Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Quality Should Color FSU's Choice

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Quality Should Color FSU's Choice

Article excerpt

The next basketball coach at Florida State should be hired with

up-tempo, Kentucky-like efficiency. No need for long, drawn-out

searches or interviewing a parade of applicants.

If FSU Athletic Director Dave Hart paid close attention to the

hiring process used by Kentucky's C.M. Newton -- his basketball

coach at Alabama -- in landing Tubby Smith, then replacing Pat

Kennedy ought to be one of the easiest undertakings Hart has in

his administrative career.

Newton simply identified the best candidate, put an offer on

the table within three days of Rick Pitino's departure, and had

a new coach almost as fast as it takes to launch a 3-pointer.

FSU isn't Kentucky, but it's still an ACC job. There'll be no

shortage of capable applicants who can take Kennedy's recruits

and make the Seminoles an immediate NCAA Tournament team.

But in making that hire, Hart should copy Kentucky in another

respect: Don't let skin color influence the final decision.

Just as Kentucky hired Smith, an African-American, because he

was clearly the best available candidate, FSU must do the same.

Unfortunately, because FSU has never had an African-American

head coach in any sport, the underlying belief is that the

school's history will make it difficult for Hart not to let race

enter into the hiring equation.

"[The race issue] is not a concern," Hart said. "There's no

preconceived notion that we're only going to go out and

interview minority candidates."

Hart did concede there were at least two minorities on his

"short list" of six candidates. It's a good bet it includes Old

Dominion's Jeff Capel, Tulane's Perry Clark or Tulsa's Steve

Robinson.

All have the pedigree that should attract FSU. Not their

African-American heritage, but the fact that Capel (twice at

ODU, once at North Carolina A&T) and Clark have led teams to

three NCAA Tournament appearances in recent years and also

coached at ACC schools. …

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