The Johnny Jones era at LSU will officially end Friday, and the search for his successor is already underway.
What type of coach will it take to win at LSU?
An exceptional one.
The reality is at LSU, basketball is a bridge sport. You know, the bridge between the end of football and the start of baseball (and spring football).
The new hoops coach at LSU will have to understand the climate in which he will work. That is, as the third banana in Baton Rouge. All you have to do is tour the facilities.
Tiger Stadium has had three upper decks built on it since 1984. First the west, then the east, and then the south.
The new Alex Box Stadium is a superb facility to watch college baseball.
The Pete Maravich Assembly Center is what it is, a middle of the road, renovated arena for a third tier sport.
The new coach at LSU will have to be a very good recruiter, a terrific bench coach and a salesman.
When Dale Brown arrived in Baton Rouge, he toured the state, selling LSU basketball.
It wasn’t long before he was recruiting outstanding players.
The salad days started with a Kentuckian, Rudy Macklin, and continued unabated with star after star from both in-state and out for the next 15 years.
What’s the talent landscape now? The quality of player in Louisiana post-Katrina, is good, not great.
For the new coach at LSU to be successful, he has to land the best in Louisiana, and then pull an Ed Orgeron.
That is, win big in Texas.
It is easier to do that in football, whereLSU can sell Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night. One trip there for a recruit, and he doesn’t have to ask any questions about just how committed the University is to success on the gridiron.
In basketball? Not so much.
One thing’s for sure. In the rearview mirror, John Brady, dismissed in the 2008 season, is looking pretty good.
LSU’s next hire will be its third since Brady was shown the door. Trent Johnson won one NCAA tournament game. Johnny Jones won zero.
Brady guided LSU to the Sweet 16 in 2000, and six years later, with the stars of his team from the Baton Rouge area, Brady guided the Tigers to the Final Four.
In the NCAA Tournament, LSU’s overall record is 24 wins, 24 losses.
Just another indication that until something big changes with LSU basketball, the Tigers will be occasionally very good, sometimes mediocre and on occasions like this season, bad.
Coaching LSU basketball isn’t for the faint of heart.
It will take a asteroid shower hitting Baton Rouge to ever changing the pecking order.
It is kind of like being Speaker of the House. You are third in line for the Presidency, and the chances of getting to one or two are slim to none.
But, somewhere out there, there’s a coach in the United States who thinks by sheer hard work and force of will he can change years of hoops history.