Reports have surfaced over the last couple of days that Texas A&M has reached out to former Knicks coach and ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy about its opening.
The Aggies are looking for someone to take over for Mark Turgeon, who was named the head coach at Maryland on Monday.
Van Gundy coaching a college team isn’t as far fetched as some may think. Van Gundy, 49, amassed a 430-318 record in 11 years coaching the Knicks and Rockets. He made nine playoff appearances, which included two trips to the NBA Final with the Knicks.
Van Gundy, known to be a defensive-minded coach, would fit right in with the college game. If he could get grown men to adapt to his style of play, he should have no problems doing it with 18 to 22 year olds.
The question is would he leave a cushy gig as an ESPN/ABC analyst.
He’s reportedly paid well and doesn’t work year around. A college job would require a full season of coaching as well as recruiting in the off season, a facet of the game that NBA coaches rarely have to do.
Van Gundy’s contract with ESPN/ABC runs through the 2012-2013 season. It’s unclear if there is a buyout in his deal if a coaching opportunity arises. Even if there was a buyout it’s hard to see him changing course for a college job at a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 school.
Texas A&M has the resources to pay Van Gundy a hefty salary, but the Aggies, despite six straight NCAA Tournament appearances, have never been a powerhouse. And Van Gundy has said in the past he would return to the NBA sidelines, not college.
Stranger things have occurred, but Van Gundy leaving the bright lights of the NBA for Texas A&M? Probably not happening. You can't blame the Aggies for trying, though.