Sunday, March 18, 2007

The End of an Era

So long Tommy, we hardly knew ya. Wait, maybe we knew you too well. You are a great guy. Nice, respectful, clean cut, always saying and doing the right things. You took a Michigan basketball program that was on the verge of disaster and righted the ship. You got them through the darkest days in Michigan athletic history. But in the end, you couldn't win enough games.

Was it the lack of recruiting? The sloppy offense? Was it the players? Does it matter? The official tale of the tape: 6 years, 109-83, 43-53 in conference play, 3 NIT appearances, 2 NIT finals, 1 NIT championship, and one big gaping hole in terms of NCAA tournament appearances.

The big question is, what's next?

Michael Rosenberg wonders, "Here is a crazy idea: Why doesn't Michigan close the truck stop and start a major basketball program?"

Gary Parrish notes that there could be major interest in the job: "Now you know why people weren't jumping all over the Minnesota job. It’s because few wanted to get too involved with that gig until they were certain Michigan wouldn't open considering everybody assumed Michigan would open eventually.

On Saturday, eventually arrived. And if Michigan is willing to throw around big money and invest in facilities then it will lure a high-profile coach from somewhere and again become a basketball power now that the uninspired Tommy Amaker era is complete. "

Even the New York Times chimes in: "Publicly, Big Ten coaches will say that the firing of Amaker is unfortunate, but privately they are concerned about the reawakening of a power that won a national championship in 1989 and made the title game in 1992 and 1993 behind the famed Fab Five."

What does the future hold for Michigan basketball? I have no idea. Lots of names are getting tossed around right now, some of which are pipe dreams and some of which are possibilities. Tubby Smith, John Beilein, Mike Montgomery, Lon Kruger, Steve Lavin, Chris Lowery, Tony Bennett, Gregg Marshall, Karl Hobbs, etc.

I would think Chris Lowery would be my top choice aside from Tubby Smith if he resigns from Kentucky. Then names like Beilein or Hobbs or Marshall. All I know is that Michigan has to get this one right. They need to right the ship and reawaken a sleeping giant of a basketball program.



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