Perhaps the LaVall Jordan to Michigan speculation has been stoked again.
On Thursday evening, The Detroit Free Press reported that Jordan is one of the named candidates on Wolverine athletic director Warde Manuel‘s potential interview list–along with former Michigan star, turned NBA assistant coach Juwan Howard (among presumably others).
What a difference a day can make, as on Wednesday, it looked like the commitment of 4-star high school point guard recruit Chuck Harris to Butler, was a clear sign that Jordan was planning on staying put around the friendly confines of Hinkle Fieldhouse for the foreseeable future.
As a former assistant under departed Michigan head coach John Beilein during a period of tremendous success for the Wolverines’ program (and now with head coaching experience to boot), it isn’t surprising that Jordan is a legitimate candidate and will potentially receive an interview from his old employer—should he accept it.
In fact, it would make sense that he along with current lead Michigan assistant coaches such as Luke Yaklich and Saddi Washington would also get the opportunity to interview as a professional courtesy from the Wolverines program.
What is surprising right now is that Jordan could be considered a favorite, frontrunner, whatever you want to call it for the Michigan job.
That’s a frightening reality for Butler basketball fans to face right now, who in their wildest dreams didn’t think they’d have to entertain the idea of finding a new head coach again this offseason–having finished tied for last in the Big East’s basement this past season.
If it had been any other high-end ‘Power 5’ conference job, Butler fans wouldn’t even have had to break a light sweat, but given Jordan’s history with Michigan (along with solid references), compounded by the fact that we’re past the normal cycle for new head coaching hires, and here we are, again.
It starting to feel a little bit like the Chris Holtmann situation sadly, but no one knows for sure what’s going to happen.
Maybe not even Manuel himself.
Compared to his Butler head coaching predecessor, the difference though is that Jordan was believed to be a true ‘Butler man’–not a mercenary, having actually played for the program from 1997-01. He assuredly meant it in his opening press conference as new Bulldogs head coach back in June of 2017, when he said the Butler job “is a dream come true.”
For him, it was. Pretty sure it still is.
There’s no question Michigan can offer ‘greener pastures’ for Jordan–if it ultimately comes down to it, regarding a huge increase in annual coaching salary and all ‘the bells and whistles’ that go along with modern practice/training facilities.
If that’s purely what he’s seeking, the huge public state school has amenities and resources that the private university located on 4600 Sunset Avenue simply can’t compete with.
However, for the 40 year old head coach, Butler has been a home, his alma mater, and there’s something to be said for the family, camaraderie, and togetherness that defines, “The Butler Way” and the Bulldogs’ always outstanding culture–which transcends its head coaches and players alike.
Sometimes, the higher paying job, isn’t always the better one: “For it is money they have, and peace they lack,” as Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) so eloquently stated in Field of Dreams.
Still, it’s Michigan, and it’s arguably a Top 5-10 job in the country–at the very least Top 15. No one can blame Jordan, a Michigan native, for interviewing and at least listening to what Manuel has to say both for him and his family’s sake. Ann Arbor’s been a home for him and his family too.
There’s no guarantee he’ll get the job.
Maybe he won’t even interview.
That being said, the silence around the Butler program regarding Jordan’s status as a candidate for the Michigan job is a bit deafening right now.
In their defense, there’s not much they really can say at the moment.
Manuel and the Michigan athletic department seem to be in no hurry to expedite their candidacy process either, as it looks like interviewing will begin or carry over well into next week.
Unfortunately, that means that Butler fans are forced to play the waiting game, again, with another head coach’s future potentially in the balance for the Bulldogs.