FanPost

Congrats Wichita St! Coach Gregg Marshall...what coulda been for the Bruins.

In honor of Wichita State's undefeated regular season and their coach Gregg Marshall, let's go back and understand how Chianti Dan's incredibly cheap impatience and panic (ultimately, $375k) prevented the Bruins from being able to consider (let alone hire) the person that I thought was the best coaching candidate last off-season. I said it then, and I say it now, that Gregg Marshall is going to succeed at a very high-profile program in the very near future...I only wish it were our UCLA Bruins.


Let's go back to last year's NCAA tournament which coincided with the UCLA hiring process [my commentary at the time in brackets].
Thursday, March 21: Alford's New Mexico suffers a big upset in the 2nd round getting outcoached and outplayed by Harvard 62-68. [Wow, I didn't realize how bad a tournament coach Alford is. He just got outclassed by Tommy Amaker, a fellow Big Ten washout.]
Friday, March 22: Coach Howland's last game is a listless 20 point loss to Minnesota to finish out the 2nd round games. [Thanks Coach Howland, but UCLA has to put you out of your misery.]
Saturday, March 23: Shaka Smart's VCU is dominated 78-53 by Michigan in the first 3rd round game. Later that night, the two most exciting games of the day finish within minutes of each other. Brad Stevens' Butler loses a nail-biter to Marquette and Gregg Marshall's Wichita State lands a knockout on #1 seed Gonzaga. [UCLA coaching candidate thoughts: I REALLY want Stevens. I'm not entirely sold on Smart, and who's this Gregg Marshall guy?]
Sunday, March 24: Coach Howland is officially fired by UCLA. [Thanks for the memories Coach, but it was certainly time.]
Monday-Wednesday, March 25-27: After being rejected by Stevens and Smart, all coaches are in play for Chianti. [Chianti, you whiffed on your first two targets, so now take your time and find the best available candidate. Don't rush to judgment!! Worst of all DON'T PANIC!!! The new Pac-12 TV deal gives you more than enough $$ to find and sign a first-class coach.]
Thursday, March 28: Marshall's Wichita State is in LA playing its regional at Staples Center and wins a ho-hum Sweet 16 game against LaSalle, which was just an afterthought to the thrilling Ohio State win against Arizona that preceded it. [Can't tell much from Wichita State's win over another cinderella. We'll all get to see if they're any good against the Buckeyes in two days.]
Saturday, March 28: Chianti knows that the underwhelming Steve Alford is interested in the job, but that New Mexico also just signed Alford to an extension that kicks the buyout clause up from $200,000 to $1 million on Monday, April 1. Panicked for NO REASON by the extension, Chianti hurriedly signs a mediocre Alford (without thoroughly checking into his background as we all know) and it is announced on Saturday morning. [WHAT?! WHY??? We could have gotten this guy any time anywhere!! Why now?? (Note: the buyout was later settled with UNM at $625k, so the difference between waiting to make the best hire and rushing into signing Alford turned out to be only $375,000!!!!).]
That afternoon down the road at Staples, Wichita State pulls off a shocker (no pun intended) by upsetting Ohio State for a spot in the Final 4. [All UCLA fans should feel the WORST case of buyer's remorse. The entire nation has now been introduced to a true, up-and-coming first-class coach. Marshall took an unknown Winthrop team and built it into a small-major powerhouse, took an unknown Wichita State team and just got to the Final 4, and above all who has just shown me against Ohio St. that he is a superior big-game X's and O's coach. DON'T YOU THINK UCLA COULD USE A COACH LIKE THIS?? Why Chianti why????? 4 hours after the announcement of Alford's hiring, would any Bruin fan disagree that Marshall would have been a better choice?? Give Marshall the same talent as Alford and who would you rather have coaching your team in the tournament???]
Postscript: Marshall's big-game coaching ability (and my utter disappointment about the Alford hire) reached what I thought was its pinnacle the next weekend in the Final 4 when Wichita State was basically a bucket away from having a much more talented, eventual National Champion Louisville give up in the second half! Little did I know what Wichita State would do this year! Congrats Coach Marshall and Wichita State!! Welcome to the privileged club of undefeated regular seasons. I just can't help but wondering WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN FOR THE BRUINS...

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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