With the report that Seton Hall coach Tommy Amaker will be signing a deal to be Michigan”s next basketball coach, debate surely will circulate among the Maize and Blue faithful over the next few days as to whether he is the right man for the job.

Paul Wong
Tommy Amaker has a whole lot in his hands right now. He has the responsibilty of turning around Michigan”s recently bismal basketball program.<br><br>AP Photo

His supporters will say that after Rick Pitino signed with Louisville, Amaker was the best coach left, while his critics point to a 2000-01 campaign that saw the Pirates underachieve.

Before making your decision, consider the whole argument.

Pro: He is a Krzyzewski guy.

Coach K is renowned as one of if not the best college coach in the country. He is one of just two coaches in NCAA history, UCLA legend John Wooden being the other, who has led his team to five consecutive Final Four appearances.

He is the last coach to win back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.

Success breeds success. Bobby Knight taught Krzyzewski how to win at Army. Eight of Coach K”s former players or assistants are now head coaches.

Two of those, Quinn Snyder at Missouri and Mike Brey at Notre Dame, led their teams into the second round of the NCAA Tournament this season.

Amaker has already shown a touch of that Krzyzewski magic, leading No. 10 seed Seton Hall into the Sweet Sixteen last season with an upset victory over No. 2 seed Temple.

Con: He is a Krzyzewski guy.

Coach K has been at Duke for 21 seasons and is 54 years old. While he isn”t retiring tomorrow, one can assume that within the next 10 years or so he”ll be stepping down. When that happens, you can be sure that Amaker”s name will be near the top of the list of replacements.

At age 36, Amaker”s youth will place him in the prime of his career when Krzyzewski retires at Duke. Much like Kansas” Roy Williams and the opening at North Carolina this past summer, Amaker will have to choose between staying in a place where he has built something special and following a legendary mentor at his alma mater. But we all know what Williams chose.

Pro: He is an excellent recruiter.

In his three seasons at Seton Hall, Amaker built a strong base of talented players. This year, he brought in what many called the best class in the nation including 1999 national high school player of the year and this season”s freshman of the year Eddie Griffin.

As an assistant for Krzyzewski, Amaker played a large role in recruiting Shane Battier to Durham. He was also instrumental in bringing Elton Brand and William Avery, both currently in the NBA, to Duke that same year.

Con: Seton Hall”s 16-15 record.

Many picked Seton Hall to finish in the top 10 in the nation this year. Instead they finished the year with 15 losses and lost in the first round of the NIT.

That type of performance when so much was expected of his team raises doubts about Amaker”s ability to coach a winner. In his defense, this season was more about managing personalities than coaching basketball.

A rift between the Pirates” veteran leaders and talented freshmen divided the team and made winning difficult. Amaker got the players on track late in the season when the Pirates upset Connecticut to finish the season and made a run in the Big East Tournament. But it was too little, too late.

When you get down to it, Amaker is the best man for the Michigan job. He fits all of the criteria that Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin set forth at the beginning of the search.

Amaker is a proven winner at the highest level and has shown he has the tools to recruit the players Michigan needs to bring into the program.

Michael Kern can be reached at


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