Earlier today the annual coaching carousel began spinning when USC fired Kevin O’Neill. Assistant coach Bob Cantu will take over for now, but the real question is who will be coaching this team next year?
Whenever anyone gets fired, people begin speculating about replacements. While the fan base will speculate about coaches they have zero percent chance of landing (Brad Stevens, Shaka Smart, etc….) the media tends to at least be a bit more reasonable.
The formula works like this: High Major Team X (in this case USC) fires head coach. Media Member Y ponders which nearby mid-majors are good, and immediately submits those names as the potential replacements.
And today was no different:
Some early names to replace Kevin O’Neill: San Diego State’s Steve Fisher, St. Mary’s Randy Bennett, Long Beach State’s Dan Monson
— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) January 14, 2013
The important question for St. Mary’s fans is whether or not Randy Bennett would be interested in USC. Bennett has interviewed for jobs in the past, but he also recently inked a 10-year extension with the Gaels.
Contracts can be broken, but after he signed the deal he said some interesting things about Moraga. He told the SF Gate that “Everything that I need and want for a program or for my family is here, so there’s no sense in messing around.”
He later expanded on that thought: “I’m big on balance. I want to spend time with my kids. I don’t get that back; I know that. One of the biggest priorities in life is to be a really good dad. I know I can’t do that if I’m not around. It’s one of the reasons that I really like Saint Mary’s. I can do both.”
So what would he be leaving that for? USC, as a basketball school, is clearly a step up from St. Mary’s. He’d have a bigger budget. He’d have better facilities.
But in the big picture, USC isn’t that good of a job. It’s a middle-of-the-road high major position. You have a disinterested fan base who are obsessed with football., so you’re always the little brother on campus. And you’re in the same city as UCLA, so you’re always the little brother in the conference. You’re in a city which has dozens of entertainment options every night, and USC basketball games are rarely high on that list.
In other words, it’s not really a dream job.
I do think that Randy Bennett will eventually leave St. Mary’s. And good for him if he does it for a couple million bucks. He deserves it. He’s a good coach.
But I don’t think that he’ll be leaving it for USC. It just doesn’t add up.