Steve Lavin needs a top assistant. Is 76 year-old Gene Keady the right choice now?
Two months after Mike Dunlap left his job at St. John's to become head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, the Red Storm still has not filled the vacancy.
Despite a solid list of candidates, which included heralded high school coach Frank Allocco, the chair next to Lavin's (or perhaps Dunlap's trend-setting stool at the end of the bench) is still empty. As we move into mid-August and stand two months before the official begin of the season, the Johnnies are without a top assistant and need to make a move.
Steve Lavin does already have a strong staff in place which includes Tony Chiles, Rico Hines, Moe Hicks, and Derrick Wrobel.
And then there's that special advisor. You know, that man who won 550 total games as a head coach at Western Kentucky and more notably Purdue? Perhaps you know him better as Lavin's personal Mr. Miyagi.
According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and WFAN, Lavin is seriously considering elevating that man, Gene Keady, to assistant coach to replace Mike Dunlap.
More, below the fold.
It has been believed that Lavin's replacement for Mike Dunlap would need to be a coach with a keen sense of the X's and O's portion of the game. Lavin, being a fantastic motivator, utilized Dunlap to do much of the dirty work of player development and stategic planning.
So, why 76 year-old Gene Keady? For one, the move would be internal. The existing players would not have to undergo a transitional period gaining knowledge of Keady's principles and philosophies.
Second, Lavin's relationship with Keady is stronger than it would be with anyone else eligible for the job. After receiving a letter from an aspiring basketball coach in Lavin in 1988, Keady hired the Chapman University graduate as an assistant coach.
As they say, the rest is history. Lavin continually praises his parents and the close relationship he has maintained with them even throughout his high-profile career. His father Cap, who Lavin undoubtedly gets his innate grasp of the English language from, raised his son the right way and passed down his love of basketball.
And, even so, Lavin refers to Keady as a father figure. After Keady had retired from Purdue after 25 years (and a year as a Toronto Raptors assistant), his career was over without question.
The only job he would go back to work for would be one he'd love. The only man that could bring him out of his easy-going Lafayette, Indiana lifestlyle was Steve Lavin.
He's spent two years in Queens helping Lavin bring the Red Storm back to prominence. He can't assist during practices, but his words of wisdom and knowledge of the game have clearly made an impact.
Keady is certainly regarded as one of the best head coaches college basketball has ever seen. The accolades speak for themselves. He's been through almost everything at the highest of levels before, and maybe he's up for this challenge.
In July, it was rumored that Frank Alloco of De La Salle High School (CA) was close to accepting the job as Dunlap's replacement. There hasn't been confirmation that Allocco has in fact turned down the offer, but it's likely that he would have accepted by now. Perhaps the two sides were unable to come to an agreement.
The Rumble will have more on this story as details develop.
What do you think about the possibility of Lavin making Gene Keady an assistant coach? Is it the most logical choice?