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December 06, 2001

Louisville is a key domino
By Dan Patrick

University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich will make a decision in the next three weeks -- a couple of decisions actually -- that will certainly affect two programs and potentially have a domino effect that will alter many more. It happens nearly every year, yet people often don't see it until it's already well in motion.

Larry Eustachy
Iowa State head coach Larry Eustachy says Bob Knight brings a unique aura to the Big 12 sidelines.

If Jurich buys out Denny Crum, Louisville will have to bring in a new coach. Now, Louisville has enough clout in the college hoops world to land a big-time, proven coach. So that guy will open up a job when he leaves his current one. He will have to be replaced.

That's three programs facing change. And we're really just getting started.

Further intrigue ensues if Jurich goes to Indiana, where he's rumored to be at the top of the wish list to replace current athletic director Clarence Doninger (although sources told's Andy Katz on Thursday that Jurich will stay at Louisville -- stay tuned).

If he does go to Indiana, Jurich would almost definitely replace head coach Mike Davis. He could possibly bring in his good friend since high school, Larry Eustachy, which would then affect Iowa State. In turn, someone would end up filling Eustachy's job.

Jurich could possibly bring in Tim Floyd from the Chicago Bulls or Steve Alford, who has not signed his contract extension in Iowa. So Jurich may hold the cards this year that affect four or five different jobs. Maybe even more.

And if he does turn to Tim Floyd he will affect an NBA job which could then either affect another NBA team or yet another college program.

You almost need a March Madness bracket to keep track of the possibilities.

So, for at least a month, Tom Jurich could be the most powerful man in college basketball. This year's merry-go-round will dwarf the chain of events put into motion when North Carolina's Bill Guthridge stepped down.

For at least a month, Tom Jurich could be the most powerful man in college basketball.

Last year's names in the UNC soap opera were sexier: Matt Doherty, Larry Brown, George Karl, Eddie Fogler. The teams mentioned were also impressive: Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, South Carolina, Notre Dame. And don't forget Mike Brey and Delaware. The Tar Heels needed a coach and the Fighting Blue Hens ended up with a vacancy.

As with most big sporting events, the NCAA Final Four weekend is a lot like a convention for the sport. Guys with jobs to fill and guys looking for jobs are on the prowl. Heavy hitters and power brokers abound. Pay attention to all the stories coming out of Minneapolis that week. The off-court buzz will be loud.

Free advice for Tom Jurich: Check into your hotel with a pseudonym. I use Ned Devine and it works like a charm. (Damn. Have to get a new one now.)

Be ready to play "Six Degrees of Tom Jurich." And don't think this coaching job in Louisville doesn't have anything to do with your favorite program. Because it very well may.

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