You'll probably see Siena coach Fran McCaffery's name featured prominently in speculation to replace Bobby Gonzalez at Seton Hall in coming days, and that conjecture will reach fever pitch if Siena wins a game in the upcoming NCAA tournament giving its coach's already strong resume another boost.
I can't begin to tell you whether McCaffery would be interested, or if Seton Hall is interested in him. McCaffery has always been extremely closed-mouthed about employment opportunities elsewhere, although there have been some confirmed discusions with other schools in recent years. Mostly, though, McCaffery has parlayed that interest elsewhere into a better deal at Siena where, according to published reports, his annual salary is north of $500,000.
But,, Seton Hall is similar to Siena in that it is a relatively small Catholic university. While its athletics dwarf Siena by virtue of its position in the Big East, its institutional goals, in many ways, mirror those at McCaffery's current location. Seton Hall, though, appears to be able to offer a financial situation that Siena couldn't compete with.
And, there's this: The last two Seton Hall hires have both been from the MAAC.
Your blogger will contend, though, that both of the past two Seton Hall hires were pretty much failures.
The first of those even came from Siena when, shortly after the 2000-01 season, Seton Hall hired Louis Orr away from the Saints' sidelines.
Orr, previously an assistant at Syracuse, was at Siena for all of 49 weeks. During that time his team, comprised mostly of significant talent assembled by his predecessor (Paul Hewitt), finished with a 20-11 record. One of those victories came against a Division II opponent. The schedule that year was so weak that NIT officials, after their field was decided, indicated Siena wasn't really a strong candidate for that tournament.
Orr's tenure at Siena was marked by his almost-daily tardy appearances at practices, and a lack of connectivity with many of his players. When his team was waiting to learn whether its season would continue via an NIT bid on a March, 2001, evening, Orr was home sleeping. His players were informed their season was over by reporters.
Three weeks later, Orr chose not to attend the team's post-season banquet. But, under similar circumstances the previous year, Hewitt returned to the Albany area at his own expense to participate in the program's post-season banquet several weeks after his hiring at Georgia Tech.
At Seton Hall, Orr compiled a an 80-69 record before he was fired. He sat out a year after that before landing at Bowling Green, where his three-year record stands at 46-47.
When Orr was dismissed, Seton Hall administrators reached out to Bobby Gonzalez, then at MAAC member Manhattan.
They did so, reportedly, without ever speaking to Manhattan administrators about that school's trials and tribulations during its time with Gonzalez in charge of the basketball program.
About the kindest thing anyone says about Gonzalez these days is that he is a "character." But, wherever Gonzalez has been he has alienated just about everyone he has had to deal with., according to reports quoting those left in his wake.
For those counting ... that's two strikes by Seton Hall officials in terms of filling its coaching position with someone from the MAAC.
Let's hope if it ever reaches into the conference again, possibly to replace Gonzalez in the near future, it makes a better-educated decision.