From potentially being fired to potentially being hired away. That's a one-sentence summation of Dave Richman's turn around over the last two years. Was it probable that he would be let go so quickly after coaching the team to appearances in his first two years at the helm? Maybe not but the core of players to get the team through the conference tournament were hold-overs from Saul Phillips's tenure. Add to that the fact that the seasons which followed were mired by underwhelming results and a switch seemed feasible. Coach Richman brought in Tyson Ward and deserves the credit for that but also was at the helm as AJ Jacobson & Paul Miller were the main pieces.
And there was Khy Kabellis. The promising guard that was brought in from California and had what have ended up being the two best seasons of his protracted college career before leaving abrutly. After his sophomore season I thought he had a chance at a pro career. Boy was I wrong! That departure, in particular, exemplified the trajectory of the program but just as sudden as Kabellis' return to California was the coaching staff's ability to get it turned around.
As recently as 14 months ago it still seemed like they were bound to come up short of the conference championship game after a lopsided loss at SDSU. From then until March the team rallied and shocker of shockers, Western Illinois knocked off the bunnies. You know the rest.
I've kept trying to shrink the number but after UND's performance against NDSU on the 22nd, I can't exclude them from the ranks of the possible winners. So maybe NDSU will be eliminated in the semi-final or maybe Denver will pull-off their own stunner, though I don't see that happening. If either event happens then the coach's name would likely not be as high on the list of any of the universities who will be seeking the services of a new head coach soon. So I think we all need to be prepared for the possibility that this will be last March to the Falls for our current head coach.
There is good news if it plays out that way though.
Can you guess it?
The answer is that both of the former heads of the NDSU men's Basketball program could be available. Could be, not are. After moving up the ranks all the way to Nebraska, I would be surprised if Tim Miles were to come back to Fargo as the HC but the same isn't true for Phillips since he is at a D-2 outpost this year. One of the best D-2's in the country but Aberdeen is still a step down from the chances that Fargo & NDSU would afford him. There are several dominos that would have to fall for a reunion to happen but I think the odds are high enough that I'm willing to speculate about it.
And there was Khy Kabellis. The promising guard that was brought in from California and had what have ended up being the two best seasons of his protracted college career before leaving abruptly. After his sophomore season, I thought he had a chance at a pro career. Boy was I wrong! That departure, in particular, exemplified the trajectory of the program but just as sudden as Kabellis' return to California was the coaching staff's ability to get it turned around.. if things remain copasetic into the 20/21 season, we may be right back here next March. It's a good problem to have, don't get me wrong, but the potential for a coaching change deserves more mention than it's gotten.