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2007-4-03 Interview with William B. Keightley, April 03, 2007 AF008:2007OH078 A/F 749 00:53:38 William B. Keightley Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries University of Kentucky -- Basketball. Smith, Tubby. Donovan, Billy. Basketball -- Coaching. University of Florida -- Basketball. College athletes -- Recruiting. Basketball players -- Kentucky. Keightley, William B.; Interviewee Suchanek, Jeffrey; Interviewer keightley_af_0749 1:|8(7)|21(13)|28(17)|40(5)|46(10)|55(4)|62(1)|89(8)|103(4)|121(10)|143(10)|164(3)|178(6)|190(14)|210(12)|227(6)|245(7)|261(9)|268(1)|285(4)|310(4)|317(11)|336(14)|346(15)|369(6)|388(10)|410(3)|425(13)|445(2)|468(9)|492(4)|503(5)|514(7)|543(3)|553(5)|561(6)|576(5)|600(6)|612(14)|621(3)|644(5)|658(7)|671(9)|683(5)|696(13)|727(6)|746(4)|760(7)|787(4)|809(4)|820(7)|830(9)|839(5) audiotrans BKeight interview SUCHANEK: I might as well be recording this as were talking. It's, it's April 3, 2007. This is Jeff Suchanek, and I'm meeting again in Mr. William B. Keightley's office in Memorial Coliseum, and we're gonna be talking today about baseball, and basketball, and anything else that comes to mind. I guess we'll start talking basketball at the beginning. (laughter-Suchanek) And as I mentioned to you when I came in, the last time we talked, there'd been a whole lot happen, since the last time we talked. (phones ringing) (laughter-Suchanek) You gotta look for the silver lining. But anyway, in the interim between sessions here, things have kind of blown up. (laughter-Suchanek) You know, we lost in the tournament, which wasn't a surprise. And, in fact, I think you called it. You thought we'd make the, the first cut, but the second... KEIGHTLEY: The first cut was it. SUCHANEK: And then, shortly thereafter, why, the coach, Tubby Smith leaves, followed by Randolph Morris, and, ah, what's happening'? KEIGHTLEY: Well, Jeff, we... I guess the only way to describe it is total upheaval. It's kinda like a-- SUCHANEK: Which might be good, right? In the long run? KEIGHTLEY: Well, they.......Yes, at, at this point in time, you've got to be...., look for the silver lining, yes. You know, I'm an optimistic person, for the way it's played out, hopefully everybody....., This switch may be beneficial to all that was involved within it. Tubby Smith, one of the greatest guys I've ever been around in my life. I've stated that many, many times. As a human being, I've never seen or been associated with a better person. And he is loyal to the bone and he is..... if, I've always said this, for the number of years that Tubby has been here, "if he had a weakness, it's because he's too good a person". And I think maybe this may be just a tip of the iceberg, what I've been saying. He's just too good of a person. And I think we needed to make some changes. He was so loyal and so concerned about the changes that possibly should have been made, that he didn't make 'em, and then in the eventuality, this is what, what happened. SUCHANEK: Well, do think he would have been....he would have been forced to make changes had he stayed? KEIGHTLEY: Ah, I, you know, it's hard to say, Jeff. I think... I think maybe he'd been advised maybe a year ago, it would be to his benefit to make some changes, but, you know, he, he just...he just couldn't do it to some of the family circumstances that some of these people had. It was a...an unusual year. We had a..... One of the coaches had a little bout with cancer. Another one lost his father, and another one, his... one of his daughters was ill. So, you know, all of this took it's toll. All of 'em were different individual cases, but Tubby, aware of this, you know, he didn't... he didn't force any change. And now, you see what has happened. You know, the greatest fans in the world are the fans of UK basketball, and, and look, this is a plus. You know, they care. Whereas, I'll say, if the team had just won the national championship. Their fans, you know hey, if we win the championship, fine, but you know what? Their fans really don't care. They don't care if Florida don't win a game. Oh yeah, they'll jump up and down, cheer and holler now. But, where are they in the... well, over all these years, I mean, they'll have seven, eight thousand people at the game, go to a tournament game, if it's not too distant for 'em and, you know, they were national champs last year, and they have five hundred fans is all that goes to the first round of the NCAA tournament. If we'd been national champions, there'd have been twenty-five thousand there. Now, that's the difference. Our fans care, and they care to the fact that last year we didn't have by Kentucky standards really a good year, we lost thirteen games. And we went out after one game in the NCAA tournament, same way with the SEC tournament. So, we followed it up this year with exactly the same situation. And, not only that, you could tell, we had not recruited well last year. For this, or when I say last year, not our freshmen class, yes, of this year it was a good freshmen class. But for this year that is now coming up, we just have not recruited well, and the fans take that in consideration. (unknown person interrupting) (Keightley - "You can go ahead, 'cause I gotta do this for a while. We'll get together later"). Unknown: (interrupting) "I'll come back". KEIGHTLEY: "'At a boy" Unknown: "All right." KEIGHTLEY: "All right, Son. See ya." KEIGHTLEY: So, our fans are naturally....They look out there and they can't see that silver lining. They just see storm clouds. And, and you know what? SUCHANEK: Let's talk a little about Tubby's decision, and I don't know, if he's talked to you since he left. