OSU basketball: Is the timing right for Doug Gottlieb? – NewsOK.com

STILLWATER — One of the more biting lines from Brad Underwood’s briefing with the Illinois media Saturday, capping his whirlwind fleeing from Stillwater to Champaign:

“The timing was absolutely perfect.”

Doug Gottlieb hopes the same turns true for him.

The former Oklahoma State standout player never got an audience with athletic director Mike Holder last March once Underwood was identified early as the primary target and swiftly hired. But Gottlieb could gain traction this go-round, as an ongoing fan favorite capable of galvanizing a bruised base, but also a candidate who’s willing to go beyond just talking the talk of loving OSU.

“So much of success in this world is about two things, fit and timing,” the 41-year-old Gottlieb said in an extensive phone interview Sunday. “I don’t know what anybody deserves, but I would like the opportunity to get in front of people at OSU and share my vision with them and make my case for the job.”

Fit, of course, was the major talking point a year ago when Underwood was hired.

The Iba connection. Midwestern guy with an appreciation for OSU’s history and tradition. During his introductory news conference inside Gallagher-Iba Arena, Underwood entered waving both hands in a “pistols firing” salute, much to the delight of the crowd.


Oklahoma State's new men's basketball Brad Underwood gestures as he speaks after being introduced during an NCAA college basketball news conference in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma State’s new men’s basketball Brad Underwood gestures as he speaks after being introduced during an NCAA college basketball news conference in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Now we know, the fit was a fake.

Gottlieb, however, he’s a proven fit.

OSU grad and a member of the Oklahoma State Board of Governors. The school’s all-time assists leader. Met his wife, Angie, a Drumright girl, while in Stillwater. Outspoken supporter of Eddie Sutton’s case for the Hall of Fame and a frequent returner for the program’s annual Remember The Ten game.

And just like a year ago, Gottlieb is openly and publicly campaigning for the Cowboys coaching vacancy, considering it not only a destination job, but his “forever” job.

“What I’ve always said to people about Oklahoma State is I’m in it for the right reasons,” Gottlieb said. “It’s like the Bachelorette; at the beginning of the Bachelorette, they’re trying to figure out who wants the reality show and who really wants to marry the girl.

“I wouldn’t be doing this for financial gain. As a college coach, you’re probably always getting paid way more than you probably should be paid. I’ll be paid, but I’ll be taking a haircut to take this job. But I’m not doing it for money. And I’m not doing it for fame.

“I’d do it because one, it’s my school. And two, I know how it works there. I know the culture of the place and what will help that succeed long term. Three, I can tell you, coach after coach will tell you I’m destined to be on that sideline.”

Therein lies the rub, at least it was a year ago.

Gottlieb, a successful sports talk show host and college basketball analyst, has no full-time coaching experience.

Before hiring Underwood, with Gottlieb’s desire for the job well-known, Holder essentially dismissed him as a full-fledged candidate. Although praising Gottlieb and acknowledging his strong representation as an ambassador to the school and the program, Holder returned to the lack of coaching experience.

“I think it’s important for us to be rational about how we approach this,” Holder said at the time. “Would he be considered? Why not? But I think the kicker for him is, you’ve got to get over the fact that he’s never coached a game. That’s huge.”

For Holder, might 12 months and recent developments alter his stance?

“He’s already reached out to me in a text,” Holder said Saturday. “Certainly we’ll talk about him. He’s a Cowboy.”

Gottlieb has been in play for other college coaching jobs, even been a finalist for some. While he’s yet to be hired, he said the lack of coaching experience hasn’t been a consistent hang-up.

Nor, he said, should it be.

“Coaching is not just about Xs and Os,” said Gottlieb, who’s been named head coach for Team USA in this summer’s World Maccabiah Games. “Lots of guys can draw things up on paper. Lots of people can tell you about the history of basketball. What my skill is, I’m a communicator.

“Yes, I believe I have a high level of basketball intelligence. But there’s plenty of basketball savants out there who can’t communicate to kids and can’t get them to execute it. And they also can’t motivate kids. That’s actually the best thing I do.”

Gottlieb said he and his wife long to return to Stillwater. His new job at FS1 already calls for a move, so why not leave Southern Cal for Stillwater? And the kids would fit, too, with their son a wrestler and their two daughters into equestrian.

“For me, it could be divine intervention,” he said. “We’re ready.”

A portion of the fan base is ready, too, with the Twitter hashtag #BringDougHome revving up for a second straight March.

Hiring Gottlieb comes with obvious risks. It would be unconventional, perhaps even panned, because of his lack of coaching background.

Still, his father, Bob, was a coach. His brother, Gregg, has been a longtime college assistant and is currently on staff at Oregon State. So basketball has long been the family business.

And in traveling and calling games and observing practices, Doug said he’s gleaned much from some of the game’s most successful coaches.

Might it work?

It’s worked for others who walked similar paths, including Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers and Fred Hoiberg — all who landed jobs with no previous significant coaching experience. Same for baseball’s Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals.

A year ago, Gottlieb wasn’t the fit. But now? Maybe time turns into an asset.

“The timing in my life, the timing for the school and the fit for the program, the culture, the league, all that makes sense to me,” Gottlieb said. “And I think it makes sense to people who played with me, who supported me.

“I would appreciate the opportunity to have a face-to-face discussion on the possibility of being the head coach.”

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OSU basketball: Is the timing right for Doug Gottlieb? – NewsOK.com

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