU made his contract pretty punitive if he jumps ship, anyway, so I can't see that happening under any circumstances.


Since: Aug 14, 2008
Posted on: March 27, 2009 8:29 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford


You think Obama will give Kentucky a stimulus package to get a real coach this time?

Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: March 27, 2009 8:22 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

I  have to wonder why anyone would think that Izzo or Calipari would go to UK.  Being from Memphis and a tiger fan I have witnessed first hand the progress he has made in this city.  Not just on the basketball court.  He has a whole city excited.  He has been in numerous interviews and asked about leaving.  The last one I read, which was done a couple of weeks ago asked the question about changing jobs. 

His reply: he has one of the best recruiting classes in college basketball coming in next year & there is tremendous work involved in starting over and rebuilding from scratch.  He has said that he is very happy where he is now and reminded the man interviewing him that he has been around the block and is not 30 anymore.

He is under no pressure whatsoever to win every game or be in the final four every year.  The city, fans, athletic dept and school administration love him.  The school is making more money than ever from the basketball program. 

Not to mention, he removed his name two years ago from being considered for the UK job.  So why would he or any other big name coach want to go after the firing of Billy G?

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: March 27, 2009 8:18 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

As a die hard UK fan, I hate to admit that Kentucky isn't the "crown jewel" it's made out to be, but lately it's impossible to deny it.  To be fair to Parrish, I think he's just throwing names out there that UK would love to get.  Besides the money that UK might try to float out there, the only interest to an established guy would be the challenge of coming in and rescuing a program that's been taking a nose dive for the past four or five years.

I think a lot of folks misunderstand the pressure that comes with the UK job. Yes, there are a lot of fans with unreasonable expectations, but that's not that different from UNC and Duke and even, a few years back, IU fans. The real pressure and expectation comes from those extracurricular activities that Barnhart was talking about to day.  It really means kissing the babies and the behinds of the boosters, the local media and every civic organization in the state.  Because the fans are so rabid here and because the state doesn't have a professional sports team or a serious contender in college football, the UK basketball coach is the center of everyone's attention. He's better known and more sought after for appearances than the governor of the state. In the end, this is small state and Lexington is a relatively small town. Sometimes, the UK program falls victim to the worst kind of close minded, insular smalltown snobbery and sense of entitlement, namely from boosters and local sports reporters. I'm sure we'll find a coach and it might very well be a top tier coach who surprises people when he takes the job. But I'm not sure why they would want to put up with a lot of the b.s. that comes with the job.

The real problem with UK basketball right now is the AD and the adminstration.  The athletic department has proven itself completely incapable of handling the basketball program. Tubby Smith is a really good coach but his time at UK began to sour not long after Barnhart took the position as Athletic Director. And either the hiring or firing of Billy G was a disaster, which tells you how competent our athletic department is at the moment.





Since: Mar 14, 2008
Posted on: March 27, 2009 8:03 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

 That wouldn't work. . . the chairs in Rupp are bolted to the floor Tongue out

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: March 27, 2009 7:27 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

Also, Kentucky isn't the "crown jewel" it's made out to be.

Like managing the Yankees, there are certainly perks to being the UK. But the costs can outweigh them.

Between the unrealistic expectations (Tubby Smith, a really good coach, got run off after winning only 1 title. Horrors!) and the incompetent idiots running the athletic department, why would an established guy (Izzo, Pitino, Wright) go from "King of their own hill" (MSU, L-Ville, Nova respectively) to rebuild a damaged Kentucky program?

Someone like Bob Knight - with Ford as his "heir apparent" - might work. But "The General" comes with his own issues, doesn't he?

Since: Nov 1, 2008
Posted on: March 27, 2009 7:21 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

 I have to agree about Calipari.  I've mentioned this in some other threads.  Calipari has the one number recruiting class committed to coming to Memphis next season.  They will be preseason top three next season.  He has a team that can win the title now.  He is highly paid.  Memphis Tiger basketball is king in the city of Memphis and he is the leader.  With Calipari at the helm the Memphis Tiger basketball team doesn't just rely on the support of alumni, they have the support of the whole city.  Calipari is king in the city of Memphis.  Finally, he has proven that you can compete for the National Championship at Memphis.  There is no way that Calipari goes to Kentucky where the fans have unrealistic expectations most years.  It would take him at least three years to get that program back to the caliber of a national title contender.  UK made a mistake letting Tubby Smith get away.

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: March 27, 2009 7:15 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

Jay Wright was on the radio here in Philly this afternoon and completely quashed any "headed to Kentucky" rumors. He said hasn't been approached, and also that he isn't interested.

Unless he's Nick Saban (he's not...Wright actually has class), he'll be staying at Villanova. And why not? 4 high-caliber recruits + Duke transfer Taylor King coming in will keep Nova a national power going forward.

Go Cats! Beat Pitt!

Since: Mar 11, 2009
Posted on: March 27, 2009 6:59 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

 Wright isn't going anywhere. He recruits the types of kids you don't see at Kentucky. Meaning tough inner city kids, usually from the northeast. It will be tough to get Calipari away fromt that recruiting class he has coming in next year. Numbers 2 and 3 according to already commited, and number 1 (John Wall) has Memphis as his leader. If Cal can get those 3 to follow him to UK, plus BIG money, plus some looser academic standards (like he asked for when NC State was courting him), then I can see him going. But all 3 of those are unlikely to happen and personally I think Cal likes running C-USA and getting his 30 wins a year, while still playing marquee games out of conference.

So where does that leave UK? Donovan is out. Calipari will be tough as I explained above. Wright isn't leaving Philly. I highly doubt Izzo is leaving the program he built up at MSU. The name I haven't heard much is Jeff Capel. Played under Coach K. Won at VCU, winning at Oklahoma, he can recruit (Maynor, Griffin, Warren, etc.), and he's young and at a football school. If UK can't get Calipari and his recruiting class, I think they should turn to Capel. If that happens and he's successful at UK the ONLY school he would leave for is Duke. So you're getting a good young coach for the long haul.

Since: Aug 14, 2008
Posted on: March 27, 2009 6:16 pm

There's a big gap between Donovan and Ford

Donovan has 2 National titles! That speaks volumes, sound pretty proven to me. 

Why would Izzo, Calipari want that position. Anderson and Wright would be better fits. Izzo and Calipari have it made at their respective schools, I really don't see no reason for either one of them to want to start over.

From what has been said Kentucky as no interested in Calipari, plus he is the second highest paid coach in college basketball.

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