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, I have spoken with him. SUCHANEK: Was it part of the pressure that the fans always put on coaches here at UK? Did that have a.....that must have had a significant-- KEIGHTLEY: You know...... SUCHANEK: --impact on him and his decision to leave. KEIGHTLEY: You know, Jeff, that, that thing, you can only speculate, because in my discussions with him we did not address that. But, knowing this individual, and being the caring man that he is, I know that the talk shows, the newspapers, the expectations really, really taken its toll on Tubby. I know it did, just knowing the person. I think, yes, I think he looks and sees what shape the cupboard is in for next year and with you know Randolph Morris leaving, we have, we do have the one seven foot-two kid. Right at this particular time still would be considered a project. We don't know if he'd be ready to compete in the SEC. Hopefully, before he graduates, he will, but...... SUCHANEK: Jared Carter, right? KEIGHTLEY: Right now, what was tantamount, I'm sure, in Tubby's mind was the upcoming season...... SUCHANEK: Right. I mean, uh.. KEIGHTLEY: You think it was bad this year, you just wait...... SUCHANEK: Yeah, we're... KEIGHTLEY: ....I don't think Tubby wanted to go through that storm. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: And if I was in Tubby's shoes, I would do the same thing. He had an opportunity to move to another school, no pressure. I did, I did allude to this to him. He had to beat hockey out.(laughter-Suchanek) (laughter-Keightley) That's about the only pressure that awaits him. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: Hockey is big in, in Minnesota. He's going in up there and they're trying to rebuild. They had a, you know, the academic scandal and I think Tubby .......(phones ringing) I know that he loved it here. (phones ringing) I think he sacrificed to maybe have peace of mind. (phones ringing) Which, I don't blame him at all. I'll miss....I'll miss Tubby's (unintelligible) (phones ringing) I think for Tubby's well being and actually for the well being of the program here at the University of Kentucky, it's possibly a great move for both, both people. SUCHANEK: Well, in retrospect, you know, a ten year run for a coach in any institution is pretty, is a pretty long tenure. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, it's a, yeah, it's great. SUCHANEK: I mean it's not a Adolph Rupp run, but who does have an Adolph Rupp run anymore? KEIGHTLEY: You don't have that. It won't happen. But.... SUCHANEK: (interrupting) But, I think, you know, one of the things that caught people off guard was Coach Smith leaving such a, probably the highest profile basketball, college basketball program in the country going to, as you say, a place that basketball was second best, if not third. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, that's right. SUCHANEK: You know, so I think that's what caught people off guard. That he was mentioned as a possible replacement for Tommy Amaker up at Michigan. KEIGHTLEY: Oh that.... I heard that at a time, but you know I don't know how these negotiations take the place... There has to have been a little preparation for this. It just didn't happen in one day. SUCHANEK: Right. Well, I think I read where his, Coach Smith's agent had been discussing with Minnesota for the last six months, ah, six weeks about this move. So... KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: You know it was... I guess, it was kind of in the works, so to speak. I don't think his agent would have doing that without Coach Smith knowing about it. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes. SUCHANEK: So, you know, this is something that Coach Smith honestly had thought about for some time. One thing that I found a little intriguing was the fact that you know if Coach Smith was here as coach on April 3rd, which is today, he would have gotten a million and a half dollar bonus. He left but he got the bonus anyway. And I was wondering if, if..... You know the rumor's out there that there was some kind of buy out to get him to go. Do you know anything about that? KEIGHTLEY: No, I don't, Jeff. No, and I don't think there's any kind of a buy out, no. I think you know he made the move, yes, before the deadline, as you say, but still, he had completed his tenure as coach at that time. I mean, we were already eliminated, but he was still employed. And I don't think he had to stay till April the 3rd to receive the bonus. SUCHANEK: So you think the April the 3rd date was in case we made it to the final game? