No need to rush courting process

Pat Kilkenny and Kelly Mehrtens live more than 3,000 miles apart. One is a filthy rich businessman and ex-Oregon athletic director while the other, Mehrtens, has been given the task of finding a new men's basketball coach at UNC-Wilmington.

Both have been mocked, chastised and made fun of due to the fact that their job searches have gone on - and on - and on.

Kilkenny has been charged with heading up the Oregon search to find the replacement for Ernie Kent, who was canned a month ago.

Kilkenny has some help from a search firm and also Nike czar Phil Knight, but just about everyone is crushing him and his "people" because they don't have anyone employed yet.

Who cares?

Just ask former Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood - who basically went a whole season knowing he needed to find a coach and didn't hire anyone until the Final Four when he was fortunate to land rising star Sean Miller.

It took Harvard about six weeks to find its man a couple years ago, but Tommy Amaker and his success in Cambridge are proof it was worth the wait.

Same goes for Minnesota's hiring of Tubby Smith, which came nearly four months after the Gophers parted ways with Dan Monson in November of 2006.

Tabbing a coach immediately certainly doesn't translate into success, either. Just look at Iowa's hiring of Todd Lickliter, which came less than two weeks after Steve Alford bolted for New Mexico.

Or Iowa State's decision to bring on Greg McDermott five days after firing Wayne Morgan.

Both Lickliter and McDermott were proven coaches at the mid-major level, but Lickliter is already gone after just three years and McDermott is on the hot seat and needs to win this season or he'll be right behind Lickliter.

It's not how long the search lasts, but who you get at the end of the day.

It took UNC-Wilmington and Mehrtens 79 days. She was spurned by a few candidates along the way - Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, Citadel's Ed Conroy, Wofford's Mike Young and Chattanooga's John Shulman - but wound up with a solid pick in Buzz Peterson when she agreed to a deal with the Appalachian State head coach on Friday afternoon.

Peterson isn't washed up at the age of 46, has NBA experience (he spent two years as the director of player personnel for the Charlotte Bobcats) and has a career college head coaching mark that is nearly 80 games above the .500 mark.

No one will remember how long it took Mehrtens to bring someone on board - if Peterson is successful. Take away a 61-59 mark in four seasons at Tennessee and Peterson has been pretty darn good in eight years at the mid-major level.

He was 79-39 in his first stint at Appalachian State, 26-11 in one season at Tulsa and 35-25 in two seasons at Coastal Carolina before winning 24 games this past season at Appalachian State.

Kilkenny's task has been to go out and get a big-name coach to help christen the new arena that will open up in Eugene this coming season which is named after Phil Knight's son, Matthew.

But it's not quite that easy to get an elite guy to leave for Oregon - even with a hefty raise.

Let's face it: Mark Few is comfortable at Gonzaga and has a better situation in Spokane. Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon has it rolling in the Big East. Tom Izzo isn't leaving Michigan State and Billy Donovan won't be heading more than 3,000 miles away to the Pac-10.

But you can't blame Oregon for trying, can you?

Then Kilkenny sat tight, according to sources, and waited for Butler's magical ride to come to an end. That took a week or so from when Butler's 33-year-old wunderkind Brad Stevens was identified.

Stevens, shortly after losing to Duke in the national title game, said "Thanks, but no thanks" and Oregon was onto the next guy.

It's true that Kilkenny could be missing out on an opportunity to keep uncommitted in-state seniors Terrence Jones and Terrence Ross home by failing to get someone in the mix, but hiring the right guy is far more important than a couple of recruits who probably won't stay home, anyway.

Now, according to sources, Kilkenny has identified Missouri's Mike Anderson as someone who would fit Oregon's vision as an innovator and also has enough cache to sell some season tickets and succeed in Eugene.

If Kilkenny gets Anderson or someone else who pans out in the long run, no one will care - or remember - how long it all took.