These coaches deserve another opportunity
by Dick Vitale
At this time of the year, college basketball is on the back burner. Coaches are obviously setting their rosters up for next season. There is news here and there.
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend while having breakfast at First Watch in Florida. We started talking about assistant coaches who deserved another chance to patrol a college sideline running the show.
Let me throw out five guys who at some point were head coaches, but things did not work out. They may not have been as successful as anticipated, but they have been outstanding lieutenants wherever they have been. I feel they deserve a second opportunity.
The current Associate Head Coach at Indiana under Tom Crean, Buckley was the head coach at Ball State from 2000-06. Over the past five years, Buckley has helped Indiana to a 120-53 record and helped the Hoosiers win outright Big Ten titles in 2013 and 2016. He has been a major factor in recruiting. If he wanted to run his own program, I am sure he would do a great job.
Duke's Associate Head Coach joined the Duke staff as an assistant coach on May 6, 2011 after spending the previous nine years as the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth (2002-06) and Oklahoma (2006-11). He established his credentials as a player with the Dukies and has worked his way up Coach K's staff. He can coach, and he communicates his concepts well to the players. That is a key in coaching. He understands how to win. His experience is outstanding, and he deserves another shot.
He joined Billy Donovan's staff with the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder nine years after serving as head coach at the University of Alabama and Virginia Commonwealth University. In nine seasons at Alabama and VCU, Grant compiled a record of 193-110 (.637). He is a calming influence who would be an asset in the college ranks.
Roy Williams' top assistant at North Carolina, he was head coach at Tulsa for two years and at Florida State for five years. As head coach at Florida State, he led the Seminoles to the second round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament. Robinson was head coach at Tulsa in 1995-96 and 1996-97. He led the Golden Hurricane to a 46-18 record and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament. If he wanted to run his own program, he would be outstanding.
Most recently an assistant at St. John's, he has shined at Pittsburgh and Kentucky while also serving as a head coach at Manhattan. He is a relentless recruiter who has great knowledge of the game. He eats, drinks and sleeps basketball. Rohrssen has phenomenal contacts in recruiting. He's a people-oriented guy who would represent any university in a positive way. Chris Mullin made a major turnover by asking St. John's buy out his contract.