March 20, 2004
NCAA Tournament schedule | ESPN.com's tourney coverage
One of the great things about NCAA Tournament time is the excitement generated by coaching vacancies around the country.
There are three interesting positions open on the college landscape, and with the help of the Vitale Bald Dome Index -- the VBDI -- I came up with a trio of coaches who would be natural fits. I'm not saying these guys would necessarily accept the positions, but they sure would fit in nicely.
Who would be any better as the next head coach of the St. John's Red Storm than current Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez? He has a passion and love for New York City and is a workaholic in the recruiting wars. Gonzalez has done a phenomenal job with the Jaspers, is wired to all the important people in the world of basketball and is revered by most.
Who would be any better as the next head coach of St. John's than current Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez?
The bottom line is, he would be a classy leader with plenty of integrity in the mold of one of my all-time favorites, Little Louie Carnesecca, the Hall of Famer.
Make the call, Father Harrington! Bobby Gonzalez would come sprinting to campus to say yes to an offer. Don't hold against him the fact that former Manhattan guys Brian Mahoney and Fran Fraschilla didn't work out at St. John's. Those guys didn't get many breaks and Gonzalez should be rated on his own credentials. He could solve a lot of problems for the Red Storm.
Down at Georgetown, the Hoyas could not go wrong choosing from a super pair of candidates. If they want someone with head-coaching experience, John Thompson III could be their man after the terrific job he has done at Princeton. What could be better than the son of former Georgetown coach and Hall of Famer John Thompson leading the Hoyas back to prominence?
But don't forget about Johnny Dawkins, one of the best high school players ever from the area and an absolute blue-chipper in every way. He has NBA experience, is a key entity on the Duke coaching staff and would be a star leading the Hoyas. Both Dawkins and Thompson have tremendous work ethics and great basketball IQs, and both have contacts with the best people in basketball.
Finally, why not hire former UCLA coach and current ESPN analyst Steve Lavin out at San Francisco? He's doing a solid job here but still has the thirst and hunger for the sidelines. The Dons couldn't go wrong with a guy whose father, Cappy, is in the San Francisco Hall of Fame, and Steve lives in San Fran right now. They would have to make it worth his while, but what an absolute natural fit, baby!
I sure hope the phones start ringing and these quality coaches have a chance to say yea or nay to some terrific jobs.
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.