There is one thing that cannot be argued about the Steve Alford era of Iowa Basketball; it has not lacked for drama.
If you can believe this, it was one year ago yesterday, March 21st, 2006, when Steve Alford came out and said that he was not interested in the Missouri head coaching position, and that was less than 24 hours after it was reported that Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden had asked for and received permission from then Iowa Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby to speak with Alford. Here is the link to that story from the Quad City Times: CLICK HERE
So exactly one year later, there is mounting evidence and numerous reports, some of which we posted, that Steve Alford will be named the head coach at New Mexico perhaps as early as today.
Could we all be ‘wrong again’, as we ‘apparently’ were last year on the Missouri front? I guess that’s always possible, and it’s one of the challenges of this job. Because what it true now might not be true in 10 minutes.
That may sound like a convenient out for reporters, but the world we live in today is one where a Nick Saban can come out and flatly deny any interest in Alabama, and even start the conversation, then weeks later, hop on a private jet and say, “Roll Tide”.
It’s a world where coaches can technically say that they haven’t had any conversations or contact with other schools, and be technically telling the truth, while people close to them are burning the midnight oil, hashing out contract details, aspects of the job and more.
It’s a world where the folks in Sports Information Departments are forced to tow the company line and go along for the ride with all of this, probably even believing in their heart of hearts that when they say, ‘there is nothing going on here’ that such comments are hollow. I don’t blame them; they are doing their jobs. They supply us media types with a lot of information that we use each day, and I always try to let them know how much I appreciate it.
On the Steve Alford issue, here is where we stand as of 11:45pm on 3/21:
- As we all know by now, New Mexico has formally asked permission to speak with Steve Alford regarding its vacant coaching position. Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta released the following statement: “University of New Mexico Athletic Director Paul Krebs has asked permission to contact Coach Steve Alford in regard to the head coaching position at New Mexico. I have granted that permission to New Mexico officials. It will be Coach Alford’s decision as to whether he chooses to visit with them.”
- I reported on the HawkeyeNation.com message boards and on my 1460 KXNO radio show today that I had heard from someone whose opinion I respect greatly that one Iowa team member had informed him that Steve Alford to New Mexico was imminent, and the announcement could be made in 48 hours or less. This conversation took place at 3:40pm on Wednesday.
- KWWL Channel 7 reported earlier in the day that they spoke with someone inside New Mexico’s sports information department that said they were working up the press release to announce Alford as their new coach. Later in the day, the New Mexico Sports Information Department along with Iowa’s Sports Information Department said no such thing was imminent or being worked upon.
- On a day when this story flat blew up across the nation, with Andy Katz of ESPN reporting hours after the major talk broke in state, that a deal between Alford and New Mexico was imminent and that the finer details of the contract were just being worked out, Steve Alford could not be reached for comment. The Iowa City Press Citizen reported that Alford said, through Iowa Sports Information, that he had no comment on this news.
-I learned late in the night on 3/21 that most folks in Iowa City that are involved with the athletic department had not heard anything from Steve Alford, but he is certainly under no obligation to communicate with anyone other than his boss, Gary Barta. Barta told the Des Moines Register that he hoped more news would come out on this story on Thursday, which is today.
- I also gathered from two sources that there has been a team meeting called for Today in Iowa City and that Coach Alford would be in attendance. What will be discussed at that meeting is unknown.
There are other bits and pieces surrounding this story that I believe to be near the mark, but they are ultra subjective, on top of the laundry list of somewhat subjective information that came out today. However, it all jives with the back channel bits and pieces that we and many other media members have been hearing over the course of the last two weeks that have linked Steve Alford and New Mexico.
So there will be just two roads this story will take.
The first is that Steve Alford will leave Iowa and become the new head coach at New Mexico, and Iowa will be looking for a new coach.
The second road is that, just like last year, Alford will come out and say that all of these reports have no merit, no one spoke with him directly about them, that he cannot control what others say, that he is committed to the Iowa Basketball program and is looking forward to the next season and beyond.
It’s my belief that we will all be traveling down the first road either later today or on Friday, which will create some high plains drama here in the state of Iowa.
If it is the second road…it will create even more drama, as Coach Alford defends himself against the now countless reports that strongly suggest he and/or people close to him are speaking very seriously to New Mexico.
Don’t go anywhere, for drama is in the forecast.