Oregon State's coaching situation has been nothing if not unconventional, though when your coach for the previous six years was the brother of the First Lady, unconventional is sort of what you sign up for.
Beavers athletic director Bob De Carolis gave coach Craig Robinson a vote of confidence on March 28 — the same time when most hot seat coaches are fired — but decided over a month later, on May 5, that Robinson would be fired. Surely, De Carolis couldn't have just begun pondering the future of the program in April, after Robinson missed his sixth straight NCAA Tournament, so why the wait? The answer seemed to be Ben Howland.
Oregon State will never admit its reason for waiting so long to fire Robinson, but the timing of the decision shows the bleak outlook for the program. Did the Beavers just wait around for everyone else to get a coach before they acted, knowing they would get just about the last choice of any major-conference school? Sadly, that might be the only realistic option for a major-conference program that hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 1990 and has a poor local recruiting base.
Still, things were looking up when the bigger programs passed on former UCLA coach Ben Howland, who despite his messy firing, brought UCLA to seven NCAA Tournaments and three Final Fours in 10 years. If it worked, it would, at the very least, be a change of pace for a program that needed a lot of rebuilding after losing five starters from last season. Plus, Howland figured to have recruiting relationships in Southern California that could help OSU establish itself there, along with the other Pac-12 programs (though to be fair to Robinson, recruiting wasn't his issue). However, it appears Howland-to-OSU isn't going to happen.
Ben Howland is not going to be the next coach at Oregon State, a source told http://t.co/naWP44Z4z1. "Not the right fit," source said.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) May 13, 2014
Now, the search shifts to Arizona assistant Damon Stoudamire, and according to Gary Parrish of CBS, there appears to be more mutual interest than there was with Howland.
A former NBA Rookie of the Year, Stoudamire is "very interested" in the job, a source said. If offered, multiple sources told CBSSports.com that Stoudamire is expected to accept. "Anything can happen," a source said. "But I'd be shocked if Damon isn't Oregon State's next coach."
As Sports Illustrated's George Dohrmann, maybe this will work out even better for Oregon State.
Was always skeptical Howland would go for OSU given ridiculous lack of talent & fact he'd have to recruit/work where he's burned AAU bridges— George Dohrmann (@georgedohrmann) May 13, 2014
OSU would have had to pay Howland $1.5M or more and can get Stoudamire for half that and he'll be hungrier and a better recruiter. Win-win— George Dohrmann (@georgedohrmann) May 13, 2014
If he takes the job, Stoudamire certainly faces an uphill battle, one that the brother of the First Lady, with all his national cache, could never overcome. But Oregon State could do a lot worse than Stoudamire, and the Beavers have to take a chance on someone, since recent history has shown that whoever takes the job in Corvallis is taking a big chance on his career.