By Zach McCrite
know I have.
David Padgett should do this.
If I were David Padgett, save for a dream postseason
by the Cardinals, I wouldn’t want to be at the University
of Louisville after this season ends.
That’s nothing against Padgett. Quite the opposite.
I’m a fan of what he’s done at U of L. He’s held this thing
together with duct tape, a piece of chewed bubble gum
and some paper clips. He’s been nothing short of the
basketball version of MacGyver, all things considered.
But, March, for all intents and purposes, will be
fruitless for the Cards. Then, what? The question for
Padgett, more or less, becomes “How do I want to
build my coaching resume (if coaching is indeed what
he wants to do as a career) from this point forward?”
He could stay at his alma mater and try to be the
savior. That’s certainly an option, provided UofL even
wants Padgett to be the next coach.
For the sake of this argument, let’s assume they do.
Now, obviously money talks. Perhaps Padgett isn’t
much worried about building his resume. Shoot, he’s
already at a prestigious program, historically. He
wouldn’t be crazy to think “Oh hey, UofL is going to
give me a couple million dollars a year? I know I can
make this program better. Besides, I’m only going to
get $500,000 a year if I’m a head coach at a mid-major
school. They’re going to give me $2 million a year
here? Let’s do this.”
By the way, I’m just throwing out that $2 million
number as a guess. Who knows what it would be?
Regardless, U of L would likely offer four times—
minimum—what a mid-major would offer for the
services of a guy with the resume of Padgett. That
shouldn’t be taken lightly.
If it were me, though, I’d hit the road. Cut my
teeth some more elsewhere. I would have enough
confidence in myself as a coach to go all in. Do it the
old-fashioned way. Why? It’s simpler than you think.
First off, this year, Padgett has proven that he’s not a
basketball idiot. He’s certainly competent. Looks like
he has the chops. Now, how much more than that has
he proven? I don’t know. That’s up for debate. But, at
the least, he’s proven that he’s not a nimrod.
Has he made some rookie mistakes? Eh, maybe,
but anybody in that same position would make a
mistake here or there. Who cares, right?
But, so far, at the University of Louisville, Padgett
and the coaching staff he scrounged together and
finalized (and did so fairly well) just 24 days before
Louisville’s first official game this season have already
let a full season of recruiting come and go without as
much as an iota of interest from any appealing recruit.
Tip of the cap to all of those involved in StripperGate
for that one.
The point remains, Padgett will already be without
at least one good recruiting class. That will make for
an uphill climb right out of the gate for whoever the
coach may be. And it might not end there. There
may be more virtually-empty recruiting classes to
follow since prized recruits might be too nervous to
plant their flag somewhere that they may think will
Add on top of the turmoil that Louisville is already
in with StripperGate, there’s also the cloud that’s going
to hang over the University in the future with the Brian
Bowen/Adidas case. Who knows what will come of it.
Maybe nothing, but the NCAA is going to take their
sweet time, which means that cloud will remain,
which means there are going to be head coaches at
other places that are easily going to be able to recruit
against the next head coach at U of L.
Bottom line, recruiting is going to be much tougher
than it’s ever been at Louisville. A prominent name in
college basketball to take over the program might help
in that regard. Padgett’s Name would not.
But hey, let’s give Padgett a little credit here. Maybe
Louisville makes the tournament this season and
maybe the Cardinals go on a run. Odds are obviously
against it, but if it happens, Padgett might be able to
use that as a recruiting tool, showing big time recruits
that he was able to make some serious noise in the
NCAA Tournament with the cards (no pun intended)
seriously stacked against them.
I would go out on a limb and say that the Cardinals
would be uber-lucky to make any NCAA Tournaments,
especially as the potential recruiting base dwindles.
The question Padgett would have to seriously look
in the mirror and ask is this: as much as he loves the
University of Louisville, is he willing to risk his head
coaching career at his alma mater where it might
(keyword: might) be damn near impossible for him,
and many other non-household-name coaches for that
matter, to thrive—even if given a long leash to do it?
Is he willing to have his career die on “Cardinal Hill?”
If it is, then by all means, go for it!
But If I’m David Padgett, I say, “Peace. I love the
University of Louisville, and I’m so thankful that I
got the opportunity to be an interim head coach. I
have proven to the rest of the free world that I’m not
a dolt. Now I can go and build my resume elsewhere.
Then, who knows? Maybe you’ll have me back when
the dust settles.”
For now, though, if Louisville offers Padgett the job
permanently, Padgett should pass.
It’s time to diversify his coaching portfolio.
Want to find Zach on Twitter? Just follow @BigEZ.