Locker Room: PCHS wants a new hoops coach in a month

      Pulaski County needs to find a new boys basketball coach. It will also need to hire somebody who can no doubt be instrumental in structuring a coaching staff as well, including the junior varsity. High School athletic programs are not confined to start and end dates anymore. Most are year round if the interest level is good enough to make it so. Much of what happens during a season is determined by what happens in the off-season.
       Pulaski County Superintendent of Schools Kevin Siers is very aware of that and realizes that time is an important issue in not only finding the new coach, but hopefully the right coach. The hunt is underway already, and preparations began in a matter of hours following Andrew Hart’s resignation early this week.
     ‘We hate to see coach Hart leave Pulaski County, but wish him happiness and success in his new role. Pulaski County Public Schools will soon begin the search for his successor with the goal of finding the right candidate who will build a successful program based on high expectations for our students, a prioritization of academic achievement, and winning a few championships along the way. The position will be posted this week and it is our plan to conduct interviews and name a new coach within a month,” said Siers.
Well Done:
      The Pulaski County girls took a tough loss in the Class 4 state final last week. That’s never pleasant, but there was a great deal that was very pleasant about this past season for the Cougar girls. The final game defeat should not be dwelled upon. Remembered? Certainly, learn from it, and get better because of it, but this very youthful group of Lady Cougars had a terrific season.
      This team was not supposed to win 22 games, but it did. This team was not supposed to play in the district and region championship games, but it did, and a berth in the state championship game was certainly not anticipated, but for the third time in school history, the Lady Cougars were there.
      Even with this team having such a banner season it was still a building season so to speak as well. There were no senior starters. All hands will be on deck again next season. This was a job well donewell done indeed. The pride factor should be very high in the program, and there is great anticipation for the future.
Not a Good Week:
      ​College basketball was already under an FBI investigation and certain players were not allowed to perform this season because of “irregularities.” There are still some programs under investigation, and the final hammer is not close to falling. Some heads are going to roll. I predict the next one will be in Arizona. But it will not stop there, and expect big news from within the ACC and SEC and it will not be pretty.
     And last week LSU coach Will Wade was suspended indefinitely. It appears the FBI had his phone calls monitored and he was caught in conversation with shady people over how to go about paying players and the family of a player. It involves the team’s best player Javonte Smart. And you thought coaches and agents didn’t carry around bags of money anymore. Well, they don’t, but technology enables business to be done in other ways.
      I wouldn’t expect Wade to be back coaching anytime soon, but to make matters worse, LSU fans booed their athletic director at their last game because of

Wade’s suspension. Makes you wonder doesn’t it. But always beware when a program is basically average and then all of sudden it beats Kentucky and contends for the SEC.
      And now it’s been discovered that rich folks, some of them movie star types, have been paying large sums of money to get their kids in the college of their choice. So-called bastions of education like Yale, Stanford, UCLA, Southern Cal, and more are involved. It seems if rich people wanted their children to go to a certain prestigious university they paid big bucks, hundreds of thousands of dollars in total. If their child could not pass the SAT, they got somebody else to pass it for them. Sometimes coaches involved in athletics would step up, for a huge fee of course, and falsify records to indicate athletic prowess where there was none, and in most cases not even participation at all.  But when you use minor, non-revenue programs like tennis and crew as a vehicle, you can get people to slide through the system.
       Not a good week for higher education. Does it seem like education, or activities associated with education are coming under investigation a lot these days? I guess that could bring us back to the declining relationship of academics and athletics.
There’s More:
      Vince Young. You remember him. He led Texas to its last national championship. He was a bust as a pro, had work habit problems, as in not having any. After his career fell through his Longhorn family decided to rescue him. He was hired for $100,000 a year to do things like play a round of golf with a high pockets booster, have lunch with a rich booster, and go to fancy dinners and rub shoulders with rich boosters and talk about the time he won it all for dear old Texas.
      Early this week Young was fired. There was a problem with a drunk driving issue, but a old problem resurfaced. He didn’t show up for work but maybe 30 percent of the time. Even for that much money and that wonderful sort of job, some people just will not go to work.
Bennett is Fine:
      UVa’s Tony Bennett was named ACC Coach of the Year early this week. It would make no sense to take issue with that. Bennett is without question one of the finest basketball mentors in the country, and on top of that, he is the direct opposite of the stuff you just read above about college basketball. Bennett has done just about everything you can do with the Cavalier basketball program except win a national championship and if he does this year it would not disappoint me at all.
     But I also think two other coaches did a great job in the ACC too. Roy Williams of North Carolina got a share of the conference season title and the Tar Heels were not supposed to be able to do that. I think they have positioned themselves, like UVa, for a top NCAA seed. If Duke does not win the ACC Tournament it should be a two seed. How good a job has Williams done? I’ll not waste space with numbers and accomplishments, but the guy at Duke is talked about like royalty. Consider this. The Blue Devils have not won the ACC regular season in 10 years.
      There’s another guy who deserves a lot of credit and that’s Buzz Williams at Virginia Tech. Carolina finished the season 26-5 and weren’t supposed to, but the Hokies finished 23-7 and weren’t supposed to either. Williams also had to overcome the loss of his best player down the stretch of the season. It was a great year for basketball at the top of the ACC. UVa 28-2 and Carolina I think should be number one seeds in the NCAA, and Duke might be as well. If the Hokies have a good ACC they should be a fifth or sixth seed at worst, and don’t be surprised if they make a little noise.
 National Coach of the Year?
      I’ve got a long shot for you. I knew him was he was just a little kid. I’ve been a friend of his father’s for years. I’m talking about Radford native Mike Young. He just won the Southern Conference tournament and is 28-4 down in Spartanburg at Wofford. Wofford is ranked 22nd in the nation. Having that kind of ranking at Wofford is a monumental achievement. He doesn’t run  from anybody either. Wofford’s only losses on the season came to Carolina, Duke, Indiana, and Mississippi State. Mike Young should be considered a candidate for National Coach of Year.
Who Can Win It All?”
      Not many really. The NCAA gets underway Tuesday. I think the most realistic chances of winning the national championship this year are Gonzaga and I say that because not only are the Zags good, but they will be the top seed in the west, and that historically is the easiest route to the Final Four. Certainly UVa, Carolina, and Duke have a good shot, and so does Kentucky and Tennessee.
    That’s as deep as it goes in my mind. Teams such as Michigan State, Texas Tech, Purdue, and Michigan have a chance, but that’s a reach. There will be some early round upsets and a couple of little guys will have a great memory, but when it gets down to it, the big dogs will be there.
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