TULSA - When the search started for the replacement for Doug Wojcik three weeks ago, we here at KJRH had Danny Manning at 65-1 in the first of several runnings of the TU Coaching Derby.
By the final running eight days ago, we had Manning at 1-5.
Danny Manning is the new TU basketball coach.
It was an interesting race. Scott Sutton, 12 years at ORU and very successful there, was the morning line favorite to move seven miles north to 11th and Harvard.
Then it was Tubby Smith.
Sources tell me the former TU coach was the No. 1 choice for about a 24-hour period, but the Minnesota advancement in the NIT kept getting in the way of serious negotiations with Smith. Soon that hope evaporated.
And along came that 65-1 shot. Danny Manning, without a day of head coaching experience, but plenty of experience in everything else basketball.
With every day, Manning became more and more of a possibility. Make that probability.
Former TU coach Bill Self did all he could to endorse Manning, and Manning admitted to me Wednesday the KU head coach was the biggest reason for giving TU major consideration.
Before we knew it, Manning was the man!
We found out about Manning being the top contender March 27. That is when we made Manning 1-5 in our TU Derby.
Three days later TU made it official.
Eight days later we finally got to meet the man. He was involved in something called the Final 4 with Kansas.
Manning makes sense.
He plans on using his name to get his foot in the door for recruiting. He has already impressed the current members of the team. The hiring did win the press conference.
Look for the national media outlets to keep a closer eye on TU basketball results in the future.
Interesting though, when I asked him what best prepared him for his first ever chance at being a head coach, he did not say his NCAA Championship run as a player at Kansas, or being the school's all-time leader in scoring or rebounding, or his experience as an assistant coach at Kansas for the past several years.
He went back to his downtime in the NBA.
A first round pick by the L.A. Clippers, Manning told me he learned plenty by being on the bench recovering from his many knee injuries. Better to observe, said the big man.
So here he is. the new coach hired to take Tulsa to the NCAA promised land. Looking at pictures of Nolan Richardson, Smith, and Self on the Reynolds Center walls, Manning knows he has big shoes to fill.
Hey, he wears a size 18 DDDD. Those big enough shoes for you?
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