Yet another name that has been tossed around circles recently as a possible candidate for the Mississippi State basketball coaching vacancy is Kansas assistant Joe Dooley. Dooley, who is in his 9th season as an assistant at KU, has been labeled as the top assistant coach in the country. In 2010 Foxsports.com labeled him with that honor, deeming him the best assistant coach at the High-mid major level. This ranking was up from his 6th overall ranking taken in the same poll in 2008.
Prior to his current stint at Kansas, Dooley was an assistant at Wyoming for one season. Before his stop in Laramie, Joe was an assistant at New Mexico from 1999-2002.
Dooley also has some experience in the head coaching ranks, although it's been a few years since that time. From 1995-1999, Joe was the head coach at East Carolina University, and in that time he amassed a record of 57-52. Prior to that, he was an assistant at ECU for 4 seasons.
Dooley prepped at George Washington in DC, and is a native of West Orange, New Jersey.
Despite his outstanding record of success at Kansas, Dooley seems to draw mixed reviews as a candidate from Bulldog faithful.
On one hand, he is known as an outstanding recruiter, as he has been one of the primary guys recruiting all the talent at the Kansas program (which has one a national title and attended 4 Elite Eights and 5 Sweet Sixteens in his time there). From his bio on the KU official website:
In 2007, he was rated the fourth-best recruiter in the nation by Rivals.com for the class that included McDonald's All-American Cole Aldrich and Tyrel Reed. He also brought in KU NBA draftees Sasha Kaun and Mario Chalmers. (via kuathletics.com)
On the other hand, State fans view his meh-level success at ECU as a warning flag. Is Dooley simply one of those guys who excels as an assistant but not as a head coach? Could he now, after all the years as an assistant, return successfully to the head coaching ranks?
My feeling is yes: Dooley would be a good candidate. With the Kansas pedigree and the success not only on the recruiting trail but as an X's and O's guy, I think he would be a good fit. You can take his record at ECU one of two ways: he just wasn't ready at the time, or he just isn't going to be a good head coach. Either way, I can guarantee you that if State doesn't take a chance on Joe, some program very soon will.
It should be interesting to see if his name continues to be kicked around as a possible candidate.