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes sireee. Yes. Yeah, I think that's exactly very astute.(laughter - Suchanek) But, no, I just think this move is gonna be beneficial, absolutely to Tubby Smith and, hopefully, it'll be beneficial to us. We, as I say, we've had some problem within our recruiting and the incoming class for next fall, at this point, is almost nonexistent. SUCHANEK: Mm-hmm. Well, you know, that is another thing we could talk about now, in, in, in the search for a new coach, and certainly this could be a beneficial thing and it could be a disadvantage too. Anybody looking at this job, to take this job, is gonna look at the cupboard and know it's bare. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: And it's gonna be rough going for the next two, maybe three years. 'Cause, you know, only in very rare instances do you get freshmen in here who are ready to play at this level of competition. KEIGHTLEY: Absolutely. SUCHANEK: So, until they get a year or two of experience.... KEIGHTLEY: Yes, I... SUCHANEK: ....you don't really know what you've got. KEIGHTLEY: I would say you know it would take, 'course you can rebuild and reload basketball a lot more easily than other sports, really. You get a couple of marquee players, and you're ready to go. As Ohio State got Oden and Conley, and kind of put 'em on the map. You can do that in basketball, but at this point in time, it's not out there for us for this next year. So next year will be a project. There's no doubt about it. SUCHANEK: And it's gonna take a coach who, who's gonna really work with the talent that's here, rather than coming maybe with a special system that he wants to implement when the athletes might not be here to work with that system. Yeah, I think the best example of that is when Rick Pitino came. Those players were not the most talented players, but he certainly got the most out of them and played a style of play that took advantage of their skills. KEIGHTLEY: Right. Yes, very true. I think though there's still a couple of high profile kids out there...... SUCHANEK: Mmm. Jai Lucas. KEIGHTLEY: have not cast their lot, yet. SUCHANEK: Patterson, yeah. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, and now they could come in and could be the cornerstone for future teams. We've got, got the four freshmen we have this year, you know, you never know about a freshmen sometimes, after a year a freshman may want to leave, but I, maybe, I don't see any of 'em leaving. SUCHANEK: Well, there was a rumor in the paper out in California that Jasper was considering his options. Did you know anything about that? KEIGHTLEY: I did see that and he said he wasn't going to make any you know decisions. Very quickly, he's a very good student, a real good kid, and we bring in the type coach that I think we will, I think Derrick Jasper would be very happy right here. That's just my feeling. I don't think Derrick Jasper would've been happy here under our past operation. I do not believe that. SUCHANEK: It just didn't seem like they took advantage of his skills. KEIGHTLEY: Aahh. SUCHANEK: (clearing throat) As, as.... KEIGHTLEY: What bothered me about this particular kid, was the fact he played his freshman year and started most of the games and, actually, at the end of the year, was not as good a player as he was the first day of practice. Now, that has, has to be a confidence thing. There is where you have to have a particular skill in building confidence... SUCHANEK: Right. Well, you mentioned our last session the fact that Jodie Meeks wasn't even practicing with the first team. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: You know that's gotta be a confidence thing, too, that Meeks isn't practicing with the first team, so, you know, he doesn't have the confidence in himself. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, see, now that's, that's the little things that.... You've got to capitalize on that. You know, you just can't have just this, that tunnel vision. You've got to see.....It's like driving a car, you know, they always say, "see the big picture". You know what? Coaching is the same way. You'd better see the big picture. Not only what's ahead, but what's on this side and what's on this side. And how this one over here can help you achieve where you're heading up here. And sometimes, sometimes there is a thing such as over-coaching. Talking, talking, talking is over- coaching. Action, repetition over and over is learning to play the game. And that's what you need to do. You need repetition. You need up and down. I don't need to stop. We're starting on a fast break, we get the mid-court stripe, I don't need to blow my whistle and stop. I need to let 'em go all the way through with it. And then come back. SUCHANEK: So this was the kind of thing that was going on in these practices. