When Ohio State fans heard that the Buckeye basketball program was looking for a new coach, the response was, “Buhhhhhh, why are you even thinking about hiring me?
That’s just crazy.”
The answer was that the program was in desperate need of a new voice and one that could bring a fresh perspective to a team that has been plagued by injuries and turnover for a number of years.
And while the Buckettes staff has been in the news a number the past few months for issues like the firing of the head coach, a lack of depth and depth of the recruiting staff and the general lack of success at the level of recruiting that many of its previous coaches enjoyed, the team had an answer for all of those issues.
“I just feel like if you look at all the coaches that have been there, that have done it at a level where we’ve had success, we’re going to bring the same type of experience to the job,” former Ohio State head coach Pat Fitzgerald said.
“I feel like there are a lot of great coaches in that room.”
It was a sentiment that was echoed by all of the other coaches that interviewed for the position.
Ohio State’s new coach and former assistant coach, Pat Fitzgerald, will serve as the Buckiest of the Big Ten coaches.
“The most important thing for me, the most important person for me is Pat Fitzgerald,” former Indiana assistant coach and current Indiana assistant Joe Schad said.
“He’s a coach who has had an incredible run at the University of Notre Dame, and I think that’s the reason why he’s the most qualified person for the job.”
Fitzgerald was not the only one who felt that way.
Former Michigan State head men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo also expressed the same sentiment, and after taking the job with the Spartans, Izzo made it clear that he felt that Fitzgerald would bring a “different type of vision” to the program.
Izzo’s philosophy of recruiting and the way that the university handled the recruiting process is the reason that Izzo and Fitzgerald had a great connection.
Izzo was a graduate assistant under Fitzgerald at Michigan State.
After his first year at Michigan, Izzos job was replaced by the legendary Dick Vitale, who Izzo eventually became the head basketball coach at Michigan in 2001.
Fitzgerald, meanwhile, has been an assistant coach under Izzo since he joined the Michigan staff in 2009.
In a series of interviews with the Columbus Dispatch and other outlets, Fitzgerald had some tough words for the Spartans program, and even some of the staff, saying that he believed that it was not a “great fit” for the program at the moment.
“If you look, I don’t know if you’re going into a recruiting cycle where there’s a ton of talent, or if you’ve got a couple of good players, but if you have guys like Josh Koutras, and Brandon Thomas, and Josh Jackson, that are not good, it’s going to be tough for you,” Fitzgerald said during the interview with the Dispatch.
“That’s the reality that I have.
I think a lot, a lot has been made about recruiting.
I’ve got to be real clear about that.”
Izzo was also a big proponent of recruiting for the Buckee program.
Fitzgerald is one of his biggest supporters, and while Izzo has a history of signing a lot on the cheap, Fitzgerald was willing to pay up for some players.
Izzas deal with recruiting for players, too.
In the past, he has signed players that he knew were going to leave the program and sign elsewhere, but Fitzgerald was one of those players.
“In a recruiting climate, I would love to see him sign a big-name guy that we know is going to come to Michigan, and he’d be in a great position for us,” Fitzgerald told the Dispatch about signing former Kentucky forward Johnathan Motley.
“Johnathan Motleys deal.
He was the most talented player in our program, but he was the player that was most important to our success.”
Fitting in as the No. 2 recruit in the nation, Motley was the only true freshman to declare for the draft that year, and in a recruiting environment that featured several of the nation’s top prospects like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, he was a huge part of the Buckees success.
Izzas relationship with his staff has continued to improve in recent years, and the staff that Fitzgerald is inheriting has the most talent in the program, which is a plus for the head coaching job.
“The staff is really good.
I mean, we have so many great guys,” Fitzgerald added.
“We’re building that staff that I think is going be a really good staff for us.”
Izzans first year with the program in Columbus did not go so well, and during his first season in Columbus, he made the team