NCAA Basketball

College Basketball: Will Steve Masiello Leave Louisville?

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As the 2010-11 season winded down, Rick Pitino said on numerous occasions he fully expects top assistant Steve Masiello to finally land a head coaching gig and leave the Louisville staff. In fact, Rick made a point on Senior Night to commend Masiello and say on the microphone he doesn’t expect him to return. And that could very well happen, but I must say, as the days pass I think there’s a growing chance we see Stevie Mass on the Louisville bench next year.

The one job to watch is still Manhattan. Masiello interviewed for that job last week and given his ties to the New York area, both professionally and personally, you figure he will get a serious look. However, nothing new has come out since and I would think if he’s their top choice, an offer would have been made by now. It appears we’ll have to just wait and see.

Next, I think an interesting situation that would involve Masiello is down in Bowling Green with the Western Kentucky job. Yes, I realize they just retained head coach Ken McDonald, but he’s clearly on the hot seat. His pay was just cut by $100,000 and by several accounts, his job was very much in jeopardy until athletic director Ross Bjork received endorsements from former colleagues and players of McDonald. As a result of those recommendations, McDonald was kept on.

But, attendance has been down the past two seasons at E.A. Diddle Arena, the Hilltoppers had their worst record in over a decade in 2010-11, and the WKU team was quite dysfunctional this past year. McDonald is on a short leash and it would not take much for his time to be up. If that job opens, it is a pretty attractive job. WKU has a strong tradition, solid basketball fan base, and is a great spot to get started as a head coach.

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Could Stevie Mass stick it out at Louisville one more year in the hopes of nabbing the WKU job?

Another thing to consider is Masiello is only 33 years old and has it pretty good here at Louisville. He doesn’t need to jump on the first available job. He can afford, both financially and professionally, to take his time and wait for a solid job. He can be judicious. Remember, Masiello has said his dream was to work for Rick Pitino, not be a head coach. I say that only to illustrate how much he enjoys working for Rick and how he views his current position, not to imply he doesn’t want to be a head coach.

If Masiello does stay, I would be very pleased.

Not just because he’s a great recruiter, which he is despite what some ignorant fans want to claim, but because he is almost 100% responsible for scouting the opposition. New staff additions Mark Lieberman and Tim Fuller, aka Prime Time Tim, are not yet handling scouting. Lieberman is a talented instructor/teacher and Fuller is here for his recruiting prowess. Another year with Masiello will only help them develop their scouting abilities, which will be critical when Masiello does leave.

Steve Masiello will be a head coach and it will happen sooner rather than later, but there’s no guarantee it happens this year.