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. They don't have to please me, but I..... SUCHANEK: Well, you've been around a long time. KEIGHTLEY: I, I did not like that part of practice. SUCHANEK: You've seen a lot of coaches, you know, you've been here a long time, you know it's, what it takes to be successful. KEIGHTLEY: Well, I do know this. I learned something from every coach that we had. I learned from Tubby and I learned from 'em all. And I know the do's and the don'ts. Yes. But you, once you get into a flow, what do you say exactly? You don't stop to just correct one little flaw because there's ten people out there, and somebody is out of position all the time. SUCHANEK: (laughing) Exactly. KEIGHTLEY: So you don't have to stop practice to remind that one guy that he was not in the position he should've been. SUCHANEK: Well... KEIGHTLEY: You know what? Next time down the floor, it'll be somebody else. SUCHANEK: Well, in that kind of coach's, that kind of coaching makes players think too much. KEIGHTLEY: You can't think. You've got to react. SUCHANEK: Exactly. KEIGHTLEY: That's another thing. Let's see... Solholic: Well, we're talking about coaching style. And... KEIGHTLEY: Coaching styles. Yes, oh yes, as I say, everything....people developed the old philosophy, 'course I've never coached to win, scored a point, got rebound, but you can't help but acquire a little knowledge about what works and what does not work. There are more, there are more players over-coached than under- coached. (Laughter-Solholic) As I stated, and you know it, any coach that's in one of these high profile positions should know it's still a game of reaction. Now I sit up, and I'll watch all these different teams play and we give scouting reports, and we try to analyze plays and different team run and you might have look like an encyclopedia. Some teams may have over a hundred plays. There's no such thing. There's not a hundred plays. Hey mostly, ninety-five percent of the time, and that's probably a conservative figure, it winds up one on one. Oh yeah, you set a screen out front, yeah sure, but you do that in a pick- up game. If you start for a hoop and if they slough off, pick you up, you pass the ball to somebody else. Now that's pretty simple. (Laughter- Suchanek) That is not a play. SUCHANEK: Keep it simple, right? KEIGHTLEY: They don't need a diagram for that play. So.... SUCHANEK: Well, I mean most, most, most teams have, probably what, five or six plays, but there's variations off of those, off all those plays, but, you know, everybody knows what you're gonna run. (clearing throat - Suchanek) KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, we (unintelligible) SUCHANEK: There are no secrets out there. KEIGHTLEY: They.... Coach Rupp probably had about three plays, six, eight, and ten. That was about it. We ran number six to start every game he ever played. That was a guard around, they called it. In the early days, now today I don't know what, but we would put some kind of a scientific name on it. SUCHANEK: Right. Fancy. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. And we'll set the... We do all of the video work. It's huge. You gotta break down the game, get all the plays here on one tape, spend countless hours reviewing this thing, and then the game, the next game comes up look, you gotta cover the guy wherever he is. (laughter - Suchanek) He's never gonna be in the same spot twice the whole game. He's either gonna be a step back or a step in front, step to the side... (phones ringing) so you just can't give him a spot to run. (phones ringing) SUCHANEK: Right. Beat him to the spot. KEIGHTLEY: (unintelligible) (phones ringing) SUCHANEK: How often did I hear that when I was playing? KEIGHTLEY: (phones ringing) Kinda like what John Bill Trivette used to say when he was coaching at Pikeville, (phones ringing) they brought him in one time when Coach Rupp was here. Now John Bill played, was a high school coach in Pikeville. And he played a defense something like what Rick's offense is. (laughter - Suchanek) These kids juts ran all over the floor, double teaming, triple teaming, jumping, knocking. KEIGHTLEY: And they brought... SUCHANEK: That's something like... KEIGHTLEY: ...John Bill in to explain his defense. And, you know what? He got out there to explain it. He said, "well, it's really pretty simple. All you gotta do is just hunker down and go after somebody". (laughter - Suchanek) Actually, that's the way it is. You just hunker down, go get somebody. (laughter - Suchanek) (laughter - Keightley). So he came from Pikeville to give us that knowledge. (laughter - Suchanek) SUCHANEK: You know, that sounds like a.... A prescription for next year's team's defense, that's what it's gonna have to be, 'cause we're gonna have to do something to make up for the lack of talent. