Thursday, April 05, 2007

SO, what do I think about the new coach?

I know you wanted to know. But, like I say, when you wanted uninformed opinion, you can always turn here.

On balance, I like it. I have another post, which I already wrote but which was overtaken by events, in which I defined the different types of coaches we might get, and what TYPE of coach might be a good idea.

Generally, I thought we would get an up and coming guy--the Urban Meyer model, I called. (I will post it eventually, because I wrote the dang thing).

Instead, we went with a guy who is trying to rebuild his career...who has been a head coach, and normally at a bad school.

I like this hire for a number of reasons:

Orr is a successful and proven head coach. Not something you get with the latest hot assistant. He took Seton Hall to post-season play three times. He was Big East Coach of the Year. While he only coached there for five years, he has a winning record. Plus, while Seton Hall has had winning programs, it isn't Duke.

Orr appears, based on what we know, to play a defensive style. I think this will ease the transition for our players. I worried that we would bring in a guy whose style would be a problem with our existing players and their skills.

Orr was a player and a good one. He played in the NBA. I hope he can relate to the players and motivate them (and recruit them).

He also seems to be a quality person who will represent our university well--something we absolutely expect. Here is what Charlie Coles (another guy I respect the hell out of) said in today's Blade--emphasis added

Miami coach Charlie Coles has known Orr since Orr was growing up in Cincinnati. Orr and Coles spoke a few weeks ago about BGSU's opening, and Coles said he told Orr the "community was a very good place" and "the gym worked for the home team every time."
"He's a very, very outstanding man," Coles said. "He's a Christian, he's got great values and a pretty even temperament. He's the Tony Dungy of college basketball."

Here's what Jim Christian said in the same article:

"He's a man with unbelievable integrity and faith," Christian said. "Because of his experience as a player and coaching at the level he has, he can relate to the players."

Orr is from Ohio and his wife is from Ypsilanti. He made a comment in BG's release about being able to share his life with loved ones (or words to that effect), and I assume this is what he meant. I think he wants to be here.

Orr was a "big", which could help with Otis Polk's development (although I do not subscribe to the theory that you have to have been a big to develop one).

He seems to be generating positive momentum right off the bat for the program.

I also list this as a qualified positive: people in Falcon Nation seem to think he might be ready to settle down and coach here for a while. Since he is older, the view is that he would be less attractive to a major program if he succeeds here.

I hope this is true. A couple qualifications, though. First, I think it is a little bit of wishful thinking. How old is John Beilein? Second, I appreciate the desire to settle down. At the same time, how much of a college coach's success is driven by ambition--how much of making those long drives, kissing the butt of some AAU tyrant, how much of those things are because a guy wants to get ahead? Or, how much are a passion/mental illness I can't access. It's an open question, if only to me: can a non-ambitious coach succeed in the MAC? (Charlie Coles is, for example).

Now, the biggest negative is that he was fired at Seton Hall. You don't want a failure coming into your program, because coaching in the MAC is really hard--in some ways, getting a big to the Big Dance from the MAC is as hard or harder than at Seton Hall. Here's what Coles says:

"He should have never been let go," Coles said. "He made the tournament and they let him go. That was one of the biggest robberies of all time."

Maureen seems to indicate some kind of clash with the new AD. I do get it: good people are fired in every walk of life, every day.

For now, I'm not real worried about this. Just seems like the guy can coach. Like everyone else in life, he now has to prove he is up to this challenge--not the one at Seton Hall.

After his press conference, it won't be about the past, it will be about today.

It is great to see energy in the program again, and I cannot wait to have some excitement back in Anderson Arena again. You will find me in my usual seat.

Postscript Notes:

Here's what Coles told Orr about the job:

Orr and Coles spoke a few weeks ago about BGSU's opening, and Coles said he told Orr the "community was a very good place" and "the gym worked for the home team every time."

Love the AA comment. Wish it were slightly more true, though Miami does not win there, despite having better teams.

On assistants:

Orr will likely hire close friend George Jackson as an assistant. Jackson coached under Orr at Seton Hall and was a long-time coach at Cincinnati's Withrow High School, Orr's alma mater.

LaMonta Stone, who had been running the program's day-to-day operations since Dakich resigned, was expected to discuss with Orr last night about whether Stone would be a part of his staff.

Love to see LaMonta stay if it can work out.

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