UPDATE: Apparently an announcement is forthcoming at 3PM today to officially make Neu the head coach. Stay tuned.
As expected, an announcement hasn’t come today (yet) about Mike Neu being named the head coach at Ball State nor has an announcement about an announcement been announced. Keeping up? This is not abnormal,not unexpected, and doesn’t signify (at least to me) any sort of problem or potholes with the search. Everyone I have talked to, whom I trust implicitly for reasons far beyond information they have shared with the Pylon in years past (Lembo hire, among other things) are still confident in their information and expect that to become officially official within the next 24 hours. Things for hiring in any company move at a snail’s pace and when you’re dealing with a state supported/funded job it decreases that speed exponentially. Public universities aren’t built for efficient things.
Someone emailed me this morning and asked whether or not I was worried. On a scale from 0-100 with 100 being extreme panic, the OTP Worry Level is at a 5, holding steady at that place since we broke the agreement in principle yesterday. Is there a chance it falls through? There’s a chance for anything. Hell, there’s a chance that Mark Sandy hires me (admittedly, a small one, and I’ll go on record that I am not a candidate). So the short answer is no, I’m not worried. I think at this point we’re at the “Get everyone’s signatures on things and make some travel plans for important folks” kind of deal, and that does take time.
Ironically enough, the story we broke yesterday about the banquet being canceled is, to me, the biggest tipping of the hand about what’s about to happen. I would think the coaching staff is likely almost all, if not entirely all, out of a job once their current contracts expire in March. That’s the heartbreaking part of this story, as Tom Davis indicated on our record-setting OTPcast about the departure of CPL, that so many good and decent people have (or are about to) lose their jobs. It’s further emphasis in case you needed it that this is a business above all else.
The second most received quandary about this announcement is whether or not Sean Payton staying with the Saints changes anything regarding Neu’s transition back to the college game and his alma mater. I would say yes and no. I’m of the opinion that the whole impetus for Neu searching was the level of certainty that those around the professional game that Payton would not be back in New Orleans next season for one of a whole host of reasons. With Wednesday’s announcement that Payton was staying in NOLA and the organization was ok with that, I’m sure that made Neu at least take a pause. Pure speculation is that if that news came out a week or two earlier, this search might have had a very different end. For once, timing appears to have been on the side of Ball State. That’s a nice change of pace.
So no reason to worry or panic yet. If we haven’t seen Mark Sandy at a podium followed by Neu by the close of business Tuesday, then my worry increases exponentially and I’d say somewhere along the way something happened. Let’s hope we don’t get to that point. I’m confident we won’t.