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Away From Home

Monday, July 18, 2005

Package deals?

Is this a recruiting violation?

It looks however you want it to look. That's the beautiful thing about Kansas coach Bill Self's recent hiring of Ronnie Chalmers, the father of a McDonald's All-American recruit who signed with Kansas.

If you want to see serendipity and good timing, a round peg slipping perfectly into a round hole, you'll see that.

After 6-foot-1 point guard Mario Chalmers signed with Kansas in November, Ronnie Chalmers says, he and his wife decided to relocate from Alaska to be with their son. That meant moving to Kansas and finding a new job. Mr. Chalmers was a longtime basketball man who had coached his son at Bartlett High in Anchorage, winning two state titles, and Self had an opening for a director of operations. He hired Mr. Chalmers. If you want, you can see that it makes perfect sense.

But if you want to see skullduggery and bad motives, an insincere hire slipped past much of college basketball, you'll see that instead.

Mr. Chalmers had coached just five years at Bartlett, and before that coached clubs in the Air Force -- not exactly the resume of a Kansas staff hire. His hiring was announced June 28, with the eyes of basketball on the 2005 NBA Draft. If Kansas was trying to sneak this past people, it worked. More than a week later, several college coaches at the Nike Camp were surprised to hear about Chalmers' new job. Upon hearing of the hire, one coach -- whose school was a finalist for Mario -- rolled his eyes.

Is this unique to KU? Nope -- K-State does it too:

That was June 28. Three days later, the state's other Big 12 school, Kansas State, announced a new hire of its own: KSU coach Jim Wooldridge had replaced Mike Miller, who had left for Eastern Illinois, with legendary Detroit high school coach Ben Kelso.

Kelso came from Detroit's Central High -- just like Kansas State's top-rated recruit, 6-6 Deilvez Yearby. Yearby had chosen Kansas State in May over Southern California, interesting in that USC also had a staff opening, and new USC coach Tim Floyd already has shown a proclivity for apparent package deals this spring by hiring the junior college coach of two USC recruits.

I wonder how ethical this all is.


  • Nothing new, Bud. It has been going on for many years. This most famous example at KU I can think of is Ed Manning coming to Lawrence, KS as an assistant KU coach while his son Danny (think you might remember him!) was still in high school. True, Ed had coached before with Larry Brown, and I think maybe even played with him somewhere along the line, but it still looked funny. (The same Larry Brown that I have just heard about this evening possibly losing his job, and this time not because he has another job waiting somewhere!)

    There was another player from Wichita, it might have been Darnell Valentine, that "brought his coach along with him" to KU as an assistant.

    And, it is running in my mind that Kurt Kinnamon (I think that was his name) who coached Jackie Stiles in Claflin ended up as an assistant at Southwest Missouri State for a while. (The Southwest Missouri State that has now had an identity crisis, and is changing its name to Missouri State -- I know because Erin's friend Courtney is going there this fall.)

    So, you see, I guess it has just been part of the game for a while.

    By Anonymous dod, at 7/19/2005 12:32:00 AM  

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