Interesting night of SoundOff Sunday. We knew the new head coach at Drake, and all anyone wanted to write or talk about was Keno leaving. Andy certainly added to the discussion with his heartfelt essay on why he feels disappointed in the national coach of the year. (If you missed it, it's on the video player at whotv.com)
My take on Keno's departure after just one season as head coach is this: I don't blame him, I understand it, and I'm still somewhat surprised (I suppose disappointed is a better word). I thought he would take a big raise and more security and stay at least one more season. I don't think he had to, I just thought he might. Keno knows Drake gave him an opportunity of a lifetime---first head coaching job---and he paid the University back with a championship season to remember. Some would say he already paid his debt in full.
Unlike some people, I have no animosity toward Keno. Any rational person understands all the reasons he took the job, including the reported seven million dollars. I can't imagine having that offer, let alone turning it down, but I'd like to think it's possible.
Davis also deserves praise for coming back to Des Moines and answering every tough question, and honoring nearly every media request. Sure, he may have been doing some minor damage control to his legacy, but more likely is Keno was being the good guy I've known him to be.
I wish him the best, and I'm confident he'll succeed at Providence.
The new guy is Michael--check that---Mark Phelps. He's Sandy Hatfield Clubb's #1 choice. This is her hire, and it will define her legacy. Clubb brought in two people, Phelps and Gary Close. It was Phelps all the way.
Clubb was smart to involve the players in the process. This is like when I talk to my kids all week about how great the Indiana Jones movies are, and then ask them Saturday night what they want to watch, and they say "Indiana Jones!". As the Guinness guys would say, "Brilliant!".
Great news Josh Young isn't going anywhere. He appears excited about Phelps. I don't know enough Phelps to predict the future, but I did talk to a few people who know him, and they couldn't say enough. Charismatic, great recruiter, energetic, good guy, tireless...etc. We'll see. He was impressive enough in his first interviews, and smart enough to say he loves the 3.
The one head-scratching thing in all this, to me, is that Drake never put a new contract with more money and more years in front of Keno long before Providence called. I know Davis says he was assured they'd get all that done, but why wait? It's harder to leave after the ink is still drying on a new deal. Who knows, may not have mattered one bit.
Let the Phelps Era begin. Welcome to Des Moines, Mark.
More to come on all things not related to Drake. (Tired yet?)