Herb Sendek is no longer the head coach of Arizona State.
Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News did the research that ASU made the NCAA tournament only three times in the 25 years before Sendek left NC State for Tempe. The Devils almost matched that total in the nine years of Herb Sendek. Playing in a poor excuse for an arena before a mountain of empty seats, clearly the problems run much deeper than Herb Sendek.
There’s zero buzz in the Phoenix marketplace for ASU basketball. Only near the end of Sendek’s tenure did he accept his role as salesman for the program. The two years of James Harden was the highlight of the Herb Sendek era. Unfortunately, that was the peak for Sendek’s tenure and not the beginning of the hike. With a lack of consistency from year-to-year, fans never seemed to know if the train was headed forward. I hate to say this about a good man, but Herb Sendek is not the solution to the problem, either.
Herb Sendek’s contract runs through 2017. Ray Anderson is stating to the world there’s a new sheriff in town with Sendek’s firing. Now ASU will be paying for one coach not to coach while paying another coach to be the face of Arizona State basketball. When schools eat contracts, it means they have athletic directors and/or boosters with high expectations. Ray Anderson has raised the bar all over ASU athletics. It’s not shocking he’s done it again.
There’s one name that a lot of people like to throw out as Sendek’s replacement: Archie Miller. Since he’s a former ASU assistant doing well as a head coach, it makes sense to a lot of fans. There’s one catch: it would make no sense for Archie Miller. The University of Dayton has a gorgeous arena, great basketball facilities, sold-out crowds and a passionate fan base. Why would a coach leave that for the ASU job? The last two Dayton coaches have left for ACC jobs. Archie Miller is not leaving one of the best mid-major jobs in the country to coach/recruit against his brother Sean.
Here are the names I am hearing or I want to hear:
Norm Roberts: Longtime Kansas assistant…didn’t do well at St. John’s but I think he would do well in this environment
Dan Majerle: I’m 99 percent sure he’s not interested, but no one else would invigorate the fan base like Dan. He wouldn’t leave GCU, however, without Jerry Colangelo’s blessing.
Anthony Grant: Love this guy. I don’t care what happened at Alabama. Smart player in college. Great assistant at Florida. He was Shaka Smart before Shaka was smart. (sorry, too easy)
Mike White: His dad was an ASU A.D. so he’ll come in with some knowledge of the situation. He’s won 100 games in only four years as a head coach at Louisiana Tech.
Scott Pera: Obviously a stretch for a Pac-12 school to hire a Rice assistant, but he’s the ASU assistant that brought James Harden and Derek Glasser to ASU. There are some that think NBA Finals MVP Kahwi Leonard would have been a Sun Devil if Pera was calling the shots. You want energy and recruiting, Pera has it.
Jeff Capel: I’ve heard the name thrown around a ton. Looks like this is the direction ASU is going. He’s only 40 and he’s been a head coach at two spots (I have no jokes that he was the VCU coach before Grant). A solid Duke pedigree helps, but the ending in Oklahoma was ugly. He recruited Blake Griffin and was a few 3-pointers away from a Final Four. That’s impressive. Oklahoma also fired (I’m speculating because it was an announced resignation) his assistant (he received no penalty) due to NCAA violations.
Steve Lavin: Time to come back to the West Coast, coach. St. John’s is not the job it once was but the fans have the same expectations dating from the Lou Carnesecca era. Lavin proved he can recruit the west coast. He’s brought the Storm back to the dance. He would be a great seller of the program in a city that desperately needs a personality to run the team.