I hate it when good people get screwed for doing absolutely nothing wrong. I’m not buying the Russ Pennell resignation story. I’m not reporting, but I’m assuming Coach Pennell was told that it was resign or be fired. Pennell is a quality coach and a quality human being.
He earned an extension, not a forced resignation with a 42-16 record the past two years and two straight trips to the NCAA tourney. I hate even writing this because I consider Russ Pennell a friend, but I would have done the same thing if I was Grand Canyon University. If I have a chance as a Division II school making the huge transition to Division I to hire an NBA assistant coach with 14 years experience as a player in the town he became famous, I say ‘yes’ and deal with the ramifications of my decision later. I would have felt crappy while doing it but it’s rare you get a chance like this.
Dan Majerle is a legend in this town. He will have instant cache walking into any young man’s home in the state and through most of the west. I believe Dan is not doing this for any other reason than he loves coaching. He has wanted to be a head coach for the last few years. I’m sure he also has some extra motivation to show some other decision makers in the area that he can be a head coach.
It’s the right move for Grand Canyon. It’s the right move for Dan Majerle. It’s just the dirty side of college basketball that a good coach like Pennell gets fired — excuse me — resigns when everything he’s done is exactly what was needed. Best of luck to both men.