The reaction on boards like Rivals to Keith Sargeant's apology for Rutgers not canning Fred Hill Jr. last week seems to be understandably negative. By and large, the decision is unpopular, although people seem to understand that Bob Mulcahy (again) signed a coach to a premature, unnecessary, and imprudent extension. Rutgers surely would get killed for buying out a coach in this economy, considering how the Sargeant's paper strangely published an editorial criticizing the athletic department for accepting a $5 million dollar donation for athletics last year. Imagine how it'll look to spill red ink.
The really strange part though, considering all of the Seth Greenberg rumors floating around in recent weeks (even if you believe they were merely a ploy by his agent to shake down Virginia Tech), was this additional justification.
And most of all, the pool of coaching candidates only improves next year. Trust us, the list of names we heard linked to the Rutgers job -- had Pernetti pulled the trigger on Hill -- wasn't exactly a who's who of tacticians. There wasn't a slam dunk among them, and you can bet that's another reason why Pernetti opted to be patient rather than commit political suicide.
That's perfectly reasonable if the alternatives are taking Tim Welsh out of suspended animation, or trading one unskilled media darling in Hill for another in Tom Pecora, or any other number of uninspiring perennial candidates. (Bobby Knight? ECU can have him.) This line doesn't seem to mesh with what Keith's colleague Jerry Carino is saying though.
Lastly: Someone who is plugged into the scene said that, more than the Seton Hall or St. John’s jobs, coaches from all over the east were eyeing up Rutgers’ decision on Wednesday. That job is well regarded within the profession, mostly because the bar for success is low and the potential of a renovated RAC is enticing. The source said, "several name coaches were ready to line up" if Fred Hill got fired.
If St. John's and Seton Hall settle for the likes of Pecora, that's one thing. I could even live with a Paul Hewitt at St. John's, who's an ok coach, but has a knack for underachieving. What'll really be heartbreaking is if either manages to nab a good midmajor coach such as Fran McCaffery. If by whatever chance St. John's can lure Greenberg, given his supposed preference for Rutgers and relationship with Tim Pernetti, that would be unbearable. Even a NCAA bid in an expanded and watered down 96-team field next year (which probably still won't be in the cards) couldn't save Hill from the resulting outcry.