March Madness is in full effect and only sixteen teams remain as we kick off the second weekend of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Since my beloved program didn’t even make the NIT, I had to find something to occupy my time between games.
Here’s what the head coaches of the Sweet Sixteen teams would be doing if they weren’t coaching.
Midwest Regional (Detroit, M.I.)
Name: BILL SELF (Kansas, no. 1 seed)
Years Head Coach: 15
Tournament Record: 18-9 in 10 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: Wisecracking Plumber
Look, ‘dis guy’ll change ya sprinkla head tha minute youse two change ya tone!
Name: BO RYAN (Wisconsin, no. 3 seed)
Years Head Coach: 24
Tournament Record: 10-6 in 7 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: Evangelist
Yonder, Yonder! Look sinner, yonder is a horrible burning tempest driving towards you, a dreadful burning lake preparing for you! Look! do you not see a horrible deep and large pit filled with horribly burning fire, and that fire filled with damned men and women? Lay your ear to the mouth of this pit, and hear what the dolorous complaints, what the shrieks and yellings be of that cursed company. And do you not perceive yourself hastening forward in the way to this place of burning? And will you go forward still?
Name: BOB MCKILLOP (Davidson, no. 10 seed)
Years Head Coach: 19
Tournament Record: 2-4 in 5 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: America’s Grandpa
Sports fans, do not worry: it’s not gay to want Bob McKillop to set you on his knee, give you a Werther’s Original, and tell you the story of how the old tractor ended up stuck in the hollow of that oak. Not gay at all.
Name: JAY WRIGHT (Villanova, no. 12 seed)
Years Head Coach: 14
Tournament Record: 7-5 in 6 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: Man About Town
If Jay weren’t coaching, he’d be a kept man, a playboy, a cock of the walk. Basically, his life would be exactly the same except he’d have the time to drop store-bought Kitons and go bespoke.
West Regional (Phoenix, A.Z.)
Name: BEN HOWLAND (UCLA, no. 1 seed)
Years Head Coach: 14
Tournament Record: 15-6 in 7 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: Landlord
Ben Howland hasn’t led his UCLA Bruins to three straight first-place finishes in the PAC-10 and two straight Final Four appearances without being a bit of a hardass, and he probably wouldn’t keep the electricity running or fix the pipes during a storm without more of the same. He’d make a great somewhat ornery landlord but he’s not charismatic enough to make a great somewhat ornery TV landlord. But that’s OK – few are.
Name: SEAN MILLER (Xavier, no. 3 seed)
Years Head Coach: 4
Tournament Record: 3-2 in 3 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: A Guy That Would Call Me "Bubbie"
OK, I know that’s not a profession, and unlike some of the other stretches on this list it’s not even a vocation. But I’m staring and staring at pictures of this guy and I feel like he wants to call me ‘bubbie’ (or however you spell that Jewish/Italian New York slang) and I realize it’s because he reminds me of Joe Pesci’s character in My Cousin Vinny. Now I don’t know if Vinny ever even uses that term in the movie but he’s the type of guy who I think would and Miller for whatever reason reminds me of him.
Now if you’re gonna hound me and say this one doesn’t count, I’ll throw in the bonus that in the following photo he looks like an insane Mr. Bean:
Name: BOB HUGGINS (West Virginia, no. 7 seed)
Years Head Coach: 28
Tournament Record: 20-20 in 21 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: No Frills Hired Muscle
What do you expect for a guy who’s had former players arrested for punching a police horse and torturing other players, who’s colloquially known by friend and foe alike as “Thuggins?” Bob clearly wouldn’t mind the dirty work – hell, he might even relish it – and I get the impression he’d love nothing more than wearing jogging suits for the rest of his life.
Name: DARRIN HORN (Western Kentucky, no. 12 seed)
Years Head Coach: 5
Tournament Record: 2-0 in 1 appearance
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: High School Guidance Counselor
Darrin looks like he’d make a great high school guidance counselor – the border on this photo I snagged even looks like it came straight out of a yearbook! I think Darrin would really enjoy getting to know young people and helping young people get to know themselves. That or he probably looks like someone who’d be on The Office. I can’t be sure since I don’t watch that show.
East Regional (Charlotte, N.C.)
Name: ROY WILLIAMS (North Carolina, no. 1 seed)
Years Head Coach: 20
Tournament Record: 45-17 in 18 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: Fried Chicken Restaurateur
I get the feeling ol’ boy Roy is likely pretty fond of fried chicken and I bet he’d be damn good at selling it too.
Name: BRUCE PEARL (Tennessee, no. 2 seed)
Years Head Coach: 16
Tournament Record: 7-4 in 5 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: Angry Sports Memorabilia TV Pitchman
Pearl is a shameless promoter to the point that you actually begin to wonder if he’s missing the part of the brain that mitigates shame. Such unbridled enthusiasm coupled with a willingness to say anything and a love of sports almost positions him for a hall of fame career in the world of televised sports memorabilia salesmanship. Almost – I’m afraid his readily perceptible, irrepressible anger would see him never quite capable of ousting incumbent champion of the universe, Don West.
Name: RICK PITINO (Louisville, no. 3 seed)
Years Head Coach: 22
Tournament Record: 34-11 in 13 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: see below
This sucks. I know everybody’s thinking mobster or Pacino Jr. and everybody’s right: Pitino straight up looks like a wiseguy. But fuck it, I’m going throw a curveball and say Scott Baio in a Charles in Charge remake.
Name: TONY BENNETT (Washington State, no. 4)
Years Head Coach: 2
Tournament Record: 3-1 in 2 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: Excitable Mormon
Sure he looks animated here arguing a ref’s call, but change the surroundings and change his clothes (a tiny bit) and he’d be indistinguishable from any other young man between the ages of 19 and 25 bursting at the seams in anticipation of a pair of years proselytizing.
South Regional (Houston, T.X.)
Name: JOHN CALIPARI (Memphis, no. 1 seed)
Years Head Coach: 16
Tournament Record: 20-9 in 10 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: Electrical Engineer
I’d listen to Cal if he said we had to switch off the grid for an hour and go generator. I just would.
Name: RICK BARNES (Texas, no. 2 seed)
Years Head Coach: 21
Tournament Record: 17-15 in 16 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: Struggling Farmer
Coach Barnes has the look of a man who’s watched drought turn his parched corn fields to dust and who knows firsthand that the udders of spooked cows run dry. If the alfalfa don’t come in strong, the bank gets the ranch.
Name: TRENT JOHNSON (Stanford, no. 3 seed)
Years Head Coach: 9
Tournament Record: 5-3 in 4 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: The Tree
Stanford’s hideous unofficial mascot has taken a PR beating over the last few years with its involvement in public drunkenness and scuffles with campus security. Johnson could turn things around for The Tree and restore its former luster provided he could fit inside the costume.
Name: TOM IZZO (Michigan State, no. 5 seed)
Years Head Coach: 13
Tournament Record: 26-9 in 11 appearances
Profession If He Weren’t Coaching: The Chief
He didn’t like you the moment you stepped in his office for the first time. If you can’t show respect for the badge how can you expect the badge to respect you? When you put yourself at risk you’re putting his men at risk and he won’t allow it, not on his watch! But he knows good police work, and what you did today was good police work. And while he might be a mean sonuvabitch, he’ll be goddamned if he’s a fool too. So he thought he’d bring you out in front of the boys and say job well done.
OK, that’s what I figured out. Let me know what I got right/wrong and leave your own ideas for what these guys would be doing if they weren’t coaching hoops.