I don't know about the rest of you, but ever since Jeff Capel was let go I've been frustrated with just how little information surrounding Joe C's coaching search has been available to we the fans. I've been eagerly anticipating the first "sources indicate . . ." story to come out and now courtesy of The Norman Transcript we finally have it.
A story in the Sunday edition indicates that sources close to the OU basketball program have informed them that Marquette's Buzz Williams is the #1 man atop the Sooners head coaching wish list.
"He is the guy," one source said.
Williams' local ties (he's an OCU grad) have been well documented, though I think it's fair to say have also been a little over inflated with respect to him being a better fit because he's an "OK guy." Don't get me wrong, I think he would be a terrific hire and the more I've read up on the guy the bigger fan I've become of his. He's not my number one choice, that would be Josh Pastner, but I'd consider Williams to be 1A and if that's as far down as OU has to go on my wish list then that'll be just fine with me.
The natural mitigating factor in all of this is $$$$. The Transcript article makes an obvious, but necessary point.
But OU’s interest doesn’t make landing Williams a slam dunk. One road block could be money. Marquette is a private school. Therefore coaches’ salaries are not a matter of public record. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Williams’ current contract to be for six seasons and pay him $1.5 million per year. Coaches rarely make a move without a securing a pay raise of less than 30 percent unless they feel their seat is getting too hot.
Keep in mind the assumed $2 million buyout OU had to give Capel and the dollar signs start to add up quick. However, if you believe our guy Redhawk (and why wouldn't you!) OU officials are prepared to spend whatever it takes to get their guy. And for good reason given the current state of this program, no expense should be spared to restore Sooner basketball!
Now Williams and Marquette are obviously focused on their tourney game today and I would fully expect Joe C. to have been respectful of that fact. However, I also expect that if this report is true that he's also had at least informal talks with Williams' representatives and should Marquette lose today the urgency to get a deal ton to increase significantly. Obviously only time will tell, but at least we finally have some kind of (reliable?) tangible information to talk about.