It took Oregon almost six weeks to settle on Creighton's Dana Altman as its new head basketball coach. The Bluejays didn't even bother to wait one full day before finding his replacement.
Iowa State coach Greg McDermott, who previously built Northern Iowa into a Missouri Valley Conference power, is on the verge of accepting Creighton's offer, according to multiple reports. McDermott likely will be introduced as Creighton's new coach by Tuesday.
“I'd like if it were done now,'' Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen told the Omaha World-Herald. "I wanted it done yesterday. It can't take a lot of time It took Oregon 30 days to find their new coach. If it takes me 30 days, my next question I'll be asking is whether you want fries with that Big Mac.''
Although the Bluejays will obviously miss a coach who took them to seven NCAA tournaments in nine seasons from 1999 to 2007, they also might benefit from a fresh start. Altman's program had slipped a bit since he left for Arkansas in 2007 only to change his mind the next day, missing the NCAA tournament each of the past three seasons and failing to win 20 games in 2010 for the first time in 11 years.
McDermott might be capable of restoring Creighton back to the level it was at a few years ago when the Qwest Center was full each night, NCAA tournament berths were expected and Nebraska football fans donned Creighton blue during basketball season. The former Northern Iowa coach led the Panthers to three NCAA tournament berths in five seasons earlier this decade before bolting for Iowa State.
Why would a Big 12 coach who had already left the Missouri Valley Conference want to return on his own volition? Simple: Job security.
McDermott was nine games below .500 in his four seasons at Iowa State and was lucky to survive an underachieving 15-17 record this season in which the Cyclones began with NCAA tournament aspirations yet went 4-12 in the Big 12. Leading scorers Craig Brackins and Marquis Gilstrap both left for the pros, so there would have been little hope of turning things around next year and little chance of McDermott surviving another losing season.
At Creighton, there's the job security of a 10-year, $9 million contract awaiting McDermott, according to reports. Not bad for a guy who would have needed a miracle to avoid unemployment this time next year were he still at Iowa State.