An Open Letter to an Assistant Coach at a D-1 School
Dear Assistant Coach at a high-profile Division I university,
I’m writing to invite you to interview for the Northwestern basketball coaching vacancy. Now, before you ask, NU is not in the Northwest quadrant of the country, nor is it that school in Boston. And yes, we do have a basketball team.
Your familiarity with the Wildcats’ program may stem entirely from picking us to lose early in your office NIT pool the last couple of years, but we have a lot more to offer than a potential trip to Madison Square Garden every once in a while.
We are, after all, Chicago’s Big Ten Team, which proves a huge advantage in recruiting the city’s top prospects. Check out our roster. We nabbed an occasionally useful back-up center from Chi-City and have totally cornered the Naperville market.
You’ll recruit out-of-state by pitching NU as the best academic school in the Big Ten.
“How do you get a former Ohio State basketball player off your porch?” you’ll ask, setting up a joke to deride another school’s academic inferiority.
“I don’t know,” the recruit will reply. “But what would an NBA player be doing on my porch?”
There’s also the potential glory of leading NU to its first NCAA Tournament appearance. Ever. Middle Tennessee State managed an at-large bid this year, but we’ve proven unqualified every year in Tournament history. This pursuit of history is exactly what led Amelia Earhart to attempt a flight around the world and Coca-Cola to introduce New Coke.
You won’t find another program that offers you this kind of job security, either. At some schools, a losing season or two will get you canned faster than eight ounces of processed tuna. Here, you could go winless, then run around campus half-naked wearing Illinois underwear and a University of Chicago tattoo and still be safe. College basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy created a hot-seat model to measure when a coach is due to be fired.
“Northwestern broke it,” Pomeroy tweeted. “It is the most forgiving job among top 7 conferencess.”
So Welsh-Ryan Arena isn’t exactly the Roman Coliseum, or even the Carrier Dome, but it comes with a plucky high school gym aura. You know the scene in “Hoosiers” when the players gaze up at the rafters, in awe of the arena they’re about to play in? Welsh-Ryan—or The Shrine, as a vast minority of students calls it—produces a similar affect. Except instead of staring in veneration, here the players are glancing nervously to make sure the roof isn’t about to collapse.
And if you come to NU and somehow find success with the Cats? The campus will embrace and adore you. Pat Fitzgerald led our football team to one measly win in a bowl game named for an online tax service and will never buy another drink in Evanston. Students recently voted him the Face of Northwestern—over a guy who makes fun of Bill O’Reilly for a living.
Look, I know NU isn’t your dream job. But John Wooden preferred the University of Minnesota to UCLA, and Westwood worked out okay for him. So keep an open mind and come in for an interview. We’ve got a lot to offer.
Plus, Mike Krzyzewski isn’t retiring any time soon.