Mike Dunlap, who will be introduced as Charlotte Bobcats head coach Wednesday, might be a good hire. He might be terrible. I dont know him. Ive heard good things from his supporters, but what are supporters supposed to say? Theyre supporters.
Dunlap has spent most of his career as an assistant and almost all of it working for colleges, so there are reasons to doubt his qualifications to be the franchises fifth head coach.
His lack of celebrity is not one of them.
I tire of Charlottes frenzy for the famous. Before the Carolina Panthers hired Ron Rivera as head coach last season many fans pushed for Bill Cowher, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Jon Gruden, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Each won a Super Bowl. Neither approached being elite. But they must be good or they wouldnt be famous. The longer the coaching search went on, the bigger Cowher and Gruden became. Gosh, isnt it sad that Vince Lombardi is gone because if he were here he could ask Cowher and Gruden for coaching tips.
When I heard Monday that the Bobcats were going to offer Dunlap the head coaching job I couldnt remember if he was the Cleveland Cavaliers guy or the St. Johns University guy. (He was the St. Johns guy.)
But I wont discount him because he has never authored a best-selling memoir, had a basketball court named after him, starred in a Dove for Men commercial or put on a sweater vest and called himself ol Mike.
This is not So You Think You Can Coach.
This is about leading a young group of players out of the nether regions of the standings and offering them, and their fans, a reason to believe.
Besides, by the time the Bobcats finally move into position to win Dunlap probably will be gone. He might be the first coach to simultaneously undergo a job interview and an exit interview.
The Panthers, who started in 1995, have had four head coaches. The Bobcats, who started nine years later, are now on their fifth.
The basketball coach with the longest tenure is Bernie Bickerstaff. He was the first, and the best, and he lasted three seasons.
I had hoped the Bobcats would pursue Indiana associate head coach Brian Shaw. I dont know if they did and I don't know if they had a shot or if Shaw already had cut a deal with Orlando to coach the Magic.
So my choice isnt coming, and I suspect yours isnt, either.
I was shocked, but such a hire is not without precedent. The Charlotte 49ers gambled big two seasons ago when they hired Ohio State recruiter and assistant coach Alan Major. Major, of course, is entitled to another season. But his first two have been so quiet that you forget he and his team are in town.
Hiring an unknown is a gamble. So is hiring a star.
George Seifert is the biggest name to which the Panthers have entrusted their team. He won as many Super Bowls with San Francisco as Cowher and Gruden combined. Seifert came to Charlotte in 1999 and when he left it was as if he had never been here. Smoke has a greater presence. He was a disaster.
Larry Brown is the biggest name the Bobcats have hired. He is one of the better coaches of all time and he had moments with the team he led it to the playoffs for the first and only time. But when the Bobcats went bad Brown snapped. He ripped his players relentlessly and publicly and almost every night. He put them in a position where they couldnt win.
Along with failing as Charlotte coaches, Seifert and Brown have another connection. They were born in 1940.
If you need a reason to give Dunlap a chance, here it is. He was not.