by Ryne Nelson
Arizona hoped to replace Lute Olson with John Calipari, Jeff Capel or Rick Pitino — an elite coach for its storied program. After five months of searching, Arizona isn’t offering the job to any of its top choices. As the L.A. Times reports:
Tim Floyd, who took USC’s basketball program to new heights, was offered the Arizona job Wednesday, a source familiar with the situation said.
The source, who asked to remain anonymous as he was not authorized to speak about the situation, said that Floyd met with Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood and was offered the position. Floyd is believed to have 24 hours to make a decision.
Surely Floyd’s 49 wins as Bulls’ head coach from 1998-2002 isn’t the best sample of his work as a coach. If anything, Floyd’s experience in Chicago taught him that a team is only as good as its players. Since coming to USC in January 2005, he’s managed to recruit some of the nation’s best talent… but his unscrupulous measures earned him an unsavory reputation.
But look at what Floyd’s done in three years. He recruited a five-star recruit each year. He coached USC to three NCAA’s in a row — the first time the Trojans have been to the Dance that often in history. Southern California won the Pac-10 Tourney for the first time ever this year and battled Final Four-bound Michigan State to the wire, losing on some tough calls.
Tim Floyd is not a proven winner, but given the coaches who have turned down Arizona, it could be much worse. Right?