Nathan's column: Do bikini models like pizza rolls?
It's possible that by the time you read this the University of Minnesota men's basketball team will have a new coach. It's also possible bikini model Kate Upton will show up on my doorstep tomorrow, but I'm not going to set out a tray of appetizers just yet.
I will do a Google search to find out what kind of appetizers bikini models prefer, though. It pays to be prepared. I should know. I was a Cub Scout for more than a month.
The Gophers' search for a new basketball coach began March 25 when the school cut ties with Tubby Smith, the former national champion coach who had improved the image of the program in his six years here but also developed a reputation for late-season collapses and general befuddlement. On Tuesday, Smith officially accepted a new job at Texas Tech. He and his $3 million-plus severance package were out of a job for just over a week. But as of this writing the Gophers were still looking for his replacement.
The team has apparently been turned down by several of its first choices, men named Shaka and Flip. They are believed to be targeting Marquette's coach, who goes by Buzz. If things don't pick up soon, the Gophers will have to accept the fact they'll never hire someone with a more entertaining name than Tubby. Are we sure there isn't a qualified coach out there who asks his friends to call him Scooter? How about Sweet Cheeks? I bet players would respect a coach named Sweet Cheeks.
Mean-while, as the search for a new coach has dragged into a second week some fans have started to go a little bit crazy. As rumors spread that coaches some thought were sure things had signed new deals with their current employers or just said no, thanks, the level of anxiety in some circles has grown to a fever pitch. People are convinced the program is in shambles. They're sure their team will be stuck with some no-name assistant. Or, worse, the guy who's coaching at Nebraska.
Perennial top prospects Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens both reportedly said no. So did former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, who just a few weeks ago seemed to be actively campaigning for the job on Twitter. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg signed a big new deal. You know things are bad when people are turning you down to stay in Iowa. A few days later, the school reported some seemingly minor recruiting violations. But, hey, at least the players write their own term papers. As far as anyone knows.
It didn't take a full week for things to start going bonkers, of course. Around the time the search hit its third day someone started a Twitter account calling for the firing of athletic director Norwood Teague. That's not entirely unexpected. Everything has its own Twitter account these days, no matter how fleeting its celebrity. When a Louisville player snapped his leg in two in Sunday night's game against Duke his shattered tibia had an account until common human decency prevailed.
As of Monday night, the @firenorwood account had 26 followers, which isn't terribly impressive. I have 184, and I haven't posted anything for more than two months.
It's all a little silly, of course. Only in the world of coaching is seven days considered an excessively long search. Hiring a superintendent or a city administrator or a Dairy Queen manager can take weeks or even months. And none of those people have to teach anyone how to beat a zone defense.
It's possible this will all end with a brilliant hire and everybody will be happy. It's also possible Gopher officials have started trolling the high school ranks. I hope athletic directors in Farmington and Rosemount are prepared to negotiate some new contracts.