Kansas had two members of its coaching staff – assistant Danny Manning and director of basketball operations Barry Hinson – snag head coaching jobs this week. Manning’s off to Tulsa, while Hinson will take over at Southern Illinois.
Those transactions merely added joy to an already happy week for the hoops program. Distractions don’t apply.
“When a team is successful,” Kansas coach Bill Self told the Lawrence Journal-World, “you hope your assistants have an opportunity to benefit. We were fortunate to have two guys get jobs yesterday. I don’t know how often that happens. A big deal for me was, I told those respective schools, ‘I’m fine with this, but let’s do it now. I don’t want the rumors and everybody being interviewed and have to lie and say you haven’t taken a job. Let’s get it out of the way now and handle questions tomorrow.’
“I told our players last night Barry got the job, and Danny told them he more than likely was going to get the job. Our players are fine. They are happy for our guys. This isn’t a distraction for our guys at all. Trust me, Danny and Barry are not working on Tulsa or Southern Illinois now.”
Manning, 46, has been with Kansas since 2003, first as director of student-athlete development, then as an assistant coach after the 2006-07 season. Since then, he’s been one of the main factors behind the Jayhawks’ frontcourt player development. The Morris twins, Cole Aldrich and now Thomas Robinson all benefited from Manning’s tutelage.
Hinson, 50, has been with Kansas the last three seasons. Unlike Manning, this won’t be his first head coaching gig. He coached at Oral Roberts (getting the job after Self left) and then Missouri State. They’ll both be missed by the players, but they’re intent on ending things with the ultimate high note.
“It’s not a distraction by any means. We’re happy for both of them,” center Jeff Withey told the paper. “Danny’s been an awesome coach and great mentor. It’s sad to see him go, but I’m happy for him. He deserves it. I still have a couple more days to milk as much knowledge as I can from him.”
You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.