The next time a mid-major program is looking for a new basketball coach, school officials would be wise to consult with Ohio athletic director Jim Schaus.
It was shortly after he took over the Bobcats’ athletic department that he hired John Groce, who in four years has taken his team to a pair of NCAA tournaments. The 13th-seeded upstarts play No. 1 seed North Carolina in the Midwest Regional semifinals on Friday night.
Even before that, though, Schaus had success hiring mid-major coaches.
During his time at Wichita State, he landed Mark Turgeon, who coached the Shockers to their own regional semifinal in 2006 . And when Turgeon moved on to Texas A&M, Schaus hired Gregg Marshall, who rebuilt the program into a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament this season.
“I think each hire is unique,” Schaus said during an interview with The Associated Press while Ohio practiced Thursday afternoon. “You have to look at the circumstances _ where you are and what you need to be successful in that situation.”
Schaus said he targets coaches who have lots of energy, because they’re going to do the best job motivating the teams while also appealing to donors, alumni and the media.
"We wouldn't be here without him," Groce said of his athletic director. "It's impossible to put a price tag on it. I felt something like this could happen, like we could build on it. And I'm thankful for their commitment and what they've done for the basketball program."
Groce is becoming a hot commodity among high-majors searching for their own coach, and while Schaus said he hopes that he doesn’t have to undertake another coaching search any time soon, he’s prepared for the possibility.
He'll certainly know what to do.
Follow Dave Skretta on Twitter @APdaveskretta