You won’t find too many people who do not understand why Arizona State decided to part with Herb Sendek as its men’s basketball coach.
Where there may be disagreement, however, is on if the Sun Devils can find a better coach than the one they just let go.
In nine years with the school, Sendek compiled a 159-137 record and reached the NCAA Tournament twice. While not great, there is a contingent of people who believe that Sendek was not the problem, or at the very least, replacing him will not yield much improvement.
A guest of Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday, ASU vice president for athletics Ray Anderson said he does not foresee any issues trying to find the kind of coach he is looking for to help take the program to another level.
“I do not believe that we will be short of real, quality candidates who will want to have an opportunity to talk to us about this position, about this opportunity,” he said.
A handful of names has already surfaced, though the legitimacy of their perceived candidacy is certainly up for debate. Anderson said while they have some coaches in mind, some are calling them up wanting to be included in the search.
“I used to be in the agent business and the way the real world works is agents who are trying to position their clients, particularly clients they think will be an appropriate fit here after kind of hearing our expectations of the qualities, they will aggressively call,” he said. “And not just directly, but indirectly to do what they have to do, aggressively, to make sure that their candidate’s name gets at least on our radar screen for consideration. And that certainly is happening in earnest. That’s just the way it works.”
Whoever ultimately gets the job, he’ll have some work cut out for him. Other, seemingly qualified coaches have failed to turn ASU into a consistent winner, giving the program a track record that has bred plenty of doubters. The way they see it, the program’s history is proof that while Arizona State may be able to succeed in some sports, men’s basketball will just not be one of them.
“My response to that is let the past go,” he said of people pointing to the history. “Understand and see ASU, the institution and ASU, the Sun Devil athletics, for what we have declared is our expectations going forward, which is to be, as I say it again, elite and top-five across all of our sports, and basketball is a very important program here.
“So I would ask them to release the past and embrace the future, because our commitment is to in fact be a top-notch program that people can be proud of. And that’s what we aspire to, and frankly, that’s what we’re going to go do.”