Danny Manning announced as new TU basketball coach
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Thursday, March 29, 2012
3/29/12 at 6:37 PM
Danny Manning wasn’t on the radar when Tulsa began the search for its 29th head basketball coach.
But once TU and the Kansas assistant coach made contact, interest skyrocketed from both camps.
Manning was officially named Tulsa’s coach on Thursday morning, ending an 18-day search for its next leader.
The Tulsa World learned that Manning agreed to a four-year, $2.5 million deal.
Athletic director Ross Parmley said the more he got to know about Manning, the more his interest piqued.
“I went from skeptical to absolutely falling in love with him,” Parmley said. “When you get to know him and spend time around him and understand what he is about as a person and how he understands the big picture ...
“Anybody that can take the experiences he’s had in his life from a competitor and the experiences under a guy that I think is one of the best in the business in Coach (Bill) Self ... (Manning) has developed a great basketball mind and a great appetite for teaching the game of basketball and teaching young men.”
Parmley understands Tulsa may be taking a chance with hiring a new head coach.
“With every hire, there are risks,” Parmley said. “There’s no one that you can hire where there are no risks.
“But the reward that comes with Danny Manning definitely outweighs any risks. He’s going to do things the right way and make a difference.”
Manning, 45, will continue his assistant coaching duties at Kansas, which will play Ohio State in a Final Four contest on Saturday night. Manning is expected to attend a news conference in Tulsa as soon as the Jayhawks’ season is complete.
“I’m excited and looking forward to being the head basketball coach at the University of Tulsa,” Manning said in a statement. “I want to thank President Upham, Ross and the search committee for allowing me this tremendous opportunity to coach at a university with a fine basketball tradition.
“I’d also like to thank Coach Self for giving me the chance to be a part of his staff for the past nine years. I have learned a tremendous amount about the game and the profession from him and all of the members of his staff.”
ESPN’s Dick Vitale said Tulsa made a “great hire.”
“You think of the fact of all his experience at Kansas as a player and coach and his NBA experience,” Vitale said during a Thursday teleconference. “He’s a magical name in recruiting. His dad was a coach. He learned so much under Bill Self and guys that he played under, (including) Larry Brown.”
Attendance problems and revenue issues were the major reasons given for Doug Wojcik’s departure. That won’t be a problem with Manning, Vitale said.
“The bottom line is Danny should be able to put some people in the stands,” Vitale said. “I will tell you that. He should sell tickets.”
Parmley met with the basketball team around 11 a.m. Thursday. How did they take the news?
“I think they’re excited and anxious to meet him,” Parmley said. “I can’t wait until they meet Coach Manning. I know he’s as anxious as well.”
Parley said Manning’s first order of business is to meet with the current players, including Jordan Clarkson. The all-conference guard’s family indicated two weeks ago that they would monitor Tulsa’s hire while exploring all options for the junior-to-be.
“I’ve tried to give Coach Manning the most honest and transparent update of our signees and our current players,” Parmley said. “He’s anxious to get in and talk to each and every one of them.”
Scottie Haralson, a senior on next year’s team, tweeted “The future is looking bright” immediately after the team meeting.
The school would not comment on prospective candidates, but other finalists for the TU job are believed to have been Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich and Central Oklahoma coach Terry Evans. Oral Roberts’ Scott Sutton withdrew his name from consideration on Tuesday.
Manning spent the past nine years on Kansas’ staff, including the past five years as a full-time assistant. He’s often praised for the development on KU’s post players.
Hiring a staff will be important, and Parmley said Manning has a plan in place.
“With every candidate I talked to, staff was one of the first few questions I asked,” Parmley said. “Any first-time head coach has to put a good staff around them, a staff that they can trust.”
Baker University, an NAIA school in Baldwin City, Kan., announced the resignation of head coach Brett Ballard on Thursday. The school said Ballard is joining Manning’s staff at Tulsa.
Parmley said Manning has a 30-day plan put together following completion of the Jayhawks’ season.
“The idea is for him to talk to the players first, the signees and then finalizing a staff,” Parmley said. “Then it’s getting in the community and meeting people, our season ticket holders and fans.”
Legendary coach Larry Brown, who won a national championship at Kansas with Manning in 1988, said Manning will embrace the Tulsa community.
“He’s so unassuming and easy going and meets people well,” Brown said. “He has an unbelievable personality and a great family ...
“Danny realizes (responsibility of a head coach) and sees what Bill has to do and the responsibilities that Bill has. He’s ready for that.”
Manning is a 15-year NBA veteran and member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame after becoming KU’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
Self said Manning will make a solid head coach.
“He’s been around basketball his whole life, played for so many coaches, been able to steal from everybody and has developed a vast knowledge that will certainly play a huge role in his success as a head coach,” Self said. “Although (45) years old, he’s well beyond those in basketball years as far as experience.
“The University of Tulsa has not only hired a great person and a great ambassador, but also a man that will lead Tulsa to great heights athletically and be competing for championships in a very short amount of time.”
Parmley spent most of March looking for a coach. Is he glad it’s over?
“It was actually a fun process,” said Parmley, who was named Tulsa’s AD on Jan. 19. “It was very exciting. It was very exhausting. It was fun and exciting.
“I’m glad it’s over, but I’m more glad that Danny Manning is our next head coach.”
Danny Manning (right) is expected to attend a press conference when KU's season is over. The Jayhawks play in the Final Four this weekend. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World