April 16th, 2012 10:31 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: LSU
Tags: Baton Rouge, LSU, North Texas, Pittsburgh Jamie Dixon
Last Tuesday, we broke down for you exactly how we expected LSU’s coaching search to go:
1. AD Joe Alleva would chase a few big names to please the fanbase.
2. Then he would most likely wind up hiring someone the complete opposite of Trent Johnson — a man who failed to connect with Tiger fans and never could build strong relationships with Louisiana high school coaches or recruits.
We ended that story by saying that North Texas’ Johnny Jones — an ex-LSU player with strong ties to the state — “would seem to have the edge on that front.”
For those who missed it over the past week, LSU’s Alleva reportedly had some type of contact with “name” coaches like VCU’s Shaka Smart, Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, and Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon among others.
But today at 2pm ET, it will indeed be Jones who’ll be officially introduced as LSU’s new hoops coach. Hired over the weekend, Jones’ resume at North Texas is causing concerns for some while others are thrilled that someone from “inside the family” has been tabbed for the job. In their view — and you can count ex-Tiger coach Dale Brown among them — Jones enters Baton Rouge with a knowledge of the job and a knowledge of what he must do to be successful in that job.
Jones has already been busy contacting some of Louisiana’s top prospects as well as some players Johnson was recruiting before he hit the road for TCU. Jones is also in the process of filling out his coaching staff which could include another former Tiger, Randy Livingston.
Brown — the SEC’s second all-time winningest coach behind Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp — gave Jones his seal of approval over the weekend in a written release:
“I compliment Joe Alleva for making a thorough search with his staff — without hiring an expensive search firm — to find the very best basketball coach for LSU, Louisiana, and all the LSU fans scattered around the world. We all got much more than just a basketball coach. We got a person of integrity, humor, superb work ethic, strong will, a unifier, a disciplinarian and a bright and pleasant gentleman… Hold onto your seats. This will be an exciting ride.”
One wonders if Brown’s first draft also referred to Jones as being a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick-maker.
In 12 seasons as a head coach — an interim year at Memphis in 1999-2000 was followed by 11 years at North Texas — Jones took two squads to the NCAA Tournament, won 20-games five times (all in the last six years), and compiled an overall record of 205-162. While the record won’t floor anyone, it should be noted that he built North Texas up over the course of his stay there.
Still, it’s clear Jones’ hiring has more to do with connections to the past and an understanding of the job and the Louisiana people than it does his record. And those ties and connections are exactly why we thought last week that he’d have an edge on the competition for LSU’s job.
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