The Missouri Tigers are looking for their next men’s basketball coach. They need a home run. They can’t afford another quick turnover. They can’t afford for the program to be ditched again. Who is out there who could save this program?
Let’s get this out of the way. I’m a Kansas Jayhawk, through and through. I miss the rivalry. I am ticked that my coach won’t play Missouri. I wish I had a say in the matter, but I don’t.
On Sunday, KC Kingdom writer Jared Barzee made a list of coaches he thought could help the program get off to a fresh start. His list includes Wichita State hot commodity, Gregg Marshall, which would be a big hire right now.
A few nights ago, I had a conversation on twitter (yes it is possible) with TigerDan (@MizzouKCfan4). His wish list is topped by Shaka Smart and Ben Howland, both great choices, and both would be home runs.
Joseph Nardone of Bracket Busters reported this morning that Tim Floyd is a candidate. I’m not sure that this is the guy Missouri should trust with their program right now.
I have another candidate who would be a fantastic hire for the Missouri Tigers, if he could be persuaded to take the job, which is highly doubtful – Jon Sundvold.
Now, I was in high school when Sundvold and Steve Stipanovich were dominating the Jayhawks. Man, I loathed those guys. I lived in rural south central Kansas, in the middle of Kansas State Wildcat country. As a kid, I decided that Kansas was going to be my team just to be contrary. I was even a big fan of the Shockers for a while because Xavier McDaniel was my favorite player.
Without even understanding the nature of the Kansas/Missouri rivalry, I couldn’t stand Sundvold, Stipanovich, and Norm Stewart.
Sundvold went on to a nice pro career after beating up on the Jayhawks for 4 years, playing nine seasons in NBA, and scoring 3,886 points. When he retired, he went into broadcasting. I thought he was all right, but even then, he was still Jon Sundvold, and I didn’t like listening to him.
Finally, the inevitable happened. Sundvold did a Missouri/Kansas game. I remember being irritated to no end that I was going to have to sit through a game listening to a slanted broadcast. As the game progressed, I realized something. Sundvold was being the ultimate professional. He wasn’t being a Tiger homer. He was offering insightful analysis of both teams. If you didn’t know he was a Tiger, you could not have told by his broadcast.
As much as it pains me, Jon Sundvold has been one of my favorite announcers ever since. He offers smart, insightful, critical when necessary, analysis for all games. He is entertaining to listen to, and he knows the game inside and out. I never think he works enough, and I know that is by his choice.
This past season, I was watching a college basketball game, and Jimmy Dykes was doing the color commentary. I am totally paraphrasing here, but he mentioned there was only one broadcaster he would ever go out of his way to listen to – Jon Sundvold. I thought that was the ultimate compliment coming from a peer.
I know Sundvold has never coached before, and that could be an issue. I also know he has shown no interest whatsoever in coaching the Tigers or anyone else. He seemingly works as a broadcaster when he wants. It’s a great gig.
All of this aside, I truly believe he could be a great coach, and that he could save the Missouri basketball program. He is an upstanding citizen, and has an incredible basketball mind. I can’t imagine he wouldn’t be embraced by fans and boosters alike.
The problem, though, is he has never shown any inclination that it is what he wants to do in life. He won’t be pressured into doing something he isn’t comfortable with. You have to admire that in him.
If I were a Missouri fan, though, I would want this guy as my basketball coach.
When I bounced the idea off TigerDan on twitter, he was all for it. He mentioned he knew Sundvold has no coaching experience but that didn’t seem to bother TigerDan.
Since Kansas doesn’t have to play Missouri anymore, I’m all for it, too. If he could be convinced, no one would be better for the University of Missouri than Jon Sundvold.
I just don’t think it will ever happen.
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