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Jeff Eisenberg

UTEP takes a gamble attaching its reputation to Floyd

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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I already gave you my take on St. John's hiring Steve Lavin. Here's a few other quick thoughts on some of the major coaching news from the past couple days:

UTEP hires Tim Floyd

UTEP's decision to hire Tim Floyd proves one thing: The Miners are willing to win at all costs. Floyd's in-game coaching is top notch and his ability to recruit the Louisiana area will keep UTEP competitive with Memphis and near the top of Conference USA year in and year out, but his reputation for cutting corners is not undeserved.

There's no way UTEP would have hired Floyd without assurances from the NCAA that he will not be individually penalized for the alleged O.J. Mayo payout currently under investigation, but what the Miners are risking here is a repeat offense. Indiana took on a similar risk when it hired Kelvin Sampson. Look where that program is now.

Oregon swings for the fences

Oregon may yet land the big-name coach it wants to coincide with the opening of its new arena next season, but the Ducks are killing themselves from a PR standpoint by allowing the names of their targets to leak out. Tom Izzo? Jamie Dixon? Tubby Smith? Great choices, albeit totally unrealistic in the case of Izzo and perhaps Dixon. But each time one of these guys rejects Oregon, the program's prestige takes a hit in the mind of media members, fans and most importantly recruits.

The Ducks will now likely move on to their Plan B candidates, guys who will now be looked at as second and third choices unfortunately. That's a shame because if Nike money manages to land a Randy Bennett from Saint Mary's, he would be a great choice who would have Oregon back competing for NCAA tournament berths in no time.

DePaul's still without a coach

DePaul has known it would need a new coach since January, yet the Blue Demons' coaching search seems to be going nowhere fast. Even after announcing their willingness to shell out a $2 million salary, among the highest in the Big East, DePaul has struck out on Ben Howland, Jamie Dixon, Tony Barbee and Seth Greenberg.

The only possible explanation here is that DePaul has now set its sights on Brian Gregory, the Dayton coach who has refused all interviews because his team is still alive in the NIT. The Blue Demons could salvage this entire search by landing Gregory, an established coach with Chicago ties, but if he decides to remain at Dayton, this could be an all-timer for misrun coaching searches.

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