Sunday, July 25, 2010

Coaching Carousal Part 2010-04: Last Call? Not.

Chicago State Finds a Head Coach...and UIC Loses One
The irony is that one guy, former University of Illinois-Chicago Associate Head Coach Tracy Dildy, triggered the chain reaction. The last D1 coaching vacancy (as of July 11) was filled July 12 when Chicago State introduced Tracy Dildy as the Flames' 12th head coach in their 35 year history as a D1 program. Though the search, which lasted 84 days and stretched across three monthes, was not the longest of the 2010 season, Chicago sports fans and those closer to the programs involved hinted that the process was taking longer than appeared necessary. "Something was up" became the mantra among public school insiders and bloggers. DePaul's interim head coach Tracy Webster, cut lose after Oliver Purnell was hired to head the Blue Demon program, had been mentioned early and often as a strong candidate for the Chicago State job. By the early June the preliminary interviews, a round that included Webster and Dildy among others, concluded with no announcement; the process lost momentum as a Cone of Silence drifted, almost unnoticed, over prospective employer (Chicago State) and prospective employees (the candidates).

Tracy Dildy, a career assistant coach and native Chicagoan, played ball for UIC in the late 1980s. When his eligibility ran out he put down the basketball and picked up the clipboard, serving as the Student Manager in his last year of college. Earning his degree in Education from UIC in 1991, he was promoted to an Assistant Coach by UIC Head Coach Bob Hallberg. Moving on to Ball State in 1994, then back to Chicago in 1997, where he helped assemble a series of legendary recruiting classes for DePaul, Dildy established his reputation as a recruiter. After five years at DePaul he left to toil in the vineyards of the SEC, first at Auburn then at Ole Miss. A mid-decade stop in UAB, where he helped head coach Mike Davis assemble another notable class, put him on the UIC's coach Jimmy Collins' radar. Collins brought him back to Chicago (and his alma mater) with the intent, as Dildy himself told ESPN-Chicago blogger Scott Powers, " be the next coach (at UIC)...that was to me by a couple people that I would be that guy...". Sometime between July, 2007 and July, 2010 the Plan changed; when Chicago State offered, Dildy eventually accepted. And eight days after the Chicago State press conference, Jimmy Collins decided to retire after all. John Templon over at Chicago College has the background on four candidates with two additional names, while ESPN Chicago's Steve Powers mentions three-four names as well. Fired Oregon Coach Ernie Kent is on both blogger's list.

By the Numbers...
Indiana State's Kevin McKenna created the 52nd vacancy in the 2010 (extended) season when he resigned on June 14 to join Dana Altman's staff in Oregon. Sycamore AD Ron Prettyman wasted no time as he promoted assistant coach Greg Lansing to the first chair the next day. Lansing, an assistant coach who played his college ball at the University of South Dakota, did two stints on the Indiana State staff (a seven year turn as an assistant at Iowa intervening) before rising to the first chair. Given his history with the Terre Haute, Indiana school and his experience as an assistant coach, Lansing was a safe choice consistent with the timing and circumstances of McKenna's resignation. Jimmy Collins' July 23rd announcement might create the 53rdvacancy...if no vacancy is created in the interim. If the past three off seasons are an accurate guide, expect one beyond UIC, most likely arising from exigent circumstances. In the past three years two coaching changes came from deaths, either a player or a coach, one from possible player abuse and another from an arrest (criminal complaint) in the period from late July to the end of September. There were two other vacancies created when coaches left very late (July or later) in the cycle to take other positions.


Mike said...

Greg Lansing did not play college basketball at Indiana State but, as you said, he did precede Coach McKenna, having served as an assistant to Sherman Dillard and Royce Waltman before becoming associate head coach

greyCat said...

My bad Mike, thanks for the heads-up. I will make the correction.