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. You gotta, yeah, you gotta do it. Yes. SUCHANEK: You gotta come with some kind o' gimmick. KEIGHTLEY: Well, we got.... You know, we have a talented freshman in, Perry Stevenson that for some strange reason got lost in the shuffle. He was very, very active on the floor. He made things happen. SUCHANEK: He made mistakes, but he was a freshman. KEIGHTLEY: That's right, he made mistakes, he occasionally, yes, he didn't hunker down and go after somebody... (laughter - Suchanek) ...like he should. But by the same token, he compensated in the fact, he made things happen on offense that no one else could do. He got rebounds. But Perry Stevenson got lost in the shuffle. SUCHANEK: What do you... KEIGHTLEY: That kid will, that kid will be a player. SUCHANEK: Well, he'll get an opportunity next year. (cough - Suchanek) KEIGHTLEY: He will, yes. SUCHANEK: Do you think that was another one of Tubby's faults was the fact that he was too loyal to his older players? KEIGHTLEY: Well, yes, I, yes, yes, I would like to have seen more this year of the younger kids, because we fairly well knew what ...... SUCHANEK: (interrupting) Sheray Thomas could do. KEIGHTLEY: That's right. Great kid, great kid, but not talented enough to play at Kentucky. But a great kid. Same with Woo. Wonderful person, I'm glad he came through, but he did not have talent to play at Kentucky. SUCHANEK: Well, you mentioned, one of our recruits for next year, Williams? KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: That he's almost like Woo, right? KEIGHTLEY: The thing of it is, no one really, other than one of the coaches really saw him play. See, he's from England. Know that he averaged as a junior, something like seven points and four rebounds (laughter - Suchanek) and that's not conducive to national championship playing. SUCHANEK: No, that might fit in at Alice Lloyd, but not here. KEIGHTLEY: That's about where he probably should be. (laughter - Suchanek) So I don't know about him. A. J. Stewart is coming in, has a chance, not a shooter, but he's a good athlete, runs the floor. But we need immediate help. SUCHANEK: We also need people who can shoot. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, we do. SUCHANEK: We've had, you know, the last ten years we've had a lot of people come through who, good people, physical players but couldn't shoot. KEIGHTLEY: You know, I'll tell you, Jeff, people everywhere, especially the team announcers, the media, they talk about Florida's team, you know, they talk about Horford, they talk about Brewer. They talk about.... SUCHANEK: Humphrey. KEIGHTLEY: Noah. Humphrey is the most underrated player on that team. Without Humphrey, Florida would have lost some games this year. And I don't mean one or two. They'd have lost four or five without that young man, because you had to go out and guard him. SUCHANEK: Oh yeah. He was like, I mean, not quite Tony Delk, but he was, he could hit it. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. You know, even last night..... SUCHANEK: Well, he was like Brassow. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, last night he hit about three big threes, and he did that against UCLA. He had about five or six against them. SUCHANEK: Well, see that's, we've talked about this before, what Jasper's lacking is a fact that he won't even take the shot. KEIGHTLEY: That's right. SUCHANEK: But you've gotta....Even if you miss the shot, you've gotta be a threat out there, so that if they come out and get you. But if you're not even gonna take the shot, then that's when they fall back and you're playing four on five. KEIGHTLEY: You know, we had times this year... When you look back, I didn't have to look back, but many, many, many times in a game we would have five players on the floor, only two was even a scoring threat. SUCHANEK: That's right. KEIGHTLEY: Only two. That would be Ramel and Joe. SUCHANEK: Yep. KEIGHTLEY: We'd have Sheray. SUCHANEK: Woo KEIGHTLEY: Woo and Derrick Jasper who wouldn't want to shoot. SUCHANEK: Right. Was he told not to shoot? Or... KEIGHTLEY: No. Nor neither was he told to shoot, either. But he was not told not to shoot. They didn't have to worry. He wasn't going to. So... SUCHANEK: Now that would have never flown under Rick Pitino. I remember, if you didn't take a shot if you were wide open, you sat on the bench. KEIGHTLEY: Now this, you know this observation now doesn't apply necessarily to the team this year, but over the years we've had players that wouldn't shoot. And then we had players that would shoot and because they did take a shot, they came out of the game. And this spans possibly at least two coaches, maybe three. You never, ever take a kid out for taking a shot. If it's a bad shot, everybody knows it's a bad shot. SUCHANEK: As does the player. KEIGHTLEY: Most of all, he does. So, let's not embarrass him and yank him. Now you get a kid that won't take a shot when he's got a shot. I mean, in, in years gone by, I've seen kids turn down shots, and then we'd have to wind up and take a shot that wasn't a shot. And the coach would wonder why we took that shot, but the time clock has got one second left. Instead saying, "What kind of a shot was that?" " By God, it just one right before the buzzer went off". You just can't remove a kid for taking a bad shot. Now, Billy Donovan at Florida is like Rick. He will not take a kid out for taking a shot. SUCHANEK: Unless he doesn't take a wide-open shot. KEIGHTLEY: But gosh, and we, we, we this particular year since we weren't an offensive machine, we tried to work and work and work, and many times threw the ball away, trying to get a better shot. We actually had some shots. I believe if you're open, you should shoot the ball. SUCHANEK: I believe that, too, and, and... KEIGHTLEY: That's what the people in the stands want to see. They don't want to see... Eddie Sutton, at one time, he's still playing pretty much this way, he used to have a rule, "you gotta make seven passes before you look for a shot". OK, you know what? That gives the opponent about twenty seconds just to stand out there and really relax on defense. SUCHANEK: 'Cause they're.... KEIGHTLEY: Now, while the clock's ticking man they'll come, they'll hunker down (laughter - Suchanek) and come after you. SUCHANEK: 'Cause they're kinda... Keightley: You can't get a shot. SUCHANEK: Because they're counting, too. