Rumors always swirl in March around every mid-major coach that has a successful record. Moreover, in the hothouse atmosphere of the Internet they can take on a life of their own. For the record, I have not heard anything about Coach Horn leaving the hill. Nada. Zip. I frankly do not give any credence to the "spoken for" rumor either. Darrin Horn just would not do that. Not his style. It has to give him a very warm feeling however to feel wanted by some of the schools that are mentioned. I will take a look at some of the schools and give my views on what I think Coach Horn needs to consider.
WKU, his home school. His wonderful family raised here. WKU has a commitment to him and him to it. Chance to be very good next year. It is not as if he needs to get out of Dodge ahead of the sheriff. WKU will be a Sunbelt contender next year. In addition, the year after. I would have no doubt there will be a raise and extension offered. He could take that and stay. Raise his kids here, and put down some roots and wait...wait for that real "elite" job. The question is can you jump from WKU to a Kansas, UCLA or Duke? Horn is a very young coach with real long-term earnings potential. 5 years at a bottom feeding BSC School would be a big raise, but then what? You are fired after a few years and no chance to be a head coach again. (The Ralph Willard/Holy Cross thing notwithstanding) The best way to maximize your earning potential is to stay at WKU for about five more years. Get a new contract for around say... 400 grand a year. Then, years later, lever that success into a plum job where there is a history of winning instead of failure. 5 or 6 more years of success at WKU might let Coach Horn pick the elite school instead of the school picking him. Look at Mark Few of Gonzaga for instance. He can and might go to one of the "big time" schools someday. He is on every list when a top job comes open. Horn could be the next decade's Mark Few if he stays at WKU. They say it is all in the timing. You have to grab the ring when it comes around. Nevertheless, sometimes you are already holding on to a pretty good ring. Let us look at some of the schools that are open or might be open...so far.
First off and the one most mentioned is South Carolina. The La Brea Tar pits for college coaches. South Carolina is where you get stuck and watch your coaching career die a slow death. However, the chance to coach against Pearl, Donovan, Stallings and Co. must be a powerful draw to a confident young coach like coach Horn. History however, is not on the side of the next coach of South Carolina and I hope for his sake that it is not Darrin Horn.
Georgia. Yes the alarm WAS about to go off and wake up Dennis Felton from his dream job. Coach Felton learned too late that it might be ok to have a head case on a team you just cannot have a team entirely made up of head cases. However, the Dawgs have put on a great run in the stormy SEC tourney and I expect Felton will maybe squeak by another year. This is good as that means UGA in Diddle next year! The Georgia job is a order of magnitude better job than South Carolina but I doubt the Dawgs will come sniffing around the Hill after the Felton experience.....IF and that’s a very big if, they decide to look for a new coach.
Alabama. Yes Gottfried may be another "dead coach walking" despite a good showing in the SEC tourney, but any coach is going to have to lick up the scrapings left over from Nick Sabin and there will not be many. At Bama your always going to play third fiddle to Football and then to the Bear. A good job however with a great recruiting base. One I would consider if I were Coach Horn.
LSU, Bingo! We have a winner! You do not have to recruit at LSU you just drive around the neighborhood a few times and tell your team to get in the car. Coach Brady's revolutionary basketball breakthrough of not needing a point guard has still yet to be perfected, but for better or worse, he will never get the chance to get it mastered. This is a good job and one that IF offered to Horn I would expect him to take a very long look at it. I know I would.
Indiana. Why don't the Hoosiers do 300,000,000 Americans a favor, just go ahead, and hire Bobby Knight back? I do not know but they sure deserve each other. IU is a great job at an elite basketball school...if your name is Bobby Knight.
Providence. A chance to struggle in the basement of the Big East for a 5 or 6 years before being fired? Don't thing so...
I doubt Coach Horn would look to the west coast for a school and I kind of doubt the west coast would look at WKU for a coach. Just too hard getting over those darn Rocky Mountains I guess.
Collage basketball coaches make the most waffling recruit seem decisive by comparison. Look at Creighton's coach. Took the Arkansas job for 24 hours and then flew back home. Good move coach! On the other hand, how about Billy Donovan's three day stint with the Orlando Magic? Florida's AD was at VCU when Donovan called to say he wanted to be a gator again and VCU's coach had reportedly already told his players he was leaving! Aaaaaaaawkward. There will not be any screw-up’s with Coach Darrin Horn. If he stays or goes, it will be kept quite and done in a professional way. If he stays, the fans will never know if, or how close he was to leaving. If he decides to leave, they will not know until it is announced. That is as it should be. For now, the fans should just ignore all that and enjoy the success brought to the Hill by both the Lady Toppers and the men's team. The annual coaching rumors will resolve themselves in time...they always do.