Buzz is Still in Play, But Plan B is Solid

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:35 pm
By: News 9

Originally Published: Mar 29, 2011 10:6 AM CDT

It's push-come-to-shove time on the OU search. I get the sense that something is coming soon; certainly this week. If I put an over/under on when an announcement will be made, I'd put it at dusk Wednesday. The ever-changing grapevine is giving off that odor. But exactly who theSooners introduce as their new basketball coach is still not known.

A coaching source told me Monday night that Buzz Williams has not written OU off. Says he spoke with the Marquette coach and that right now he is waiting to see exactly what the MU offer has in it.Says he still believes the OU job is better than most think.

But earlier in the evening, information came my way saying that OU is all but certain to pull away from the BuzzWork Sweepstakes. Sources tell me that Pres David Boren is just not going to get into the bidding war that Marquette is willing to wage. Luring Williams away from a high-dollar contract extension of at least $2 mill to $2.2 mill per year would be pricey. And dicey.

The Buzzer will apparently go off because as the source put it, OU is unwilling to"pony up" the money it takes to cover a big salary and a buyout somewhere between $1 million and the reported $3.8 million.

So,what's Plan B? We're told OU does not want to "hire a young guy this time around." What is young? Lon Kruger is a player in the Plan B mix.At 58, Kruger is not a spring chicken. But OU is not looking for aspiring chicken. We assume they are looking for a walking and talking live human being.

Seriously, the 58-year-old Krugerwho was actually my host on my recruiting visit to Kansas State back around the end of WWIwould make a lot of sense to me. But conventional wisdom and a few phone calls revealed Lonnie as he went by when he was the Big 8Conference Player of the Year is unlikely to leave Vegas.

Regardless, it wouldn't stun me if OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione had more success recruiting Lonnie than Lonnie had recruiting me. I've always respected Kruger, from his playing days, to his winning days as a college coach, through his three years as head coach in Atlanta of the NBA. Kruger is a young 58. In the right situation, my guess isKruger has plenty of energy to coach another decade. He'll possibly head to the retirement links before 2021. But I'd bet it won't be because of exhaustion.

A name that was once in the hopper was regurgitated again tonight. A former solid source, but current source-challenged gent called in a huff saying he'd just been told who the next coach would be. All he could say was "BYU, BYU, BYU." A few minutes of review and I knew my man must have been sniffing paint.Again. Dave Rose is a nice coach for the BYU Jimmers.But the 54-year-old Morman would not be the fit OU is seeking. I'm expecting the same "source" to call again tomorrow with a new name:"Jeff, Jeff, Jeff!" If he dares say Jeff Capel, I will dare say Jerry Jeff Walker would stand a better chance in Norman, OK.

Meantime,the search continues. Searching for reliable sources with reliable information getting harder and harder as our business gets slimier and slimier. I will keep you posted. Whatever happens, you can bank onCastiglione scoffing at notions that anyone but the person hired for the job was ever considered. I don't need a source on that one.