Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coaching Carousel: Change of Venue

It was interesting to hear the Indiana University faithful calling for an inside man to replace the calamity that was Kelvin Sampson after Sampson was run out of Bloomington. People were even getting kicked out of Assembly Hall for calling for the return of Bob Knight through that last great bastion of free speech: the homemade t-shirt.

Who stepped into the breach? Dan Dakich, former Indiana player and Indiana assistant under His Holiness, R. M. Knight, with ten years of head coaching experience at the Division 1 level at Bowling Green to boot. Quite the capable fellow.

Dakich was an improbable and, honestly, accidental head coach for the remainder of the 2007-2008 season. He had begun the year as the director of basketball operations which to most lay men is a glorified, administrative grunt. Regardless, Dakich was at his school serving the program he loved and wanted to succeed.

Then came the ignominious departure of Rob Senderoff. Dakich stepped out of the office and onto the court becoming one of Sampson's assistants. I think Dan even got to speak during some timeouts.

Finally, Sampson did the decent thing and exited Indiana mid-season leaving Dakich to coach the Hoosiers through their final seven games. It was quite the meteoric rise and undoubtedly not the course Dakich would have chosen himself.

Within days of the end of the season, talk began to swirl around who would replace Sampson permanently. Few gave Dakich a chance to continue leading Indiana with its (albeit distant) National Championship pedigree, and eleven days after losing to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament Dakich was replaced by Tom Crean. A mass exodus from the program followed leaving the Hoosiers a mere shell of the previous season. The torrent of departures took Dakich with it, and Indiana is currently 5-4 with a bevy of transfers and walkons.

You might think Dakich would land on his feet after having spent his entire coaching career in NCAA division 1 with head coaching experience at Bowling Green, Indiana, and West Virginia (if only for a scandal ridden week). But the NCAA was just one letter too long.

Enter the CYO.

Dakich is currently building a program at Bloomington's St. Charles Borromeo where he heads up the 8th grade A Team. Don't believe me, check the CYO's website below.

The program is in place with assistant coaches Schneider and Stratten pulling double duty with the B team. Honestly, they have three coaches for a grade school team. In all fairness, Dakich's son is quite a baller on the team and Dakich is used to being around guys that coached their boys (Pat Knight, Kellen Sampson). He's obviously waiting for the right opportunity to move beyond the coaching springboard that is the CYO.

Gary Parrish actually scooped this story months ago, but the story is intriguing nonetheless. One moment you're on top of your professional world; the next you're sharing gym time with a pot-luck, funeral dinner.

The ultimate kick in the pants rests with ol' slime bucket himself, Kelvin Sampson. While Dakich moved in at the most inopportune time to take his dream job only to be replaced in a matter of weeks, Sampson, the man who single-handedly ruined a storied program - one I'm proud to root against - is off cavorting in the NBA while Dakich is getting his kids primed for their upcoming tilt with St. Jude. Sometimes, life just ain't fair. Although, taking Dakich at his word he's all for it.

Luckily, St. Charles is a force to be reckoned with, having dismantaled Indianapolis power St. Barnabas 50-33. To put that in perspective, the team Dakich coached last year, the Indiana Hoosiers, only put up 54 points last weekend against Gonzaga...and the Hoosiers had 16 more minutes of game.

Looks like the kids in Bloomington still know how to run the motion offense...only these kids are just 13 years old.

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