Lazerus: Crown Point on the verge of naming its new football coach
By Mark Lazerus 648-3140 or firstname.lastname@example.org April 11, 2012 11:14PM
Crown Point High School Athletic Director, Bill Dorulla, left, chairwoman of the Dog Tale Affair, Nancy Anglis, and Assistant Athletic Director Mike Malaski, hosted the 7th annual Dog Tale Affair fundraiser on Friday, March 9, 2012 at St. Elijah Hall, in
Updated: May 13, 2012 10:33AM
You know, I thought mid-March was the perfect time to take a few weeks off to change diapers and get to know my new daughter.
After all, the Valparaiso basketball season is usually over by then, high school baseball season doesn’t really start for a month or so because it’s too darn cold and wet out, and the high school football hot stove is at its coolest. I figured I wouldn’t miss anything on any of my beats.
Yeah. So much for all that.
So consider this my catching-up column.
CP closing in
Crown Point is expected to name its new football coach at a special board meeting at 5 p.m. on Friday. The choice hasn’t exactly been made yet, but athletic director Bill Dorulla said Wednesday that the school was “very close.”
It’s a very intriguing hire. When Chip Pettit was named the new principal at Crown Point last month, one of the best football jobs in the state opened up — a quality program with a massive feeder system and tremendous facilities in a community that truly supports its school (both in terms of spirit and finances).
So naturally, fans and other interested parties started throwing around potential names to fill the post — everyone from former defensive coordinator Kevin Enright (now at Homewood-Flossmoor with Alex Pratt under Craig Buzea) to Morton’s Roy Richards to former Hobart coach Wally McCormack to the ghost of Knute Rockne.
Everyone and anyone was a candidate for this plum gig. One thing was certain — Crown Point was going to be flooded with applications.
Well, not quite.
“Everybody thinks you’re going to get 100 applications,” Dorulla said. “But you never get that many.”
Dorulla said he got “20-something applications,” from local coaches to longtime region assistants to people on the West and East coasts. That’s a good amount. It’s not what people expected, though.
That’s because a lot of coaches — no matter how sterling a resume they have — have no shot at the job. The only teaching opening Crown Point has is in social studies. And Pettit’s old job was an administrative one. So unless you’re a social studies teacher or have an administrator’s license, you don’t have a chance.
Dorulla said he got at least 10 or 15 calls from coaches who wanted to know if it was worth applying. Dorulla saved them the time.
“It’s pretty hard for us,” he said. “A lot of guys are physical education teachers, and we didn’t have anything in P.E. That puts a lot of guys out right there.”
Dorulla wouldn’t tip his hand. But for the record, Enright — the architect of those dominant Bulldogs defenses in 2005 and 2006 — teaches U.S. history at Homewood-Flossmoor. He also earned his master’s degree in administration in 2007.
Drew: I’m staying put
It shouldn’t have surprised anyone that Bryce Drew — a young man with national name recognition, a solid NBA career and impeccable coaching bloodlines — received serious interest from bigger programs. Tulsa and Mississippi State were both courting Valparaiso’s first-year coach, and Crusaders fans — who have enormously high expectations for next season — breathed a sigh of relief when Drew said he was withdrawing his name from consideration.
Now the question is, how long will he stay? As athletic director Mark LaBarbera has acknowledged, Drew will continue to be sought after each offseason. And if next season goes as well as the Crusaders expect, the offers will only get bigger and better.
On Wednesday, speaking publicly for the first time since turning down Mississippi State, Drew shrugged it off.
“We’re recruiting as if we’re going to be here the rest of our careers, and right now we’re planning to be here the rest of our careers,” Drew said. “If there are eighth-graders out there that want to commit to Valparaiso University, we’re ready to have them.”
The key is convincing recruits that he means that, because most recruits commit to coaches, not programs. Obviously, Drew had no trouble convincing South Florida’s Lavonte Dority and Hawaii’s Jordan Coleman to transfer to Valparaiso. So they expect him to stick around. But that was before the Mississippi State and Tulsa speculation.
With the pending transfers of Richie Edwards and Hrvoje Vucic, Drew has another scholarship to play with. And it’s quite clear that Drew is a guy a lot of kids want to play for — and for good reason. But four years is a major commitment to make. Even for a transfer, two or three years is a major commitment to make. Especially when you’re committing to a guy who likely will be part of the annual rumor mill as long as he’s at Valparaiso — whether he wants to be or not.
But Drew, for one, doesn’t think it’ll be tough to convince anyone he’s sticking around.
“With my dad’s tenure here, and with me being here as an assistant for quite a few years, I think players see that I’ve lived in Valpo a long time, and that it would definitely take a lot to have me move,” he said. “I love the university, I love our basketball program and I love the community. It’s an easy sell for me because I do love it here.”
This and that
The latest reports on Butler’s potential move to the Atlantic-10 after next season say it’s not quite the “done deal” we all thought it was. But it’ll happen. It’s got to happen. The extra travel expenses in all sports will be more than offset by the gobs of money pouring into the Butler coffers from all those at-large NCAA Tournament bids the league gets every March. Yes, the Horizon League is a better fit geographically, and it’d be great to see the Bulldogs stay in the conference they helped make nationally relevant. But men’s basketball drives the mid-major world. The positives far outweight the negatives, and the Bulldogs are likely goners.
OK, region baseball fans: Anyone who had Hobart at 10-0 against Indiana teams, with a team ERA of 0.40 and road wins over LaPorte, Highland and Boone Grove, raise your hand. Didn’t think so. Don’t sleep on the Brickies. Even in a tough NCC and a ridiculously stacked sectional (the entire Duneland minus Lake Central), Hobart will be a factor.
Oh, and anyone who had most region teams having already played more than a third of their regular-season games by mid-April, raise your hands, too? Yeah. Didn’t think so, either. In the latest region Top 10, Mother Nature is No. 1 with a bullet.
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkLazerus