ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported and CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish confirmed Wednesday that Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith had offered the Buckeyes men’s basketball coaching job to Creighton’s Greg McDermott, but on Thursday McDermott took to Twitter to say he’s staying in Omaha.
McDermott expanded on his thoughts in a chat with reporters Thursday.
Smith flew to Omaha to meet with McDermott on Wednesday night, multiple reports said, before returning to Columbus alone and telling the Columbus Dispatch that no deal was complete.
According to the Dispatch, Smith told two of the Buckeyes seniors that he’d name a new coach by Friday, and with an important recruiting period on tap for next month, there is a certain amount of urgency in Columbus thanks to the odd timing of Thad Matta’s firing Monday. The search will now continue.
McDermott, 52, shepherded the Bluejays in their move from the Missouri Valley to the Big East and has led them to four NCAA tournament appearances in seven seasons, though he’s never advanced past the second round. Previously, he coached Northern Iowa to three NCAA tournament bids from 2001 to 2006 — losing in the first round all three times — and then spent four seasons at Iowa State, where he failed to lead the Cyclones to a winning record.
Smith was the athletic director at Iowa State from 1993 to 2000, and while his tenure in Ames didn’t overlap with McDermott’s, it did with the playing career of Fred Hoiberg, now coach of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. Hoiberg reportedly also was on Smith’s list to replace Matta, but he told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday that he had no interest in the Ohio State position.
“Any time your name is associated with a great job, it’s an honor,” said Hoiberg, who replaced McDermott as Iowa State’s coach in 2010 before taking the NBA job. “But I’m coach of the Bulls and have no intention of leaving.”
The Dispatch’s Adam Jardy also reported Wednesday that Smith had interviewed Buckeyes assistant Chris Jent for the job and that West Virginia’s Bob Huggins, Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams and Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown were also under consideration. Jardy says Smith will go to Cleveland to talk to Brown about the job on Thursday, between Games 3 and 4 of Golden State’s NBA Finals series against the Cavaliers, though the Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Thursday afternoon that there hasn’t been any contact yet and Brown might not be interested, anyway.
Brown was born in Columbus but spent little time there as a youngster, as his father moved the family around because of his service in the Air Force.
Arizona’s Sean Miller and Xavier’s Chris Mack, meanwhile, both have removed themselves from consideration, Jardy says.