A West Texas Stunner. Miner AD Bob Stull has lured former Chicago Bulls and USC Trojans head coach Tim Floyd back to the place where he started his coaching career over 30 years ago as an assistant to Don Haskins. This is a shrewd move by Bob Stull. He's doing what he thinks is best for Miner basketball. I respect it. I like it.
A Quick Summary of the USC Allegations
There is a reason why Tim Floyd won 20 games in three consecutive season at USC, went to three straight NCAA Tournaments (including a Sweet 16 appearance) but is no longer coaching Southern Cal. He resigned from USC amid a looming NCAA scandal related to alleged cash payouts to one of O.J. Mayo's personal associates, Rodney Guillory. If you want a complete breakdown of the Floyd allegations, go here, where Yahoo! Sports writers Charles Robinson and Jason Cole run through the alleged payments.
Last month, Floyd testified before the NCAA Committee on Infractions where he, and USC, presented their case denying the allegations made by a "confidant" of Mayo's. Floyd, no longer employed by USC, had no legal obligation to testify. But, he went anyway and stated his case to the committee. He didn't run from the accusations. He faced them head on, even after he felt USC's athletic department turned their back on him.
Before the hearing, USC announced self imposed sanctions, including vacating 21 wins from the 2007-2008 season, scholarship reductions, and a ban on postseason play in 2009 (which included the PAC 10 Tournament). The NCAA Committee on Infractions can impose additional penalties, including some on Floyd, but it has not yet announced a decision on the case. I'm confident that Floyd assured Bob Stull that he didn't commit any violations. Stull must be confident that the Committee on Infractions will not impose any punishments on Floyd that could effect his ability to perform the essential functions of his job at UTEP.
The Land of Second Chances
We've been here before. Mike Price came to El Paso right on the heels of a scandal at Alabama. The community has embraced Price and Miner football has never been more popular in El Paso. Miner fans have embraced players who have struggled academically, legally, or who were simply given up on at bigger programs. We gave Fred Rouse a shot and wanted to give Andre Jones one too. We supported Derrick Caracter and were proud that he was able to find redemption, and a level of maturity, in El Paso.
El Paso is a working class town. We don't judge others who have made mistakes because we realize that there are no perfect people out there. We do demand that once you're in El Paso, after being given a second chance, a coach or player works just as hard as everyone else does. If a coach can do that, as Mike Price has, El Paso will embrace him and make him as comfortable as possible. Coach Price has found a home in El Paso. He hasn't applied for every open job out there in an effort to move on, or move up.
I think Bob Stull rolled the dice on Tim Floyd because he knows that he'll do the same. I don't expect Tim Floyd to win 20 games and take off to Texas A&M, or whatever other higher paying job opens up next year. Floyd's been around the block. He's been coaching for 32 years. He's now 56 years old. I think, for the first time in a long time, UTEP fans know they have a basketball coach who is willing to call El Paso home until he hangs 'em up for good.