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. (laughter- Suchanek) They know how. So, you know, there is so many little things that.... SUCHANEK: (Interrupting) Over-coaching, right? KEIGHTLEY: That's what it is. SUCHANEK: Let's talk about the search, now. You know of course the big name now is Billy Donovan. My personal opinion is, "Billy Donovan's not coming here". His wife's family is down there, he's got relatives down there. He's King of the hill down there. He's built that program. He can recruit to Florida better, easier than he could probably recruit here, 'cause it's Florida. And they're gonna pay him whatever, whatever he wants. Do you see that? KEIGHTLEY: Well, you know what Jeff, 'course again, I have my own theory. I don't know if Billy would come here or not. I do not know. But, I realize now he has his family down there. But you know what? Billy Donovan is not gonna stay in Florida the rest of his life. There is gonna come a time Billy Donovan, he's not gonna retire at the University of Florida. And I'll go back to a little earlier; the people down there really, really don't care about basketball. They would not trade that national championship, oh, they would trade that national championship trophy for one football win. Case point, if this year when they're playing in New Orleans and they sold a... If they had 1250 tickets, and they had 500 of 'em picked up, if that would have been the University of Florida football team playing LSU, 65,000 people would have gone. SUCHANEK: 'Course you know, he coached here as an assistant under Pitino, so he knows what this is all about. KEIGHTLEY: And the other thing of it is, it makes no difference how long he stays, how many national championships he wins, he's not gonna dent football. SUCHANEK: He's always gonna be second (unintelligible) KEIGHTLEY: He's gonna be number two. He could come to Kentucky, and be the boy king. If he came now, he would be more popular than Rick was. Because, he's already got the name. And he has the personality for this place. Now, as I say, I don't know. There's a lot of... Like I say about the writers, they started out predicting that Billy would be here. If you remember early on, it was some releases that Donovan was coming. SUCHANEK: Bought a farm! (laughter - Suchanek) KEIGHTLEY: That's right, and now as the story goes on, they keep writing, and they come back to point one, "Nah, he's not coming". So now they have (laughter - Keightley) reversed their feel from coming to not coming. SUCHANEK: Wouldn't you think his winning last night, the second championship in a row, makes it harder for him to leave? KEIGHTLEY: Well, it, it, it's gonna make it hard for him to leave, yes, at any time, yes. SUCHANEK: But for Kentucky to get him... KEIGHTLEY: But, but, but by the same token, you know what, this team's gonna be gone, too, although they're just juniors. But, this team's gonna be gone. SUCHANEK: I mean he could have a three peat next year. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, if they all came back, which.... SUCHANEK: I can't imagine... KEIGHTLEY: No, I could not...No, he couldn't do it again, if they all came back, but they all won't come back. But he had an unusual team with great chemistry. SUCHANEK: Oh, absolutely. KEIGHTLEY: But, you see, that's what you gotta build. You gotta make each kid believe in the other one, and you don't put all your eggs in one basket. You share the ball, so... SUCHANEK: Who would you like to see come? KEIGHTLEY: Well, I'd like to see, hey, it's like, I said when we replaced Rick, it was a no-brainer, I said "Tubby". I said that right off, right out of the shoot, because of the kind of person Tubby was. I knew how he would relate to the people of the State. Now, it's a no-brainer, I mean it's, it's Billy. I would like to add a little Kentucky flavor to whatever and whoever comes in here to this staff. I would like to, you know I would like to have a Kyle Macy. A guy that's low key, that's not interested in taking anybody's job as head coach, a guy that just wants to coach because he loves the game of basketball, a guy that the people of the State can relate to. We don't get enough Kentucky people involved in our basketball program. And that goes for players and they want to say, "Yeah, you know the players, we don't have 'em here in the state". Hey, I can look out there, and I can see a whole bunch of 'em that should be here so... SUCHANEK: Who might play with a little bit more passion. KEIGHTLEY: Hey, they do play with more passion. I'll say like Goldman that played for St. X. They had a pretty good run. At Ohio State..... SUCHANEK: Yeah, I mean you could go around the country and find Kentucky players, we would have had a nice team. