Two things happened today; one was somewhat expected, the other was WHAAA?! Let's begin with the move no one saw coming.
Tom Anastos Is MSU's New Hockey Coach, A Fan Base Hits Google and Furrows Its Collective Brow
I knew I'd be writing this post this week, but I'd thought I'd be writing Danton Cole's name instead of the CCHA's commissioner. I don't even know where to start on this one. My first thought was "WHO?!" My second thought was that this had to be historic -- I can't recall a time where the commissioner of a conference stepped down to coach one of the teams in said conference.
That said, I can go over the several obvious ways why this could be a terrible hire: Anastos hasn't been a college coach since 1992, his only head coaching experience was more than two decades ago at University of Michigan-Dearborn, and there were several candidates with more coaching experience that MSU could've hired. Mark Hollis has gone completely outside the box and decided that coaching experience isn't that important when hiring a head coach.
The only way this hire works is if Anastos is able to work his contacts in the professional leagues to identify and recruit the best talent to Michigan State. I don't think tactics will be a huge sticking point; we're living in an age where a football coach that went 5-19 at his previous school is the current coach of the BCS champion. This is going to be a tremendous hire or a tremendous failure for Mark Hollis, and we'll see if this risk pays off.
Mark Montgomery Leaves Michigan State for Northern Illinois
On Monday Mark Montgomery was one of four finalists for the NIU coaching job, along with Gonzaga assistant coach Ray Giacoletti, Indiana assistant Tim Buckley, and Purdue assistant Paul Lusk. 24 hours later Montgomery appeared to be the favorite, and 24 hours after that it was made official that Montgomery was NIU's head coach. Now the word "rebuilding" has been thrown around here a few times in the context of MSU basketball, and...well, let this blurb from SB Nation's preeminent MAC Blogger, Hustle Belt's Matt Sussman enlighten you:
So is nine wins (what NIU had this year) doable next year? I really don't know. Many MAC teams will be better next year, including those within the conference. NIU may not be that much better. If Montgomery can bring any impact freshman or junior-college transfers into the program, then we can talk. Until then, hopefully Montgomery can have coffee and crumpets with Tod Kowalczyk in Toledo about the patience needed when rebuilding a hustle program.
Yeah, there's a bit of work that needs to be done. For what it's worth Mike Breese at the NIU blog Red and Black Attack says "this definitely could be an amazing hire". We at the blog wish the best of luck to Coach Montgomery in DeKalb.
Now MSU moves on to hiring a new assistant. Even though former assistant Jim Boylen is newly available after his firing from Utah, Tom Izzo says he's likely moving on to the NBA. Former Saginaw head coach Lou Dawkins said he resigned his job to coach college, and although the timing is fortuitous Lisa Byington says he's not currently in the running. Prepare for abounding speculation and the spitballing of names at a tremendous pace!