Sunday, April 05, 2015

Head Coach Avery Johnson

It's not official yet, but media outlets are all reporting that Avery Johnson has agreed to become the 20th head basketball coach at the University of Alabama. It's a hire that is definitely outside the box, but one that is being heavily praised by Alabama fans and media.

It appears the job came down to Avery Johnson and Steve Prohm. In the end, it would seem that Johnson's experience at the NBA level and how that would appeal to recruits was the determining factor in giving him the job, despite the fact he has never coached at the college level.

While the hire has shined some national attention on the Alabama program and energized the fanbase, this is still a gamble for Alabama. As mentioned, Johnson has no college head coaching experience, and there is no guarantee that his successes at the professional level will translate to the college game. Who he chooses to fill his staff may turn out to be more important than his own hire. My hope is that he will retain Antoine Pettway, who has become an excellent recruiter in recent years. Bringing other Bama guys into the fold (Roy Rogers, T.R. Dunn for example) would also be a smart move in my opinion.

Johnson will certainly be more media savvy than Anthony Grant was. Johnson's experience at ESPN will be crucial as he attempts to rebuild the brand of Alabama basketball. A busy schedule of radio, television and speaking engagements will no doubt be in his future as, whether he wants to or not, the university appears to have heard the cries from fans who wanted a more outgoing personality in charge of the program and will expect that from Johnson from the beginning.

The biggest pro for Johnson will be his NBA connections. Look, it's simple, every kid who signs with a college has NBA aspirations. Doesn't matter if it's a 2 or 5 star. They all want to play in the league. Johnson's NBA past alone will help him get his foot in the door for recruits that Alabama simply hasn't had a shot at in the past.

Despite the strengths that Johnson will bring to the position, he still has to prove that he has the coaching chops to go up against the best coaches the conference will offer. It's important to note that no NBA teams or college programs were beating down his door when Alabama came calling. Whether that proves to be fortuitous or an omen, only time will tell.

First and foremost, Johnson needs to meet with the current players and sell them on his vision. There is talent remaining on this roster. If there wasn't, you wouldn't hear nasty rumors about former coaches trying to lure those players away. Bring in the right head coach and a staff to match, add in some energy to a fanbase that has been dormant far too long, and Alabama has a roster in place to be competitive next season. There are other aspects of the program that must be addressed by the new coaching staff and the administration, but the pieces are in place to help ease the transition of a new coaching staff while hopefully avoiding  a long rebuild situation.

I see positives and negatives in this coaching hire, but I also see upside. Avery Johnson could prove to be the right guy at the right time for this program. As a result, I welcome this hire and will support Coach Johnson and his staff to bring some good times back to T-Town.

You can follow Coach Johnson on Twitter @CoachAvery6

Roll Tide!

24 comments:

CTider said...

It will be interesting to see what kind of CAJ puts together. I definitely think he should keep Pettway for recruiting. RTR.

finebammer said...

Coach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=285&v=ZtW3nqYlnC4


Roll Tide!

RichTide said...

better to be lucky than good. have been reading all the congratulations on blogs/twitter to BB for a home run hire. good grief...

however we got him, we got him. I'm feeling better and better by the hour with AJ. This is why the nation hates us, God is a Bama fan.

VaTide said...

Sounds like Pettway is staying on staff.

Drifter said...

Who is Avery's agent?

Kim Williams said...

I knew Roy Rogers when he played at Alabama and wish we could get him as an assistant, but probably not likely since he is coaching with the Wizards. I don't know if Pearson would come back to Alabama, but I do know he still cares about the program, unlike Gottfried the Swindler. My dream threesome of assistants would be Pettway, Rogers and Pearson. The staff he assembles is extremely important and hopefully he will lock up Dazon Ingram when he visits Mobile on Thursday.

RichTide said...

No Pearson, please. Rogers was Bama's Sultan of Swat. Would rather have Pettway, Rogers and Gee.

CTider said...

Gee? He has no coaching experience and is still an active player. I doubt Rogers would leave the NBA, but that would be a good hire.

VaTide said...

I wonder if Gregg Polinsky would be an option. Avery would have a relationship with him from the Nets, and I believe he still lives in Birmingham. I don't know if the interest would be there because his current gig is pretty sweet.

Msmilie said...

Of course the university officially announces Avery Johnson as Head Coach just as the National Championship game begins. Way to own the headlines, guys.

Drifter said...

WE NEED A GREAT CENTER

Msmilie said...

And it will be interesting to see if AJ Jr. has any interest in transferring to Bama to play for his father.

RichTide said...

needed to edit

CTider said...

I doubt A&M would release him to another SEC school

Msmilie said...

Avery Johnson will retain Pettway. Great move. Pettway has been doing a great job with in-state recruiting the last few years.

DJC said...

I think he needs a former college head coach on staff as an assistant. Someone who can help him with all the ins and outs of recruiting, NCAA compliance, and scheduling. If it's someone that also has NBA ties and can relate to him and understand the differences, even better. I have a feeling such a hire may be in the works.

djcarr1 said...

Malik and Mo aren't technically cousins, they're just REALLY that close. I guess that's just even better.

finebammer said...

"My whole career has been about working, competing and beating the odds and really trying to prove our critics wrong and our faithful supporters right," Johnson said. "That's been my whole life and that will be our goal at the University of Alabama."


good luck, Coach. (you're gonna need it)

finebammer said...

here's hoping Coach Johnson and Coach Pettway can reach out to Mo and enlist his services to land this big fish. i have seen Mo tweeting about the hire. he's pumped. i don't think there's any question he'd love to be involved.

Msmilie said...

Coach Johnson just wiped the floor with that press conference. I loved everything he said, and how he said it. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Holy shit!

Finebammer: You and I have had our differences in the past, but I'll give you props. You were on the Avery train early. I think we got ourselves a game-changing head coach. Good call on your part.

Drifter said...

This board won't be the same since finebamm got his man :)

Drifter said...

Apr 8 2015, 3:01 PM
Drifter: Someone really dropped the ball on CAJ's 'appearance' on Finebaum. No lighting on coach, so they dropped video and just went with voice only.

finebammer said...

thanx man. Alabama is very lucky to have CAJ. the question now, will they properly support him.


#RTR

finebammer said...

typical.