View Full Version : Decourcey: Andy Kennedy leading candidate for UC job

02-22-2006, 05:59 PM
Kennedy's stock rises at Cincinnati
February 22, 2006

When the season began, Andy Kennedy had about as much chance of becoming the next coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats as he did of becoming coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

But, you know, things change.

Kennedy now has become the leading contender to become the permanent head basketball coach at Cincinnati, according to a source close to the program. Previously an associate head coach and recruiting coordinator under Bob Huggins, Kennedy has served as interim coach since Huggins was removed from the job last August.

University president Nancy Zimpher, who made the move to force out Huggins, is said to be looking for an opportunity to gain favor with Cincinnati followers. Many of them still are angry that Huggins is no longer coach and that recruiting time has been sacrificed as the program has operated without its future determined. Kennedy has grown extremely popular with fans and media members through this season.

Part of that has been a result of the team's performance. It began the year short on players because two were dismissed from the program during the offseason, one recruit was denied admission and another was granted a release when Huggins was let go. After starting 13-2 with victories over LSU, Vanderbilt and Marquette, forward Armein Kirkland was lost for the year with a knee injury. The team lost five of its next six games, but since has recovered to win four of six, including a huge road victory at Syracuse.

Kennedy could lead the team to its 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bearcats play Villanova at home Thursday and have games remaining against Seton Hall and West Virginia. They now are 18-9 overall, 7-6 in the Big East.

02-22-2006, 06:31 PM
Andy's popularity has a lot more to do with his underdog status and the snakebitten nature of this season than anything else. His popularity certainly has little to do with his "coaching."

You can blame injuries or his bench if you want, but I've never seen him come out of a timeout with a play. Never. I've never seen him make a defensive adjustment. He's watched Jihad Muhammed clank two dozen shots a game without ever telling him to square his shoulders and set his feet before taking a long jumper. He lets opponents go on 8, 10, 12-point runs without stopping play. And if he's within a minute and a half or so of a TV timeout, he'll hoard TOs like Scrooge McDuck. For what reason I have no idea, since he never uses them to his advantage. He's not a good coach.

At best he's Bruce Coslet--elevated abruptly, initially successful. The popular move was to bring Bruce back, and he was. Perhaps the popular move is to bring Andy back, too. But the result will be the same. Loss of traction, loss of games, then loss of job. And we're back at square one. So don't be tempted by the popular move. Instead make the right move and get a real coach in here.

Hey, I wouldn't want to be in Andy's shoes, either. He's playing in the Big East with a total of three D-I starters on his team (Hicks, White, and Downey) and two more D-I contributors (Moore, Allen). That's a pretty thin roster. Any coach would struggle under the cirsumstances. But I'd expect a coach with his back against the wall like that to have some decent plays set up for each opponent and have an idea of who to be careful of and where.

Andy doesn't.

02-22-2006, 06:47 PM
I have mixed feelings on this. I think Kennedy's done a wonderful job under some pretty horrible working conditions this year, but I'm not convinced he's the long term solution for this program.

The biggest concern is the recruiting issue. The fact is the players we have now came to UC to play for Bob Huggins, not Andy Kennedy. He's not even the best recruiting coordinator we had under Huggins, Mick Cronin was. This teams roster is so thin it's going to take a monumental recruiting effort to save this program from at least 5+ years of rebuilding, I don't believe Kennedy has the national name recognition or resume to make that happen. The Big East is so tough; the margin for error is so small, I'm skeptical that a guy with 1 year of coaching experience is the right man for this program given our circumstances. With the fans already staying away I honestly don't believe this program can survive a prolonged downturn.

I don't want to see UC go down the same path as Indiana and Mike Davis. Assistants that take over for legends typically end up unemployed in 3-5 years. Davis, unfairly or not, was always compared to Bob Knight. In similar fashion Kennedy will always be compared to Huggins. Someone said "you don't kill the king to hire the prince", and I think that's right. I like AK, he's done a great job this year, but I'm not convinced he's the best we can do.

02-22-2006, 08:21 PM
Anyone that takes over for legends usually ends up fired in 3-5 years.
You are kidding yourself if you think UC will hire someone that won't be compared to Bob everyday.

Who in the world would you possibly consider over Kennedy right now? Legit candidates only. Skip Prosser makes me cringe, and he is the best I've heard. Ouch.

02-22-2006, 08:29 PM
Anyone that takes over for legends usually ends up fired in 3-5 years.
You are kidding yourself if you think UC will hire someone that won't be compared to Bob everyday.

Who in the world would you possibly consider over Kennedy right now? Legit candidates only. Skip Prosser makes me cringe, and he is the best I've heard. Ouch.

I agree, all future UC coaches will be compared to Huggins, but it makes it even worse when Kennedy worked for Huggins. It sets up an impossible situation, just ask Mike Davis.

Prosser, even if he makes you cringe, is a candidate. Karl Hobbs, Dana Altman, Rick Majerus and Mike Anderson just to name a few should be considered. If Zimpher is willing to put the Huggins connection aside for Kennedy she should allow Mick Cronin to interview for the position as well.

I don't have a dislike for Kennedy, I wish him nothing but the best. That said, I'm not sold that a guy who's never recruited using his own name and will have a whopping 1 year of being a head coach under his belt is ready to take over a top 10 all time program in the toughest basketball conference in the country.

02-22-2006, 08:35 PM
The best coach in College basketball started basically the same way up in East Lansing.

Newport Red
02-24-2006, 01:07 AM
Andy Kennedy is the leading candidate because all the names the new AD used as examples of the new look UC coach when he was interviewing for the AD job are no longer available or 1-12 in their conference.

02-24-2006, 01:13 AM
Zimpher is going to screw this up one way or another. I think Kennedy has a good future as a coach. I think he's a good game coach. But I fear they're going to make the same mistake Indiana made. Davis was thrown into a BAD situation and they didn't completely fall apart, so everyone was SCREAMING about how IU had an obligation to bring him back long-term. I said it when it happened that it was a huge mistake. Pick they guy who is the best candidate. I just can't see any really good players committing to an unknown in Kennedy. It's not his fault, but he needs to break his teeth at a mid-major. UC's program is in trouble starting NEXT YEAR with the amoung of talent leaving. Downey will be the entire team. If they're not careful and don't bring in someone who can get good players and NOW, they run the risk of being labeled a doormat of he big east. That will be hard to recover from.