Lots of people have been asking me about the Baylor situation lately. The big question has been about the direction of the basketball program in the wake of Patrick Dennehy's death and coach Dave Bliss' resignation.
Should Baylor take a year off from basketball, then regroup and move on? Or should Baylor even continue the basketball program? Who would want to step in as head coach in an environment like that? How can one recruit in that scenario? It's an absolute mess. Still, the absolute devastation of the program is beyond belief.
Baylor should look to a young, dynamic assistant coach to take over and rebuild.
My suggestion is that basketball should go on at Baylor. Give the players who want to come back the opportunity to participate. If the school can't find enough players, then go the walk-on route.
But along the way, there will be struggles, especially competing in the tough Big 12. It will be so difficult to battle at that level, against the likes of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, etc.
If I were on the board at Baylor, helping make a decision about a new leader for the program, I would look to a young, dynamic assistant coach to take over and rebuild as the new head coach. There are plenty of young, hungry assistants across this country who would love the chance to coach at a prestigious institution like Baylor.
The Waco-based school has a solid reputation academically and athletically despite what has gone on recently. Baylor is in a highly visible conference, and that should whet the appetites of lots of young, aggressive, ambitious coaches.
Understand that the new coach will take a hit for the next three or four years, a big-time pounding. Along the way, with energy and enthusiasm, he can go out and sell the program as a rebuilding scenario, almost from scratch, competing against the best. There are plenty of recruits who would welcome the opportunity to face a challenge like this.
I also feel the pain for the Dennehy family and his girlfriend, Jessica De La Rosa. I can understand why they would want the program shut down for a year. I understand their feelings, and I respect them. I really believe the program must move on, and a positive way would be to continue and hire the right person.
There are guys out there who simply need a chance. Think about Roy Williams, a longtime assistant at North Carolina before he was given the opportunity at Kansas (and now he's back as the head coach at Carolina). AD Tom Butters gave a chance at Duke to a young assistant from West Point named Mike Krzyzewski, and he's a Hall of Famer now. He took a pounding early and went on to success and fame.
I know there are plenty of young assistants ready to tackle the challenge at Baylor.