Having unsuccessfully tabbed a longtime Duke assistant as its previous head coach, Stanford is going with a lighter shade of blue this time.
The Cardinal have hired former North Carolina assistant and current UAB head coach Jerod Haase.
Whereas Johnny Dawkins had no head coaching experience when Stanford plucked him from Duke eight years ago, Haase has a track record of more than just working alongside Roy Williams. Haase compiled an 80-53 record in four years at UAB, leading the Blazers to an NCAA tournament upset of third-seeded Iowa State last March and then following that up by winning Conference USA by three games this season.
"Jerod has not only demonstrated his excellent coaching and teaching abilities over the years, but he also shares the values that make Stanford special," Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir said in a statement. "I have no doubt that Jerod will soon lead our program to Pac-12 championships and that we will be a regular participant in the NCAA Tournament.
The Stanford program Haase inherits battled UCLA and Arizona for Pac-10 supremacy throughout the late 90s and early 2000s but has declined since Mike Montgomery stepped down. While the Cardinal toppled an Andrew Wiggins-led Kansas team to reach the 2014 Sweet 16, that was their lone appearance in the NCAA tournament in Dawkins' eight-year tenure.
What Stanford has to hope is that Haase can recruit as well as Dawkins did but doesn't endure the same struggles trying to get that talent to play to its potential. Dawkins landed coveted recruits Dwight Powell, Chasson Randle and Reid Travis among others, but he never finished better than 10-8 in league play in any of his eight seasons.
The key to winning at Stanford is embracing the academic standards rather than fighting them. A successful coach has to recruit nationally, identify prospects with the academic pedigree to earn admission at Stanford and then sell the combination of a top-notch education and the chance to compete in a power conference.
"We will compete for championships by doing it the right way and graduating young men who will go on to accomplish great things in the world," Haase said in a statement. "I am humbled by the opportunity afforded to me by Bernard, and my family and I are eager to get started."
While Haase is a South Lake Tahoe, Calif. native and played the 1992-93 seasons at Cal before transferring to Kansas, he would be well served hiring assistants familiar with the landscape at Stanford and the Pac-12.
One option might be former Portland coach Eric Reveno, who played under Montgomery at Stanford and later served as an assistant at Stanford from 1997-2006. Another option might be former Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating, an ex-assistant at UCLA who helped assemble Ben Howland's three Final Four teams from 2006-08.
Haase is fortunate to inherit a program that has some talent. Forwards Rosco Allen and Travis and center Michael Humphrey form the nucleus of a strong frontcourt, and the anticipated return of Robert Cartwright will bolster a backcourt that lacked a capable point guard all last season.
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