In terms of speed, hats off to TCU for moving rapidly to replace Jim Christian as its men's basketball coach. The pace at which his replacement was found and hired was so quick it makes you wonder if a few phone calls had already been made, just in case.
Sources say LSU's Trent Johnson is coming to TCU as its next men's basketball coach; expect a Monday press conference that Johnson will "win". No one loses the introductory presser any more.
According to various reports, TCU is going to pay Trent Johnson around $2 million per. Christian was making around $700K.
UPDATE: According to sources, this report of a $2 mil per season salary is bull. It sounds like it's closer to $1.7, which includes perks such as a car, etc.
That sounds more like it.
Hopefully the package Johnson agreed to includes some artists renderings of planned facilities, and some contractual guarantees that many physical improvements to this program are coming.
If not, Johnson agreed to a fat contract and an eventual pink slip.
A few things on his resume suggest this can work. He has worked his way up, from Nevada to Stanford to LSU, and obviously won at every position. He has won at hard jobs, and attracted real players to do it. It appears as if he understands the importance of recruiting at this level, which includes everything up to and including hiring a kid's dad to land the player.
The expetations for TCU basketball are so low that if Johnson can lead the Frogs' to the NIT in the first few years they should throw a parade.
There are a few things that concern me.
No. 1 It's clear he wanted out of LSU, and LSU didn't erect a road block to keep him.
No. 2 Can he sell himself ahead of the program? Until the toys come, the story of TCU basketball is not going to be tradition but primarily the head coach. Prized high school recruits followed Scott Drew to Baylor because whatever he projects and whatever he sells works.
This is going to be a harder job than Nevada, Stanford or LSU.
Kids go places because of the coach. TCU is likely to stretch Johnson's ability as a recruiter more than any other job he he has had.
No. 3 Can he X and O? Historically I can't stand SEC basketball because all too often it appears as if the coach rolls the ball out and says, "Get to it". There is obviously more to it than that, but the Big 12 has arguably the best game coach in the country in Kansas' Bill Self, and a few others that don't screw around.
This TCU team loses a lot for next season, and until/if he lands players, Johnson had better be able to X and O or have someone on his staff who can.
Before leaving Jim Christian did believe that TCU could become a very good job. The affiliation with the Big 12, the campus, and its location in the Metroplex were all potentially a good sell.
But there has to be more than just concepts. With Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas, West Virginia and Kansas State, the Big 12 is a brutal basketball league.
Paying a coach a salary that is in the same neighborhood as other Big 12 coaches is a start. But that's all it is - a start.
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