Posted 04/04/2007 at 04:09 PM
This just in: It's time for Arkansas AD Frank Broyles to retire. Now I'm not going to throw him under the bus for giving Stan Heath his pink slip. Personally, I thought Heath saved his job by getting the Razorbacks to the SEC Tournament finals, but there were plenty of reasons to send him packing (zero NCAA Tournament wins in a five-year tenure, for starters).
But if you're going to get rid of a coach, at least have a plan. Arkansas "got played" by Billy Gillispie, then struck out with John Calipari.
Seemingly out of frustration, the Hogs then went with the safe play, making a not-so-splashy-but-not-very-risky hire, plucking Dana Altman from Creighton.
Certainly, Altman is solid, guiding the Blue Jays to seven NCAA Tournament bids in nine seasons. (And hey, who am I to disrespect the Creighton coach that sent my alma mater packing from the Tournament on a buzzer beater in double OT a few years back?)
But c'mon, isn't Arkansas bigger and better than this? Seriously, doesn't it seem like yesterday when Nolan Richardson was sporting those ridiculous suits with a smile as wide as the state and a nucleus of talent that the Duke's and North Carolina's of the world envied? (Lest we forget, Grant Hill's career ended in a loss to the Hogs in the '94 title game in Charlotte.)
Isn't this the same program that was so good in the mid-'90s that Al Dillard couldn't get any playing time? (For those that forget, Dillard had Reggie Miller range but barely got off the bench behind Corey Beck, Clint McDaniel and Scotty Thurman.) Isn't this the program that had a fan base nearly as rabid as Kentucky's in the mid-'90s?
My oh my, the times have certainly changed in Fayetteville. On Tuesday, just one day removed from his introductory press conference, Altman dealt Arkansas the ultimate backhand, "pulling a Bobby Cremins" by deciding to return to Creighton.
Broyles got the news while he was in Augusta, enjoying the Masters. Not no more!
The search is back on for the next Arkansas coach, who by the way, will inherit a talented nucleus, assuming Broyles gets a coach soon enough to prevent freshman sensation Patrick Beverly from transferring.
Somewhere on his farm on the outskirts of Fayetteville, something tells me Nolan is smiling about this coaching search that Broyles is fumbling and bumbling by the minute.
The bridge between Richardson and Broyles burned to pieces years ago, but at this rate, Frank could do a lot worse than Nolan.