JMU Basketball Coach Dean Keener to Resign

According to Dustin Dopirak at the Daily News Record, JMU Men’s Basketball Coach Dean Keener will resign after the completion of this season. Keener will continue to lead the team for the three remaining CAA games and the post-season conference tournament.

Keener’s resignation is not a surprise to me. Last March I thought that the 2007-08 season might be his last at JMU. Before this year Keener hadn’t won more than 7 games in a season. This season the team’s win total hit double digits for the first time in four years, but the Dukes’ winning percentage is still under .500.

So, let’s throw out some names of some possible replacements:

  • Kelvin Sampson – Sampson is currently the coach at Indiana, but his job security is on the line because of some recent recruitment violations. Should JMU take a risk on Sampson?
  • Steve Lavin – Former UCLA coach is a commentator for ESPN, and I seriously doubt he would take a job at a low-level mid-major school. But who knows?
  • Steve Wojciechowski – He’s an assistant at Duke under Coach K, and as much as I hate Duke I think Steve might be a good college coach. He has the passion to win, he’s very knowledgeable, and he’s been serving under a hall-of-famer for multiple years. However, the chances of him starting his head coaching career at JMU are slim. Duke assistant Coaches don’t like to leave Coach K.’s side. Although, Mike Brey was a former assistant and he coached the University of Delaware (now he’s the head coach at Notre Dame)
  • Bobby Knight – Maybe if we throw enough money at him he’d come. However, he wouldn’t stick around long, and his reputation and ego might be too big for JMU.
  • Jim O’Brien – This is the candidate that I really want. O’Brien coached at Ohio State and Boston College, and he’s a former National Coach of the Year. He was fired for allegedly giving cash to a recruit in 2004, but O’Brien’s hiring restrictions have been lifted by the NCAA. He’s a great coach that needs a fresh start.

Bottom Line: We can go two directions. Hire an unproven assistant coach (like we did with Dean Keener) or hire an older, more experienced coach with a troubled past (like we did with “Lefty” Driesell). I say that’s go with the Lefty approach.


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