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Defending the Craig Robinson Hire

It's been just over twelve hours since Criag Robinson has been named as head coach of our Men's Basketball  program, and already some members of Beaver Nation are voicing out in opposition.

First off, I'll start out by saying there are some things I like about this hire, and some that I don't. The one thing I'm uncertain about is the whole political influence. When I heard Robinson say that "If I can use that (my family celebrity) to win games, I'll do it", it made me question which direction we're headed. It just makes it sounds like we're using a particular political party to help get recruits, etc. I don't know where you draw the line on this conflict, but it just seems weird right now. Maybe it will grow on me, but I don't know.

Political issues aside, I think Robinson has some great potential. If you've heard him talk today at all, you'll know that he is a great public speaker, and has a great story. Bottom line, is things are going to get done the right way in Gill Coliseum from this point forward.

First, lets discuss the money factor and get that out of the way. The contract hasn't been finalized, but at the end of the day Robinson will still be one of the worst paid coaches in the Pac-10. Tell him that, and I'm sure he wont care. He knows that this is going to take work, and he cherishes that fact.

Dave over at Addicted to Quack had this to say on the OSU hire:

And the getting the right coach part is where OSU got it wrong.  If you are serious about becoming competitive, you have to go out and get someone.  Randy Bennett or Bill Grier weren't going to come to Corvallis for the $500,000 that stingy OSU wanted to spend.  Its not worth it to go through the losing and the rebuilding for that crappy pay.  If you go to Bill Grier and hand him a cool million a year, he's your coach right now.  But the Beavs again tried to do this on the cheap, which only ensures a lot more losing.

You have to understand that Oregon State went 0-18 in the Pac-10 this year. We haven't won a game in 2008. After 21 straight losses, it's often a good idea to clean up the mess and put your best foot forward. And I think we're doing that. Robinson is a firm believer in working hard for things, something that's stuck with him all the way from his upbringings in Chicago. I don't think that throwing a big wad of money at this situation and hoping something prospers is the best route at this point. The season ticket holders currently aren't present, the attendances are at rock bottom, Gill needs improvements, and that's not going to chance until this basketball team changes.

This is a step by step process. As the team improves, Robinson's stock will rise, his contract will improve, and we'll continue to "Rally the Legend." If Robinson doesn't work out for Oregon State, we can only hope that he leaves his footprint on this program, wins a few games, and lets us step to the next stone of bringing in a new, bigger-name head coach.

Dave goes on to say:

Look at us. We haven't even had a baseball program for almost 30 years. No players. No stadium. But we ponied up the dough and got one of the best coaches in the country to come here. You don't think that at the very least OSU couldn't have gotten Larry Eustachy to come thug it out for a couple of years and start the road back to respectability?

I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty here, but bottom line is Oregon and Oregon State are different universities. You guys have donors who have seen Oregon State's success on the diamond and are eager to get that at your university. I don't blame you. But OSU is used to losing in basketball. We just are. There's not spirit there, there's no desire to lay down the dough to get this program back where it belongs. We need to see improvement before we can get excited. That's where "Rally the Legend" comes from. It's just a different approach to the same issue.

You've got to understand that this isn't going to happen overnight, and I think Bob de Carolis realized this first hand as he facilitated his coaching search. He realized what was really important to this team.

At the start of this search, we were looking for a guy who had roots on the west coast, had head coaching experience, a proven track record, and on and on and on. But as guys like Billy Grier and Randy Bennett pulled their names out, we realized that we're not going to be able to get those qualities in a head coach.

Instead, we started looking for a coach who would do things the right way. A coach who has an academic mission, and is a teacher on and off the court. We needed a coach devoted to making the players better each and every day, and a coach with attention to detail. And I believe we found that in Craig Robinson.

He also has head coaching experience (More than Grier, in fact), he's turned around a program, and he has personal connections and recruiting connections all around the country.

Now, Craig Robinson is not the best coach out there. He's not the best coach we could have landed in Corvallis. But he is a good guy, who, if nothing else, will have a lasting impact on these young men. Many fans out there would like to see a different coach in Corvallis, be it Larry Eustachy or someone else. Bobby D should at least pony up a list of names and details on how the search was conducted and tell us what he was thinking, but it probably isn't going to happen. That's hindsight now, and as we know, hindsight is always 20-20.

The message coming from Oregon State's athletic office is clear: Open your minds to change, understand that everyone involved in the program is working hard to get Oregon State basketball back where it belongs, and buy tickets. It's going take fans to give Oregon State the competitive advantage it needs to win.

That's us.

I'm eager to hear your comments, agreements, disagreements, criticisms, etc. Let's talk this out.