|Search for Jankovich’s replacement underway|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Tuesday, 01 May 2012 18:19|
ISU athletic director Gary Friedman has cited the ISU basketball program’s future as exciting and that he anticipates there will be a lot of interest in the position of head men’s basketball coach. Tim Jankovich’s five years at the helm of the Redbirds came to an end last week as he left the Redbird program to take a coach-in-waiting position at Southern Methodist University.
While there has been some speculation as to who will be taking the position, Friedman will not comment further on the topic until he has a new head coach to introduce.
Since the Redbirds ended their season on a high note in the NIT in March, speculation had been swirling about if Jankovich would stay or go, leading other coaches from around the country to eye his position before it was vacant.
“Have there been calls? Yes there have been calls but with respect to Tim as our head coach, my only conversations [are] with coach Jankovich,” Friedman said.
But now that the position is officially available, the search is underway.
“This is an open position obviously and we’re going to go through an open search and the best candidates will rise to the top,” Friedman said.
He stated that he, along with President Al Bowman and the chairman of the board of trustees, will be looking for someone who is a “good fit” and someone who values the academics of the student athletes.
“We want to do [the search] the right way. We’re going to do it within the rules and we’re going to do everything first class,” Friedman said.
As for the team’s take on the process, they are leaving their trust in the hands of the ISU dministration.
“I’m just here to play basketball,” junior Jackie Carmichael said. “They’re going to take care of us and make sure we’re taken care of. They’re not going to leave us out there stranded so I trust them.”
“I think that at the end of the day [the team] is a group of brothers and we’re going to take care of each other and we’re just worried about next year and making our run down [to the Missouri Valley Conference] title,” Carmichael added.
Coaching changes can be an adjustment for a team, but as the men’s basketball team returns all of its players, the future prospects looks good for the ’Birds.
“Everyone wants to stick together. We’ve had such a great season from last year, we just want to keep it going for next year,” junior Jon Ekey said. “[Jankovich did] teach us everything we needed to know to win and with everyone coming back, I think that’s just going to be a big help.
“We know what we need to know already, so hopefully we can just go out there and just play the way we need to no matter who the coach is,” Ekey said.
Regarding the possibility that one of the current assistant men’s basketball coaches will take over the position or stick around to be an assistant — it’s up in the air, but it’s an outcome that Ekey would like.
“It’d be great, especially being here as long as I have, I have a great relationship with them … we’ve talked to them also just about how things can be changing here in the next couple months, so we’re ready for it,” Ekey said.