Rutgers AD Pat Hobbs attended the Big East Championship game last night and spoke with reporters about the search for the next men's basketball coach.
Pat Hobbs on Rutgers to @SNYtv 'We're gonna try to get it done this week'— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) March 13, 2016
Hobbs was there to support Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, who he hired at the school six years ago. Seton Hall knocked off top seed Villanova for their first Big East Tournament Championship since 1993.
Two people who look real good right now: Pat Hobbs and Pat Lyons. Hired Kevin Willard and stuck by him. Architects of a champion.— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) March 13, 2016
Rutgers fans can only hope that Hobbs makes the right hire a second time, as Willard has Seton Hall primed for a strong showing in the NCAA Tournament. While Hobbs was rooting for Seton Hall last night, he still represented Rutgers in the front row of Madison Square Garden .
Hobbs did point out his Block R lapel pin, though.— Steve Politi (@StevePoliti) March 12, 2016
When Adam Zagoria and SNY.tv spoke to Hobbs about Willard and his current search he said the following:
"Absolutely, absolutely, I'm going to get the equal of Kevin,that's hard to do. He's a spectacular guy, but we are going to working very hard the next couple of days to bring Rutgers this excitement. As quick as we can, we have a lot of work to do."
Another interesting note regarding the search is Jerry Carino pointed out on Friday that Hobbs did not appoint one of the assistant coaches as interim coach. Based on that decision and Hobbs comments last night, all signs point to a quick hire.
Noteworthy: No interim head coach for Rutgers. Usually one of the assistants is appointed to preside during a coaching search.— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) March 11, 2016
If Hobbs is truly close to hiring a coach, it's likely not someone from a school that qualified for the NCAA Tournament, which starts this week. It's very rare for a college basketball coach to announce they took a new job when their season is still on the line. One infamous example in the past was in 1989 when former Michigan coach Bill Frieder, who accepted the Arizona State job before the NCAA Tournament. Michigan AD Bo Schembechler fired Frieder two days before the start of the tourney, stating "A Michigan man will coach Michigan."
Based on Hobbs comments and actions in not appointing an interim coach, do all signs point to Rhode Island coach Danny Hurley?
Dan Hurley's season is over as URI just lost to UMass in the A-10 Tournament. Should speed things up in Rutgers search, one way or the other— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) March 11, 2016
We can only hope the timing is right this time with Hurley, as all indications point to him as Hobbs #1 target. Another interesting tidbit from Zagoria's article was this:
"Dan Hurley, the New Jersey native and Rhode Island coach, is considered the No. 1 option, and he also happens to share the same agent as both Willard and Rutgers football coach Chris Ash -- Jordan Bazant."
One thing is for sure, Hobbs seems to have a plan in place and feels confident in it. Speaking to reporters during this coaching search is different than how he approached the football coaching search, when he kept out of sight during the week long process. One candidate that is reportedly interested is former Duke player Jay Williams. Dave White made a great point yesterday, stating the need to avoid making an out of the box hire. I second that notion, as I stated the same when asked about high school coach Kevin Boyle. Please hire an experienced college basketball coach. We hired an NBA coach who failed miserably. Stick to the basics and find the right coach for Rutgers, one who has shown signs at previous stops that he can elevate our moribund program. The way Hobbs has operated in the four months as the athletic director at Rutgers, making a hire on someone like Williams, who has never been a head coach on any level, doesn't seem like his way of doing things. For now we wait and my message is clear: In Hobbs We Trust!
UPDATE: SI report states Rutgers reached out to Rhode Island officials about Danny Hurley.
I’ve been told discussions between Rutgers and Dan Hurley have commenced. There is much to discuss so we’ll see where it goes.— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) March 13, 2016