Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jones: Splashy hoops hire? Nope, USF goes with Coach Next

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27:  head coach Brian Gregory of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets  reacst against the Villanova Wildcats during the NIT Season Tip-Off Championship game at Barclays Center on November 27, 2015 in Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: head coach Brian Gregory of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets reacst against the Villanova Wildcats during the NIT Season Tip-Off Championship game at Barclays Center on November 27, 2015 in Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Whenever a sports team hires a new coach, we all immediately ask the same question:

Good or bad hire?

That's the question we asked Tuesday when we learned USF was going to hire Brian Gregory to be its men's basketball coach. Good or bad hire?

The answer is not so cut-and-dried. Or exciting.

Instead, the answer is, "Who knows?" accompanied by a shrug and, maybe, a yawn.

That's what USF basketball has come to. Frankly, this is what we've come to expect. Another wait-and-see hire that doesn't make much of a splash.

Because of its sorry history, USF can't expect anyone to uncross his or her arms and give the Bulls the benefit of the doubt on anything related to men's hoops.

Gregory might be a heck of a nice guy and really sharp when it comes to basketball. But this isn't the type of hire that excites whatever little fan base remains and entices skeptical recruits to one of the worst basketball programs we have ever seen.

This is the man who is going to turn USF into a winner? This is the best USF could do? A 50-year-old whose career coaching highlight was getting to the second round of the NCAA Tournament eight years ago?

Was there no one else?

What about Joe Dooley, the coach who has Florida Gulf Coast in the big dance? What about former Alabama coach and Florida assistant Anthony Grant? There was intriguing talk about LeBron James' old high school coach.

When you see what else is out there and how quickly USF moved on the hire, you wonder if Gregory was the only guy who returned USF's phone call.

Surprising that USF athletic director Mark Harlan didn't jump in his car and use $10 worth of gas to drive over to Orlando where coaches such as Kevin Keatts (UNC Wilmington) and Steve Forbes (East Tennessee State), as well as Dooley, will be coaching this weekend in the NCAA Tournament.

What, Gregory was in such hot demand that he wasn't going to be available in a week? This hire was squarely inside the box.

Then again, why do we think any of those other coaches would even be interested in USF? Let's face it, this is not a good job. Other than a season here and there, no one has been able to win at USF consistently. And the last guy, Orlando Antigua, turned out to be a complete disaster. The Bulls went 23-55 under his watch, and now the NCAA is sniffing around to see if everything was done on the up-and-up.

Now it's Coach Next — just the latest in a string of coaches searching for the key to unlocking the rusty door of success at the Sun Dome.

So, can Gregory win at a place where no one seems to know how to win? While there won't be a rush on season tickets with this hire, Gregory does deserve a few minutes before we proclaim this is a good or bad move.

That brings us back to Harlan.

So far, he's 0-for-2 on basketball hires.

Harlan had to turn to Antigua after his first hire, Steve Masiello, was discovered not to have a college degree as his resume stated.

Two big swings and misses. It's about time Harlan got one right, wouldn't you say?

As far as Gregory goes, we'll believe it when we see it. After all, this is USF men's basketball.

Jones: Splashy hoops hire? Nope, USF goes with Coach Next 03/14/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 7:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    TCU's Josh Watson (7) is safe at home before the tag by Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during the second inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, June 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  4. Peter Budaj loves 'vibe' with Lightning

    Blogs

    Two years ago, nobody was willing to give Peter Budaj a shot, the veteran goalie wondering if he'd ever play in the NHL again.

    Peter Budaj signed a two-year extension with the Lightning, worth $1.025 million per year.