Larry Eustachy’s turmoil-filled tenure as Colorado State’s men’s basketball coach came to an end late last month when he agreed to resign before the end of his sixth season in Fort Collins. The school had twice investigated Eustachy for allegedly abusing his players, with the latter probe leading to his departure.
According to Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, Colorado State already has a replacement in mind, and the possible hire is a no-brainer: a former all-American basketball player at the school who became a highly decorated professional and then a well-regarded assistant coach at basketball’s top level. A school of limited pedigree like Colorado State, which has all of four NCAA tournament victories in its 117-year history, would be thrilled that a coach of such esteem is even interested.
That coach is San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, and Colorado State should hire her if she wants the job, because why not? You’re telling me that the Rams would be better off with another retread like Eustachy, whose issues from his time at Iowa State were well documented, or some assistant who is anonymous to anyone outside a coaching-search firm? Hammon could make Colorado State men’s basketball a thing, and not simply because of the curiosity factor that certainly would arise (she would be the first woman to become the head coach of a men’s team in Division I history). By all accounts, she is more than ready to take the reins somewhere.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s her boss, Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, who has won more NBA titles than all but four other people on the planet:
“Becky can do anything she wants,” Popovich told reporters recently. “Whatever she wants to do in her future, I think is her choice. She’s got it all.”
The biggest issue seemingly facing Colorado State isn’t whether it should hire Hammon — Athletic Director Joe Parker has called her the candidate who is most frequently recommended to him, and said the most frequent question he gets concerns hiring a female head coach — but rather whether she would actually take the job (she declined Thamel’s request for comment). Her relatively short assistant-coaching career has been spent entirely in the NBA, where she has led the Spurs to an NBA summer league title in 2015 and served as the team’s head coach for one half of a preseason game in October. She has never coached anyone but adults, nor has she ever recruited teenagers. Maybe she is aiming higher — much higher, NBA higher — than a scuffling mid-major program that has all of 11 wins this season.
If so, too bad for Colorado State.
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