Jays Hire Greg McDermott

Posted on April 27, 2010 by Danny O'Byrne

The powers that be at Creighton moved quickly in their search for a new men’s basketball head coach. There will be a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at D.J. Sokol Arena on Creighton’s campus to introduce Greg McDermott as Dana Altman’s replacement. Altman was introduced Monday afternoon as Oregon’s new coach. McDermott’s deal is rumored to be worth $10 million over nine years.

McDermott has spent the last four years at Iowa State where he compiled a 59-68 overall record and an 18-46 record in the Big 12. Prior to that, he spent five years at Northern Iowa, one of Creighton’s Missouri Valley Conference rivals. In his last three years at the helm of the Panthers, McDermott went to three straight NCAA Tournaments, losing in the first round all three times. In 2004, his UNI squad finished tied for second in the MVC, his best-ever finish. He had a 90-63 record at UNI, which included a 49-41 mark in the conference. Added to a 3-8 record against Valley competition at Iowa State, he is 52-49 all time against MVC foes.

Prior to Northern Iowa, McDermott spent one year at the helm of North Dakota State, where he went 15-11. His first head coaching job came at Wayne State College in Nebraska, a Division II school, where he went 116-53.

McDermott was born in Cascade, Iowa. He is 45 years old.

Check back today and tomorrow for more details and coverage of the press conference.

After the reports of Altman’s departure were confirmed, Max Univers put together a list of possible replacement candidates. Here is what he wrote about McDermott:

McDermott is an interesting name, because he’s a Valley guy — he played for Northern Iowa and remains in their Top 25 in career scoring, and he coached for Northern Iowa and built the foundation for what Ben Jacobsen is currently doing, including three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths from 2004-2006. He has extensive ties with midwest high school and AAU coaches, and his five seasons at Wayne State make him a familiar face in Nebraska. He proved he can win in the MVC and recruited many of the same “traditional” recruiting grounds as Creighton.

He’s also failed by any reasonable measure at Iowa State, and would likely be on the hot seat there if not for budgetary worries. From a yearly exodus of their best players to an inability to beat cross-state rival Iowa to presiding over the continued slide into national irrelevance of a once-proud program, ISU fans would likely help him move if he were to accept another job. He also was consistently out-coached by Dana Altman, with the Jays owning a lopsided record against his Panther teams despite their overall success. And he never won a game in the NCAA Tournament.

16 years ago, Dana Altman was on the outs at another Big 8/Big 12 school and bailed before he could be fired, came to Creighton and was very successful. He stuck around for 16 years because he’d seen the other side of the coin in big conference hoops, and appreciated what he had rather than pining for what he didn’t. Could McDermott take a similar career track? Its possible, and while his name would not necessarily excite Jaybackers or die-hard fans, he would probably be a solid hire that could maintain what Altman has built.

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