Chris Oliver coming home to McMaster makes too much sense not to happen.
It is as easy to say that today as it is for our esteemed and valued commenters to say Oliver has confirmed he's not leaving the Windsor Lancers to join the OUA West rival Marauders. That might remain the case for a week or two, since a hiring process takes time, formal interviews and what-not, but there's more of a logic to an Oliver move to Mac than with any of the other names that have bubbled to the surface.
(Update, May 13: Mac has denied a report Oliver's been hired, but this is an opinion piece.)
This is nothing more than a casual observation. McMaster athletic director Jeff Giles has some fence-mending to do in Hamilton basketball circles after the way Raso's release went over in the media, traditional, social and otherwise. It's also the middle of May, a couple weeks ahead of when a bumper recruiting class goes from being a provisional to being confirmed. It would be better to have a coach in place than not have one, especially with the players the departed Joe Raso lined up, Winnipeg whiz kid Keith Omoerah (who says he's coming even with a different coach) and the Hamilton tandem of big men Taylor Black and and Satar Wahidi. All of the stakeholders, along with the incoming and returning players, could use some reassurance.
Enter Oliver. He and his spouse have Hamilton ties. He followed a path not unlike Raso's in his coaching career, success at the OFSAA level with St. Mary's Secondary School, assistant at Mac. People presumed he would might up being Raso's successor -- and who's to say the events of the past couple weeks have just accelerated that process? Raso might have only coached so long as he had his son, second-year guard Victor Raso, on the team. It's also somewhat like a player transferring -- it's a double bonus of gaining an asset at the expense of a competitor.
It is reasonable to ask, why leave Windsor. Basketball is high-priority there and it's a hoops hotbed.
However, there are plenty of coaches in CIS, in the NCAA and at the major-league level who, even if they had a good situation, always had an eye toward a homecoming, coaching the team they once played for, or in their hometown. Greg Marshall built a terrific football team at McMaster before ending up back at his alma mater, Western, by way of the CFL. Not too far from Hamilton, there's Ken Murray, who coached at Regina before coming back to Brock. It's like what Bear Bryant said in the 1950s when he left Texas A&M for Alabama: "Mama called."
It would not come as a shock if Oliver stayed put. The reasons it would work for McMaster are just too many to ignore.
There could be some resentment toward the new guy since Giles' initial move upset the coaching fraternity, but that might happen no matter who is hired. It's not enough reason to not take a good job.
Meantime, while we're here, some readers have raised concerns about the advertised salary ($64,000-$83,000) and the hours (35 per week) in McMaster's job posting. For everyone's sake (including the guy saying this), please keep in mind a lot of those numbers are barely worth the bandwidth used to post them on the Internet.
Job hirings at a university involve a lot of rigmarole. The advertised salary is often artificially low, since posting a higher figure might run afoul of the university employees' collective agreement. Once the people hiring have their person, they can go to HR and make a case, based on market factors, to offer a higher salary. Mac's next coach probably will make a fair chunk of change of more than $83Gs per year.
This came up when Guelph was advertising for a football coach to replace Kyle Walters. Point being, those numbers are not to be taken too literally. (Thanks to a couple friends who work at different universities who explained this.)
Oliver new head coach at Mac? (Ted Michaels, AM900 CHML)
McMaster athletics looking for change (Larry Moko, Hamilton Spectator)