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June 11, 2009
USC job is still attractive
There's a process here that USC athletics director Mike Garrett and/or whoever hires the next men's basketball coach needs to go through.
There's a checklist of qualities the candidate must have. There has to be a plan, and USC needs to stick to it.
ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla spoke with us about the future of USC basketbal and helped devise what that plan should entail.
No. 1 Look for the right kind of experience
USC doesn't need to look for a coach who has been on the sidelines forever in this process. The Trojan brass can look at young coaches. However, Fraschilla believes USC needs to find someone who has built a program before and who has stayed off the NCAA's radar for the most part.
"They need someone who's not afraid of a challenge and who has built programs before because the aftermath of this investigation and the exodus of players means they need someone who has the experience and substance to be in this for the long haul," Fraschilla said. "It's by no means an impossible rebuilding job, but it calls for someone who has the experience to have built programs in tough situations."
That could point to someone like Baylor's Scott Drew, St. Mary's Randy Bennett, San Diego's Bill Grier, Oregon State's Craig Robinson or Long Beach State's Dan Monson.
Also Billy Gillispie and Bob Knight are two coaches currently without jobs that could fit these criteria.
However, Fraschilla believes this is not a situation suited for a first-time collegiate head coach, meaning that Brian Shaw, Kurt Rambis and any of the big time assistants out there won't be the answer.
"This isn't a typical first job," Fraschilla said. "If USC is serious about basketball, the next coach should have the background where he's rebuilt programs before."
No. 2 Preach patience
Fraschilla didn't sugarcoat anything when talking about just how good he thought the 2009-10 USC men's basketball team would be.
"They have the recruiting base where they can be a viable Pac-10, top-of-the-league in three years," he said. "It's just going to be pretty bad in the meantime."
USC administrators and Trojan fans need to know this isn't a quick process. USC needs to slowly rebuild its credibility on the recruiting trail and hope it translates to the court.
The Trojans could look at Indiana, which gave Tom Crean a contract that runs through 2017.
"You have to make the job attractive for someone," Fraschilla said. "You may have to give someone a seven-year deal or some sort of a rollover contract based on how hard the NCAA comes down on the program. That's what the administration needs to do."
No. 3 Sell yourself
There's definitely a smell to the Trojan basketball program right now, and it's the athletic department's job to start scrubbing. When USC is out interviewing candidates, it must not be shy when it comes to self-promotion.
As Fraschilla noted, there are still good coaches available - they just might need some reminding of why USC's a good place to work.
"Anytime you mention NCAA investigation with a basketball program, some bloom comes off the rose," Fraschilla said. "Having said that, it's still USC in a major conference like the Pac-10, in a great city with a plethora of high school talent, and it's a university with a worldwide name and a great new facility.
"There are definitely people still out there who would relish the challenge of rebuilding USC basketball."
No. 4Look West
And there are more than a handful of good coaches available who have already begun to rack up wins on or near the West coast.
The Trojans should look the Mountain West Conference and the West Coast Conference for candidates.
Guys like New Mexico's Steve Alford, BYU's Dave Rose and Utah's Jim Boylen are just a few names that should come up in conversation over inside of Heritage Hall and around the Galen Center.
"It's important to know," Fraschilla said, "that this isn't the impossible situation it might seem."