March 29, 2012
The one greatest fear an individual could have looking for a job is embarrassing his or herself in the interviewing process, and according to a very credible and reliable source with close ties to SUU men’s basketball program, that fear might have cost the most likely candidate for vacant T-Bird head coaching position.
As reported by SUU News and the Salt Lake Tribune Wednesday, LSU assistant Nick Robinson will become the T-Birds’ new head coach Thursday, to the surprise to many who believed former T-Bird player and assistant Barret Peery was a shoo-in for the job.
Not only did Peery have strong ties to the program, Bill Evans, who led SUU to its only NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001, gave Peery an almost flawless recommend in the Daily Spectrum Monday — the day Peery was in Cedar City interviewing for the job.
Like every coaching process at SUU, the finalists for the job are required to meet with the returning players in the interviewing process.
As told to me by this source, Peery met with SUU athletic director Ken Beazer for the job on Monday, as the last interviewee for the position. The meeting involved this customary meeting with the T-Bird players, and that’s when everything went awry for Peery.
The source explained how Peery was confrontational with the SUU players, yelling at the team — flat out being “rude” to each of the players. Peery was described as making the meeting “uncomfortable” for everyone in the locker room and each of the players “had knots and their stomachs and talked about transferring” after the meeting, according to the source.
Robinson, on the contrary, was favored by the players, according to the source, who believe he knows what he’s talking about can relate with the players the easiest. Robinson graduated from Stanford in 2005, and played on one of the Cardinal’s teams in that school’s history. He’s spent the past three seasons among the LSU program.
Peery, was believed to be the frontrunner until the team meeting. It appears he lost the job after the players objected to the idea of playing under Peery.
Although SUU hasn’t had a winning a season in five years, the T-Birds should be in good shape heading into the Big Sky — with the current players on its roster. Jackson Stevenett returns as the team’s leading scorer from last season and Damon Heuir has put up big numbers in multiple games. In addition, SUU returns key players such as Jordan Johnson (who plays similarly to how Robinson played at Stanford), Wade Collie and Julian Scott.
Though the T-Birds will have a new point guard next season, Chris Nsenki did see valuable time running the point as a freshman.
Robinson has a lot to work with, without a complete overhaul of the team. Plus, he’s got the option to bring in his own guys after his first season, when Heuir, Scott, Johnson and Stevenett graduate.
The official announcement of Robinson’s hiring will come Thursday at 2 p.m.