OUT OF BOUNDS: Season ends, coaching carousel begins

Kyle Hightower

A few notes to kick off what should be an interesting start to spring on the Hill:

Ah, spring. Ah, shucks.

The fresh air. The perfect weather.

The coaching carousels.

Athletic Director Wood Selig formally gave Georgia permission to talk to Dennis Felton about its coaching vacancy according to local and national reports.

Uh oh.

Well, not exactly.

Actually, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Hilltopper fans really kind of had to expect that their lean boy would start looking like aged tenderloin whether he advanced to the second round in this year’s NCAA tournament or not.

He’s proven a lot in just five seasons of work. The three straight conference titles and NCAA appearances are the ice cream, but something else just as tangible is the hot fudge on this sundae.

You first have to understand what Georgia sees in our guy.

From their perspective, Felton is a savior – exactly what they crave after Jim Harrick threw up the deuces and said “peace” to a sinking ship.

By his comments on the issue, it would seem that Selig isn’t too concerned about Georgia’s potential drive to snag his top coach. He told the Daily News that giving permission wasn’t that big of deal because Georgia was in the early stages of its hiring process.

And while a jump to the Southeastern Conference would be love for Felton, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Even if ESPN college basketball analyst Andy Katz called Felton one of Georgia’s top choices.

The hole that Georgia’s program is in and will be trying to dig itself out of is too much for even a top mid-major pit bull, like Felton has become.

Talk about dirty South. I don’t think that even the lure of the SEC is enough to make Felton want to fight in that dung storm.

And if he is seriously thinking about it, he should look around and realize the lack of those kind of problems at a place like Western.

What should actually frighten Western enthusiasts more this March is the advancement of Marquette to the Final Four.

Tom Crean, who was twice passed over to fill vacancies at Western (when Ralph Willard left and again when Matt Kilcullen split), could now very well be the man to fill jobs at UCLA and North Carolina.

If Crean takes one of those gigs or if Notre Dame’s Mike Brey moves up, I think Selig’s phone might ring a few more times asking for some permissions.

While Georgia might not be the right fit for Felton, a Marquette or Notre Dame situation, among others, might be.

And that could leave the Western brass pulling out its black book and hopping on the coaching merry-go-round themselves.

Kyle Hightower is a sports columnist and sports editor of the Herald. He can be reached at 745-6291, or by email at [email protected]