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, that's right. SUCHANEK: Chris Lofton. KEIGHTLEY: Well yeah, and..... SUCHANEK: The kid from Vanderbilt. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, Neltner. All of 'em right here and... SUCHANEK: We might have had a better team. (laughter - Suchanek) KEIGHTLEY: Oh, we'd have had a whole lot better team, no doubt about it. But there's something about, you gotta put on a national scale. I had a, and how the kid turned out this year I can't tell you, yeah, there was a kid last year, or the year before last now in high school, played out here at Lexington Lafayette. He was six-eight. I never saw him play, and I don't know if he could play a lick, I do not know. But I do know, he averaged about eighteen points a game and sixteen rebounds. He's six- eight. We never went one mile to see this kid. SUCHANEK: Where did he go? KEIGHTLEY: He went to, he went to Marshall. He got a scholarship to Marshall. Now, I don't know this year we didn't call him. I know Marshall terminated their coach, who also had been part of Tubby's staff... SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: at two other places. But as to how the kid developed, I don't know. But I guess what I'm saying is, "At least..." SUCHANEK: Take a look at him. KEIGHTLEY: Hey, it might cost you a dollar (laughter - Suchanek) to go out there and watch him. But you know, you can go to Texas, California, Washington, New York, look at some kid you never heard of, when you can actually get a line on a local kid, the real type person he is. SUCHANEK: And watch him more than one time. KEIGHTLEY: and watch him more than one time at no expense. So that's recruiting. You gotta beat the bushes. Roy Williams beats the bushes. He goes out. Coaches will get wrapped up in their off-court ventures, of foundations, and business deals. A lot of other things get in the way and you start scheduling your personal events ahead of your business. And that can happen when coaches get into a spot, stay around, get a little comfortable in the position and don't have the same drive to do their job as maybe they had..... SUCHANEK: They rely more, they rely more on their assistants. KEIGHTLEY: That's right. Yes. But you can't....Look, if you can recruit, you can coach. SUCHANEK: If you can't recruit, and If you can't recruit, it doesn't matter how good a coach you are. KEIGHTLEY: You can't do it. That's right. SUCHANEK: If you had to put odds on somebody like Donovan coming, him specifically, where would you put that at right now, in your gut, what would you say? KEIGHTLEY: In, right at this time, being of a positive nature, knowing how important this is to this program to have a high profile person, I'm gonna give, I'm gonna give it a 70% chance. I could be 100% wrong, but I'll give it a 70% chance. SUCHANEK: You know Billy? KEIGHTLEY: I know Billy, yes. I know him and I knew when he was Billy the Kid. SUCHANEK: So you think in your own, in your own mind, this would be, this is still the program to come to. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. Yes, I don't think Billy wants to be second string his entire life at Florida. Oh, there's people like Rick thinks he'll hold out, he'll go to the coach the Miami Heat. Hey, you're hired to coach the pros, you're hired to be fired. SUCHANEK: Right, exactly. KEIGHTLEY: That's all it is. SUCHANEK: And you're making less money than the players. KEIGHTLEY: The guy that's important in pro basketball is the general manager. The coach is secondary. SUCHANEK: And he can't tell the players to do anything, 'cause they're making more money than he is. KEIGHTLEY: That's right. He can get 'em together, and get 'em to the next location, throw 'em a ball, (laughter - Suchanek) and they can tell him where to go, and do. SUCHANEK: Exactly, exactly. Yeah, I think, in my own mind, Donovan's a college coach. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yeah. SUCHANEK: If not Donovan, who do you think would be next? And you've heard Rick Barnes; you've heard the guy from Georgetown, Thompson. KEIGHTLEY: You know, it's, you know it's pretty hard, it's pretty hard to say. You know there's a lot of... I kind of lean, I kind of lean to good people that I know, instead of... Yeah, Rick Barnes does a good job, but Rick Barnes never, never made the big fans, gets a lot of players. You've got a lot of coaches, gets a lot of players and go nowhere. SUCHANEK: Yeah, Dale Brown. KEIGHTLEY: That's right. Yes. Go nowhere and... SUCHANEK: How about Thad Matta. He was mentioned. KEIGHTLEY: Well, yeah, but he.... SUCHANEK: I don't see him as... KEIGHTLEY: I probably... 'Course another guy that's out there, he may be going to... I don't think Michigan's hired a coach yet, but another one that's out there that I consider to be a real great person, been really a successful coach everywhere he's been, is Lon Kruger. One of the truly, great, humble people. SUCHANEK: Is he at UNLV? KEIGHTLEY: He's at UNLV. SUCHANEK: Which is kind of like the... KEIGHTLEY: He stayed at the hotel with us in Chicago. I really... I've known... Well, of course I first knew of him when he played at Kansas State. Then, you know, Lon was a great athlete. He played three or four years professional baseball. Maybe, it might have been the White Sox organization. But he was really a fine baseball player. SUCHANEK: Does he play the kind of offense that you think this next coach is gonna have to play. