Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hewitt, McCaffery Rumors Are Unfounded

Coaches come and coaches go so quickly following the end of the regular season that those who like watching call the movement the "Coaching Carousel."

There will definitely be coaches both from the conference and with conference ties either moving, or considering possible moves.

The two "hottest" prospects for moves both have Siena ties.

Those would be current head coach Fran McCaffery, and current Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt, who was at Siena for three seasons (1997-98 through 1999-2000).

The Bergen Record of New Jersey is reporting that McCaffery is the "leading candidate" for the vacancy at Seton Hall created, coincidentally, by the firing there of Bobby Gonzalez, who also has MAAC ties from his days as Manhattan's head coach.

But, not so fast.

McCaffery reportedly is currently receiving $500,000 annually to coach at Siena. Published reports indicate Seton Hall isn't likely to go higher than $700,000 annually. Considering the significant cost-of-living differences between bucolic upstate New York and trendy northern New Jersey ... that's not much of a difference.

Plus, McCaffery has three school-aged children, as well as a 3-year old. Those with families know how difficult it is to uproot that situation, and would wonder if it's worth doing so for a relatively minimal salary increase.

McCaffery has built a good thing at Siena, and isn't likely to be in the proverbial "hot seat" even if he had a couple of down seasons.

Then, there's the thought that Gonzalez didn't exactly leave the Seton Hall program in the best of shape. Would McCaffery be willing to step into that situation?

Tuesday's New York Post, which is widely acknowledged for its inclination to stretch the truth a little when it comes to news reporting, seems surprisingly accurate when it refers to McCaffery's interest in Seton Hall thusly:

"It is believed McCaffery ... is looking for a more lucrative contract elsewhere," the Post reports.

The "elsewhere" is not Seton Hall.

Still, the rumors concerning a potential McCaffery move are so prevalent that Siena athletic director John D'Argenio issued the following comment:

“Fran has had a tremendous amount of success at Siena both in the MAAC and at the national level. I would expect that other schools would be interested in him and his talents as a coach. I don’t think it is appropriate to comment on specific jobs or on another school’s search process," said D'Argenio, in a statement released by the school on Tuesday.

And, then, there are the strong rumors that Hewitt is headed for St. John's, ones again mostly being propagated by the New York Post, and other NYC media outlets that appear to be jumping on that particular reportorial bandwagon without much background.

The Post "reported" that St. John's would soon be requesting permission from Georgia Tech officials to talk to Hewitt, and that the former Siena coach has been identified as the Johnnies' "leading candidate."

Of course those suppositions are advanced without knowledge of Hewitt's current situation at Georgia Tech.

For those who perceive that Hewitt is on the "hot seat" at Georgia Tech, which is why he'd be interested in moving on, consider his contract.

In 2004, Hewitt signed a six-year contract with Georgia Tech that included a "roll-over" plan at the end of each season, meaning Hewitt always has six years remaining on the deal at the end of each season, provided the school does not notifiy him otherwise, which it has never done.

His contract, this season (according to tax documents available on the internet), called for compensation of $1.375 million. Next season his salary will go up to $1.425 million. Should Georgia Tech opt to dismiss Hewitt right now, it would owe him five years of salary at the $1.425 figure, or $7.125 million.

And, then, here's what it would cost Hewitt (or, another school) to leave on his own accord.

The contract has a "buy out" clause, to be paid to Georgia Tech by Hewitt (or another school) of $3.4 million.

Hewitt, according to published reports in the Atlanta area, is quoted as saying that it's "highly unlikely" that he'll leave Georgia Tech.

While your blogger hasn't had any contact with either McCaffery or Hewitt about the most-prominent rumors (neither is accepting inquiries from the media right now), I know both well enough to offer two educated opinions ...

1) McCaffery might be a strong candidate for a higher-level position, and might well leave Siena in coming weeks ... but, it won't be for Seton Hall.

2) Hewitt isn't going anywhere.

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