Providence announced Tuesday that he was not only staying put and withdrawing from the Michigan coaching search, but that hes also getting a contract extension. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“While its very flattering to be considered for other head coaching jobs, after talking with my family I have decided to remain in my hometown of Providence,” Cooley said. “The Friars are my family. Most importantly, my commitment is to my players and my team at Providence.”
Cooley was one of the predominant candidates in Michigans search along with UM alumnus and Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard, as well as current Wolverines assistant Luke Yaklich. His connection to Gene DeFilippo who is running the coaching search — DeFilippo was the athletic director at Boston College when Cooley was an assistant there — was said to have been a key factor.
Ultimately, though, luring Cooley away from Providence and his hometown was a taller task than many anticipated. Cooley has it rolling at Providence having amassed a 162-110 record since taking over in 2011 which has included five NCAA Tournament appearances and a Big East Tournament championship.
Michigan will now likely turn to its attention to two remaining candidates to fill its vacancy in either Howard, a member of the Fab Five, or Yaklich, a well-respected assistant who has gone from social studies teacher to defensive wizard in less than a decade.
[EDIT (Seth): It looks like we got Cooley a raise. Hes staying at Providence with a multi-year extension
Ed Cooley moved from the fringes of the search to the dead center of it yesterday. Various media outlets reported that he interviewed with Warde Manuel yesterday, and then a Providence student aspiring to a job in media rushed out to a scoop of questionable veracity:
That six million dollar number is immediately dubious. What does that even mean? Six million a year? Michigan isnt making Ed Cooley the third-highest paid coach in the country. Six million over any reasonable length of time? Michigan isnt paying Ed Cooley less than Rutgers pays Steve Pikiell.
Thats a lineup with a reasonable level of experience and plenty of talent. Those guys finished 164th in offensive efficiency. Providence offensive efficiency the three years prior: 100, 101, 92. Cooleys best offense, and best team, came immediately before that dismal four-year run of bricks. It featured Kris Dunn, a top 20 recruit who was about to be the fifth pick in the draft. That guy sucked up 30% usage and Providence was 42nd in offensive efficiency. They locked down a 6-seed and got bounced in the first round.
John Beilein had a worse offense than that once in the past decade—the team that lost both Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton. Cooleys teams have finished in the top 100 in turnover rate twice, topping out at 44th. After Beileins first year his worst TO rate at Michigan ranked 38th.
Thats eight years at the same program and all the offensive trends are negative. Cooleys teams are drifting increasingly far away from the new college “everyones Steph Curry” paradigm. 3PA/FGA over the last four years: 128, 185, 291, 273. And theyve been horrible bricklayers from three five of the last seven years, with one average season and a single lonely green blip:
Cooley is an outright bad offensive coach. Theres no excuse for his results given the talent on hand. I dont know if I can deal with all that red immediately after the Beilein era. Raise your hand if this makes you want to crawl in a hole:
Cooley would clearly be a good recruiter at Michigan, but with the top 20-30 players all but off limits his hypothetical Michigan rosters arent going to be leaps and bounds better than those hes had at Providence. So why would his offense suddenly become acceptable?
Grantland did an embedded reporter thing with Providences Kris Dunn team, which ended up in a 13-point round one loss to Dayton. Halftime:
Cooley walks in and steps to the whiteboard. Heres whats going to win the game for us, he says. No turnovers, finishing, and better transition D. Just be physical around the rim. Were complaining about not getting calls. Maybe we dont deserve the calls. Just finish.
Honestly, he says, I dont see a need for X-and-O adjustments. Our game plan is working. Its not our defense. Its our offense. He goes through a few minor points — avoid fouls, throw crisper passes, drive when you see a lane. We gotta be attack dogs, Cooley says, shaking his head a little as he speaks. We gotta play with that swag. We need some dog in us.
Remember, Michigan search is being run by Gene DeFilippo (Now at Turnkey Sports) — who was the AD at Boston College when Ed Cooley was an assistant and the Eagles had it rolling. Cooley was at BC from 1997-2006 and DeFilippo was the AD from 1997-2012.
DeFilippo fired Al Skinner, the head coach when BC “had it rolling” with seven bids in ten years. BC has not had a bid in the nine years since. Skinners replacement, Steve Donahue, had a Wile E Coyote season the year after Skinner left and then went 9-22, 16-17, and 8-24 before getting fired himself.
So Cooleys name comes up in part because a former BC athletic director who made an incompetent hire knows him. Hes no less of a who-you-know hire than Juwan Howard.
My mother just reminded me that I literally have the words Heart and Soul in Ed Cooleys handwriting TATTOOED ON MY BODY
I sincerely hope there are no Michigan fans with “We had subs, it was crazy” tattooed on their bodies.
Officials at Providence College and Friar fans are about to find out just how wedded Cooley is to the hometown job that hes elevated to unprecedented levels over the last eight seasons. Cooley has had contact with representatives of the University of Michigan regarding its vacant basketball coaching job and one source close to the situation termed the state of affairs as fluid.
Juwan Howard is preferable to Cooley. Any NBA system is going to be closer to Beileins style of offense than Providences grindball flex. Cooley has eight years at a major conference school in which hes proven he is a below-average offensive coach. Howard is more likely to retain a couple of assistants. And hes interviewing today.