Doug Gottlieb will balance radio show hosting duties with his new job as UWGB men's basketball coach

Radio host Doug Gottlieb is the new men's basketball coach at UWGB.
Radio host Doug Gottlieb is the new men's basketball coach at UWGB.

GREEN BAY - It wasn’t a surprise hire by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, but it sure is an interesting one.

The school named Fox radio host and basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb as its new men’s basketball coach Tuesday, two days after Sundance Wicks left to take the head coaching job at Wyoming.

This could end up being a spectacular hire by UWGB athletic director Josh Moon. It could end up being a disastrous one.

But there is little question it won’t be boring.

Gottlieb will be UWGB’s coach while continuing to host “The Doug Gottlieb Show” on Fox Sports Radio during the week. He also has his “All Ball” podcast.

It’s unconventional, although Moon is going all-in on the idea after giving Gottlieb a five-year contract.

Although terms are not yet disclosed because he hasn't signed a contract, Gottlieb won't make the annual salaries Wicks was in line to make each of the next five years. Wicks was set to earn $300,000 next season and receive a $25,000 raise each season through 2028-29.

"I’d say in today’s college basketball world, especially at a mid-major institution like ours, we have to be outside the box," Moon said. "Sunny did an amazing job providing (for) this program and now Doug, his challenge is to continue that road. We went way down the road with Doug last year and felt comfortable at that point with where he is at and the whole transition of being a college coach."

Gottlieb wasn’t the only target for Moon the last few days, but the process went quickly thanks in part to their discussions last year.

Gottlieb impressed Moon, UWGB Chancellor Michael Alexander and members of the search committee during the interview process in 2023, so much so that he went from a large initial group of candidates all the way down to one of the five finalists.

There is a chance had Wicks not been offered, the job could have gone to Gottlieb.

Gottlieb said Monday night that he and Moon have stayed in contact and that he loved the job Wicks did in Green Bay during an 18-14 season. He expressed interest in the job but said it was “news to him,” that he already had been offered it. Moon also said Monday no offer had been made and that he was working multiple streams.

By Tuesday morning, an offer officially was extended and accepted.

Gottlieb is the 10th coach in program history.

"Every kid has a dream growing up, some want to be firefighter, others want to be president. I have always wanted to be a head basketball coach at the Division I level,” Gottlieb said in a statement released by the school.

How will Gottlieb balance 'The Doug Gottlieb Show' and UWGB?

So, how exactly is this going to work? How does a job that takes up most days and nights for any college coach going to work with someone who has other responsibilities at the same time?

Gottlieb’s work ethic can’t be questioned with all his roles, but there is an element of time management that must be addressed.

Moon did not even rule out that Gottlieb would continue in a role as a color commentator for other college basketball games, saying it’s something that still must be worked out.

Gottlieb won’t be the first college coach to also have a radio job. Former longtime Vermont coach Tom Brennan co-hosted a morning show for much of his career at the school.

“It’s a balance,” Moon said. “He is going to have to thread that needle. It’s a very delicate balance. I think with how many years he has been doing that, he has that system and that process. He’s a guy who it’s not going to be from a lack of working. He’s working all the time.

“His thing that I’ve challenged him on is what is he going to stop doing? Some of the stuff, like he’s calling radio for college basketball games. That’s the stuff, he’s going to have to sort through that. For us, in terms of his Fox Sports radio piece, that’s a limited window. We feel comfortable he can balance that and hire really good assistants that have been in the game for a while that he can rely on to help navigate those things, because that’s going to be important to him.”

Perhaps another concern is not just that Gottlieb has a radio show, but what he says on the radio show.

He now not only represents himself, but an entire university and a college basketball team.

What happens when he says something that generates unflattering reactions that have nothing to do with his day job at UWGB?

After all, it was only two years ago when he tweeted out to the world that sports agent Casey Close neglected to tell baseball star Freddie Freeman about a final contract offer from the Atlanta Braves before he left Atlanta to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The only problem is that it wasn’t true. Gottlieb apologized and admitted the claim was false. A libel lawsuit against Gottlieb was then dropped.

That could serve as a bit of a distraction for a coach and a team in between questions about Marcus Hall’s rebounding and an upcoming big game against rival UW-Milwaukee.

“Yeah, he has opinions,” Moon said. “That’s what he’s paid to do from that route. He is going to have to thread that needle and balance that, clearly. It’s a delicate balance. It’s an art. I feel like he can do that. He knows there are lines that are there and that expectations have been set in our structure of how this is going to work.”

Gottlieb jumps right into Division I coaching

Gottlieb has no college coaching experience, although he was part of the coaching staff multiple times as either an assistant or head coach for the United States at the Maccabiah Games, an international Jewish and Israeli multisport event held quadrennially in Israel.

There is no question he knows the game.

The Milwaukee native is among the all-time assist leaders in NCAA history during a career that started at the University of Notre Dame. He spent just one season at the school before a well-known incident in which he stole credit cards from fellow students, something he wrote about at length in an essay for The Athletic in 2018.

He eventually ended up at Oklahoma State, where he was a strong player for three seasons from 1997 to 2000 and still holds several school records.

Gottlieb interviewed at Oklahoma State twice when the job opened and was considered a legitimate contender both times.

His late father, Bob, was the coach at UW-Milwaukee for five seasons from 1975 to 1980.

It’s a good bet he will want an experienced staff to help. There will be more than just X’s and O’s to deal with, including making sure players are doing well in the classroom the way Wicks did after the program struggled in that area in recent years.

There likely will still be plenty of doubters about the hire entering the summer, but the feeling Moon got from Gottlieb during the interview process last year makes him believe the positives far outweigh the risks.

“I think the way he carries himself and the ability to multitask,” Moon said. “He has been a guy who in his professional career has kind of been self-made. He has won in everything he has done. Really successful. He’s just one of those people like (UWGB women’s) Coach Kayla (Karius), they just win in everything they do. He won at Oklahoma State, he was a star there. That was evident when talking to him. He has the ability to connect with people. He sort of has that Midwestern vibe.”

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Gottlieb will have to jump right in with recruiting

Gottlieb will have some major work to do in the hours before and after his radio show.

He must hit the transfer portal in a big way in order to help reshape a roster that still had three spots open before Wicks left and could have a few more in the coming days and weeks.

One of the team’s best remaining players, Horizon League freshman of the year David Douglas Jr., entered the portal Monday, although he said there still is a chance he could return.

It's a good bet Douglas and some of his teammates would be welcome to join Wicks in Wyoming this season.

Gottlieb has built enough connections that recruiting players here might not be a big issue, and he might be a strong asset in the NIL era.

“He has to,” Moon said. “Everything else is important, but that is really, really important in today’s world. That is critical, and yes, I do believe he will help energize our community in this region but also bring in some opportunities that weren’t otherwise available.”

This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: UWGB men's basketball hires Doug Gottlieb, an 'outside the box' move