We are now less than five weeks from the official start of college basketball practices, and Charleston is still without a head coach.
Because both of their leading candidates, Wofford’s Mike Young and Charleston alum and former NBA player Anthony Johnson, pulled their names from the search on Wednesday. Young was the first to withdraw from the search, leaving Johnson as the only potential candidate remaining until he, too, pulled his name from contention.
It was an embarrassing moment for Charleston — They couldn’t hire their most-famous basketball alum to run a good program in a better city? Yikes! — but it turns out that there really wasn’t much of a choice. Johnson took his name out of consideration after telling Charleston officials of a domestic dispute involving him and his then-wife back in 2011, the Post and Courier reported.
Johnson pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge in June of 2011. He and his wife divorced in 2013. The details aren’t exactly pretty, as he was alleged to have pushed his wife in the throat while she was pregnant in front of their son. Johnson spent 19 days in jail for the incident.
“I let a lot of people down who were really supportive of me throughout this entire process,” Johnson told the paper. “I let down my wife, my family and the College of Charleston and the Cougar community. I cannot tell you how sorry I am for this.”
As of now, both ESPN and CBSSports are reporting that UConn assistant Karl Hobbs and Virginia assistant Ritchie McKay, who both originally interviewed for the position, are currently the front runners.
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.