What’s the deal with search firms?

Search companies are starting to get bad names in the coaching business and Boston University is a good example of this. BU Athletic Director Mike Lynch hired Parker Executive Search based out of Atlanta for help. This is crazy on so many fronts. Financially, they are believed to be paying in the range of $75,000 for PES’s services. Add this to the buyout that Dennis Wolff is owed, and this is becoming and expensive search.

Two candidates that we know PES has contacted are Siena’s Fran McCaffrey and Tennessee associate head coach Tony Jones. Again, a little silly here – McCaffrey has a better job! He has two straight NCAA Tournament appearances (with first round wins over Vanderbilt and Ohio State), has a great returning team coming back, and plays in a better conference. Why even make this call (or email in this case)? Tony Jones has zero connection to BU. He has a great reputation as a recruiter with stops at UW-Milwaukee, Buffalo, and Toledo. Obviously he’s qualified, but there are so many guys in New England who are just as qualified. BU shouldn’t need a search firm to find UConn’s Andre LaFleur, or BC’s Pat Duquette. They are two rising stars in the business who are in the Terrier’s back yard. Also, there is a lot of talk in Terrier-land that former Wright State head coach Paul Biancardi could be back in the mix. He was an assistant at BC and Ohio State and currently works for ESPNU. When Dennis Wolff was hired 15 years ago, he barely beat out Biancardi. There are some who are still at the school that thought they should have hired him the first time around. Bentley’s Jay Lawson is also involved here, and would be an excellent hire if they want a guy who knows how to win as a head coach. At Bentley, Lawson is 364-171 over the past 18 seasons. The Falcons were 32-1 in 06-07, and 34-1 in 07-08.

My point is that there are so many guys that should be on BU’s radar without the help of a search firm. It doesn’t appear that Kentucky is using a search firm in their pursuit of John Calipari. Same for Virginia – AD Craig Littlepage did his job, found the guy he liked, and hired him. It seems like a lot of money to pay, especially with a qualified AD who is already being paid to make these decisions.