An AD walks into a bar full of coaches and says, "Hey, I'm looking for a new basketball coach." Everyone looks up and sees it's Pat Hobbs. And they all run out of the place.
The Eddie Jordan watch is on. Like it or not, there is a pretty big question out there as to whether Jordan will be back next year. It is going to be a huge question - with a lot of impact - that Pat Hobbs will need to answer in the not too distant future.
Money, as always, will play a role in the decision. Not only in paying a buyout to Jordan, but also finding the funds to hire an impact coach to replace him.
The other issue in the discussion is the calendar. Which, in several ways, ties in with the money question. Let's take a look at the pieces.
Here are some facts that play into the conversation.
Eddie's contract year runs through April 22. Regardless of what happens, what decisions are made, he is on the "active" payroll at least through that date.
The Big Ten Men's Tournament begins on March 9 and ends March 13. Obviously, he'll be coaching the tournament. Unless something miraculous occurs, it will be a one and done situation, with the team - maybe Eddie, too - heading back to Piscataway. I say "maybe Eddie" because he may want to stay in Indianapolis for the rest of the event.
Theends on Monday, April 4. There is a dead period in recruiting from Thursday, March 31 through noon on Thursday, April 7. Then all hell breaks loose.
National Letter of Intent: Unlike football with its single day, D1 Basketball runs from April 13 through May 18. During this time period, it is a mix of Recruiting Period, Dead Period, Quiet Period, and Evaluation Period. Still with me so far? For a full explanation of each of those, you can check here. But it is the time when kids sign if they haven't already done so in the early signing period the prior November.
What that means is, if Jordan is fired, who signs anyone? Who recruits anyone during the April-May period? And if Eddie is done after the Big Ten tourney, who keeps things afloat between March 13 and April 13. Talk about a dead period! The calendar may play against Rutgers. As if we need anything else chewing at our ankles.
There has been a lot of conversation, including here at On the Banks, about what Eddie will be getting if he stays on and if he leaves. While our Aaron Breitman talked about this already, let's review in simple terms.
If he's still coaching on June 30: $100,000 retention bonus
If there is a termination without cause (and no, losing by 50 is not considered cause), Eddie receives 70% of his base and guaranteed additional compensation. And what is his base and additional compensation for the next two years?
2016-17: $625,000 base plus $825,000 = $1.45 M 70% = $1.015 Million
2017-18: $650,000 base plus $850,000 = $1.5 M 70% = $1.05 Million
That means he gets $2.065 million to clear out his office; $2.95M if he serves out the remaining two years. Rutgers owed Flood money and we still pulled the plug, and still found the money for Ash and more for the assistants, too.
Biting the bullet, hiring the new guy
With all the recent failings and the history of failure, bringing a coach in will not be easy or cheap. And timing will be an issue. If Eddie Jordan is dismissed, it would likely be right after the. Not after Rutgers gets bounced, but when it's all over. You don't want to steal anyone's thunder. St. James of Delany would not appreciate that.
The next guy may be in the NCAA Tournament. And it's likely - though certainly not definite - that a school will not allow Rutgers to talk to a coach who is in the midst of playing in the tournament. As they lose, coaches become available. And the thing is, in order to do this right, Rutgers really needs to find someone who is in the Dance. That delays any signing of a coach. And does the same for recruits.
Eddie could be fired on March 14. But we might not be able to even talk to anyone of significance until April 5. Three weeks of nothing. Deadly.
And what kind of money are we going to need to pay out? Well, before we even talk salary, there better be either a groundbreaking for the practice facility or, at the very least, a very public announcement of when it is happening (like tomorrow?) We now have a public fund-raising effort; that's a huge start. Any coach who would consider the position is going to want to see not only the drawings and blueprints, but the books. How much is in the bank for construction?
As for coaches, look at what a random group of coaches are getting paid now [see note at bottom]:
Richard Pitino, Minnesota received a new deal in the lead-up to the 2015-16 campaign; $1.6M
Fran McCaffery, Iowa, $1.8 M
Tim Miles, Nebraska $2 M
Kevin Willard, Seton Hall, $1 M
Chris Mack, Xavier, $1.109 M
Chris Mullin: estimated $2 M; by comparison, his predecessor Steve Lavin was at $1.8 mil.
John Thompson, Georgetown, $2.8 M
Others of interest
Bobby Hurley, Arizona State $1.2 million to start, $100,000 raise each of first four years, $200,000 raise fifth year. At his last stop, Buffalo, he made $315K plus $541K maximum bonus
Mike Brey, Notre Dame, $1.5 M
, SMU, $1.9M
Mick Cronin, Cincinnati, $2.2 M
Considering the black hole the next coach will be stepping into, the money has to be very...very...very good. Including money for assistants. Currently the assistants' salary pool runs around $614,000 based on Eddie's contract.
Barchi bit the bullet, "got smart", and cleaned house in football. Will he do it again? Or will Hobbs have that authority? I wouldn't want to be Pat Hobbs right now. This decision, truthfully, will have an enormous impact not only on basketball, but on the entire athletic program. It is that big an action.
And how easy is it going to be to walk up to a school legend and say, it ain't working. Thanks, but we're going in a different direction.
Or, at the other extreme, how easy is it going to be to tell boosters and donors that we're bringing back the guy who hasn't won a conference game in over a year and who keeps losing by bigger margins? And we're giving him a bonus on top of his raise.
The man is truly caught between a rock and a hard place.
Note on salaries: The salaries came from different sources; the traditional USAToday listing was limited. Information is as accurate as we could get at this time.