Monday, June 10, 2013

How did the Huskers Poach an Assistant Basketball Coach from Georgetown?

This morning's news that Tim Miles had hired Georgetown assistant basketball coach Kenya Hunter brought a sense of shock and awe to the college basketball world.  Says Gary Parrish of

Simply put, this is not your grandfather's Nebraska.
Or your father's Nebraska.
Or even your older brother's Nebraska.
The Big Ten school opened a new $20 million basketball practice facility in October 2011, will open a new $179 million basketball arena this season, and is paying second-year coach Tim Miles a salary that'll eventually exceed $2 million annually, which brings me to Hunter and his salary. A source told that it'll be $230,000 a year, and that all three Huskers assistants now make at least $200,000 a year. So while Nebraska is still quite obviously a "football" school, the administration has made it clear it thinks there's no reason basketball can't operate at a high level, too.
But (and there's always a but) there is a reason Miles was able to pull this off. According to SB Nation's Casual Hoya last week, Hunter was already headed out in a staff shakeup.

As of now, the coaching staff consists of Kevin Broadus, Kenya Hunter, Tavaras Hardy and Kevin Sutton as assistants, with assistant Director of Basketball Operations Othella Harrington also in the mix as the potential new Director of Basketball Operations. However, today's hires seem to indicate that one of either Hunter or Harrington may be on the move or have to accept some other position on the bench. Unless Sutton is being brought on as DOBO or as a "special assistant", Georgetown now has four very capable assistant coaches for three spots. Given that it would be logical for Harrington to take the next step into the DOBO spot (unless he's fine with spending another year as the assistant DOBO), it would seem that Hunter, JT3's longest tenured assistant, might be on his way out.
And now Hunter is, in fact, out... out to Lincoln as a new Husker basketball coach.

Let's make one thing clear: This isn't a bad hire. In fact, it's a great slam-dunk, grand-slam-home-run hire for Nebrasketball.  The situation at Georgetown doesn't hurt Hunter's resume one bit. He has all of the coaching experience (and then some) that Miles wanted and needed on his staff, and then some.

The only thing the Georgetown situation did was make Hunter receptive to an offer to join the Nebraska basketball staff. Hunter has great experience with big time basketball:  four years at NC State, three at Xavier, and six at Georgetown. It's a great hire, and props to Tim Miles for pulling the trigger on this.

I've been skeptical of Miles' hires previously.  Hunter's addition to the Nebrasketball staff addresses my main concern of the lack of big-time basketball coaching experience on his staff.  It's truly a great move for Nebraska basketball, and a reason to be excited.

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