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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pre-emptive strike

Funny, back in the mid-1990s no one wanted to hire Mike McConathy as their school's head basketball coach. Not Northwestern State. Not Louisiana Tech. Not Nicholls State. Not Centenary College.

The knock on McConathy was he wasn't a good interviewer when he interviewed for jobs.

Now maybe I'm mistaken, but if I'm hiring a coach I want a good coach, NOT somebody who answers the questions the way I want to hear them.

Anyway, when Greg Burke came on the scene at NSU in the late 1990s and had an opening in 1999, he interviewed McConathy for the job. Instead of judging McConathy on the interview, he actually listened to what he said.

McConathy was hired and the rest was (NCAA Tournament) history.

Well, sort of.

You see the 14th-seeded Demons -- the highest remaining seed in the tournament -- still have a game with West Virginia today and who knows if this is the end or when the Demons' run ends.

Then the fun begins.

A coach who couldn't land a job in the mid-1990s will likely get some attention for some other jobs. Ole Miss is a possibility. Or if Ole Miss hires South Alabama coach John Pelphrey, then there could be an opening there.

Burke said his school began taking steps two months ago to financially reward McConathy and his staff.

It's a good idea.

But in the end, I'm guessing McConathy isn't going anywhere. He's got the support of his admininstration. He's got ties to the school. And he can write his own ticket there. But it doesn't hurt to make a pre-emptive strike.


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