Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What might have been

In 1948 UCLA was looking for a new basketball coach...the two finalists were Joe Schmo from L.A. and John Wooden from Indiana. The fan base and alumni were screaming for a "UCLA Guy" or a "west coast guy". Joe Schmo was hired. John Wooden, somewhat depressed, accepted a job at Pfizer Chemical in Terre Haute, Indiana...he retired after 40 years of service in the maintenance department.
In 1961, North Carolina's basketball coach, Frank McGuire, was forced to resign due to a recruiting scandal. The fan base and alumni blamed the University for hiring a New York native and former coach at St. Johns. They screamed for a "Carolina Blue Guy". The two finalists were Jim Schmo (brother to Joe) who had a degree from Carolina and Dean Smith, who was McGuire's assistant coach for 3 years. Smith was not chosen because people felt he was tainted by the scandal and was a midwesterner from Kansas. Smith eventually accepted a position at IBM and flipped houses in his spare time.
In 1971, Indiana was seeking a new basketball coach and hired Billy Jo Bob, an IU grad and high school phenom. They had considered Bob Knight but the fan base and alumni didn't want an Ohio native and one who played collegiately at Ohio State. Bob was the coach at Army but later founded an outdoor publication called Walleye Insider...he was never seen again after his lightweight Cessna disappeared from Winnipeg's radar screen in 1976.
In 1975, Duke University was looking for a new basketball coach. Despite grumblings from the fan base and alumni, they gambled on a Chicago kid nicknamed coach K, who was a graduate assistant for Billy Jo Bob at IU.

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