Franklin was tabbed as Ralph Friedgen’s successor at Maryland in 2009. Instead, he jumped ship to the SEC and led Vanderbilt to back-to-back nine-win seasons for the first time in program history. Muschamp was Mack Brown’s protege at Texas, but took an opportunity to replace Urban Meyer at Florida instead. In each case, tagging rising assistants as future head coaches only served to raise their value for leadership-needy teams across the NCAA.
The programs they left behind suffered as a result. Without Franklin in tow, Maryland was forced to hire Randy Edsall after Friedgen’s firing. Edsall went 22-34 in four-plus seasons with the team. Since leaving College Park, Franklin has gone 49-30 as a head coach and won the 2016 Big Ten title with Penn State — a team the Terrapins now face annually.
Losing the man pegged as the program’s next Boeheim will be a tough blow for Syracuse to swallow, but his departure followed a familiar script from another big money NCAA sport. Hopkins joins outspoken college football coaches James Franklin and Will Muschamp as proof naming someone “head coach in waiting” is a meaningless platitude.
Players hardly ever sat out to rest during Malone’s era, but teams also didn’t have the same data available to them. With new, more precise information coming out about player health, teams can’t ignore it and carry on just like they would have done 20 or 30 years ago.
That’s the dilemma that teams and the league face, with no easy path for the two sides to meet in the middle. The NBA will continue massaging the schedule, possibly starting the season earlier while trying to eliminate as many back-to-backs and lengthy road trips as it can.
But all the while, teams will continue resting when it’s beneficial. Like Steve Kerr joked last week, maybe it’ll get even more elaborate.
“I’m going to rest all 13 guys that game,” Kerr said. “So we’re just going to forfeit.”