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, I guess. Yes, at Vegas he did. SUCHANEK: I mean this, Tubbyball won't play the next time. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, that's another guy I really hold in high esteem, but kinda plays the same kind of ball is Tom Izzo. You know he's got the... SUCHANEK: The Tubbyball going KEIGHTLEY: When he hooks up, you know it's a low scoring game. SUCHANEK: Exactly. How about Calipari? I saw he... KEIGHTLEY: I like Johnny, but I don't know... SUCHANEK: I saw he turned down Arkansas, and I thought maybe he was hoping for a phone call from Mitch Barnhart. KEIGHTLEY: Well, what I don't know about Johnny is... Yes, he's a recruiter. SUCHANEK: If you're gonna get...... KEIGHTLEY: He goes to the places, and he recruits different type athletes to what we might have... SUCHANEK: Risky. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, high risk. But he can coach. And he's a, he's a dynamo. And Rick hates every bone in his body. (laughter - Suchanek) And you know that's strange. I remember.... SUCHANEK: Well, they had a rivalry going. KEIGHTLEY: My god, they were like brothers. Now, Rick, he hates him worse than anybody alive. SUCHANEK: Well, 'cause he stealing some of Rick's thunder. KEIGHTLEY: I don't know. Yes probably. (laughter - Suchanek) SUCHANEK: He's getting too many headlines. (laughter - Suchanek) (laughter - KEIGHTLEY) Well anyway, to wrap up today, I think, I don't think the search is gonna go on past next week. KEIGHTLEY: I, Jeff, I would say, right now I would say, Thursday may be the day. It may be. God knows who it may be. But I'd say... SUCHANEK: And I have to say at this point, probably, money is no object. KEIGHTLEY: I'd say not, at this point, yeah, at this point. And I hope, I hope for Mitch Barnhart, who I highly respect, I hope for Mitch Barnhart he can get a marquee hire, because that will help Mitch Barnhart. SUCHANEK: Yeah, we don't need a Hal Mumme. KEIGHTLEY: I really, really admire Mitch and he's been perceived wrongly in a lot of corners, and it's just not that way. SUCHANEK: Well, you know, he proved it with the football coach. Everybody laughed when he got Rich Brooks, but it took time to turn that program around and they're a solid fundamental team. KEIGHTLEY: I just told a, just this week, at breakfast with Marty Brittonman, and he'd been, he, he'd been misinformed about Mitch, and I had heard him a time or two before you know make reference about Mitch, but I wasn't, I wasn't in the company where I could really... SUCHANEK: Let him know. KEIGHTLEY: Let him know. Well, let's see, this was last Thursday morning, I had breakfast with him in Florida, and I, he brought up Mitch's name in a negative nature, and I said, "Marty, I gotta tell ya. You're way off base. And what you've been told and what Mitch Barnhart is....Mitch Barnhart is a gentleman and he does care and now, now your informant, and I know who it is, is totally off base". He said, "Well, I'm pleased you told me that". But there he was, it just wasn't right. If one person don't like someone, they can influence other people when it's, it's just totally wrong. I try not to be that way, but maybe sometimes I'm influenced, but I try not to be until I see and know. Sometimes you're never around them enough to really know, so you just got to guess. SUCHANEK: But you're hoping the person coming in is somebody that will be instant, create instant excitement. KEIGHTLEY: That's right. SUCHANEK: I mean, from the day he's hired. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. And I want.... SUCHANEK: That narrows the list. KEIGHTLEY: I want it for Mitch as much as I want it for myself, I really do. 'Cause I know he's tried, Dr. Todd's tried. It's tough being at the top. (laughter - Suchanek) So I, you know what? I don't have to worry about it. SUCHANEK: And we'll stop at that. (laughter - Suchanek) (laughter - Keightley) KEIGHTLEY: Yes. This interview takes place soon after UK's NCAA Tournament loss, Tubby Smith's announcement that he was leaving to coach at Minnesota, and Randolph Morris' acceptance to play for the New York Knicks. Keightley offers his perspective on this turn of events and speculates on the reasons for the team's recent lack of success. He discusses Tubby Smith's analytical coaching style, and compares it to the more hands-on approaches of previous UK coaches and other college coaches. He contends that poor recruitment efforts led to a lackluster game, and laments the fact that so few native Kentuckians are scouted for UK. Keightley concludes by putting forward his best guess on who the next coach will be, and who his top choices for the position are, including former UK assistant coach, Billy Donovan. UKAW; University of Kentucky Men's Basketball