Ohio State found its man in Kevin McGuff, but the path could have been easier

Former Xavier coach Kevin McGuff is headed back to his home state for the Ohio State head coaching job. - Photo by USA Today Sports.

The Ohio State Buckeyes introduced Ohio native Kevin McGuff as their new coach today, but the path to getting him to Columbus could have been easier.

After three weeks of missteps by Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith, the Buckeyes lucked into Kevin McGuff as their new head coach to fill the position vacated by long-time coach Jim Foster.

McGuff, 255-99 in 11 years at Xavier and Washington, is a proven winner, an Ohio native and has great AAU ties in the area. He was an assistant on the Notre Dame 2001 National Championship team and played a major role in that program's development.

Ohio State on the other hand nearly bungled the negotiation of a plum job.

First, it was Dawn Staley who came in and started to negotiate and then got wind of the fact that former Duke and Texas coach Gail Goestenkors was being contacted behind the scenes.

Goestenkors then became the object of attention until she got wind of the fact that Ohio State was interested in Louisville's Jeff Walz, after his team beat overall number one seed Baylor in the NCAA's. She removed herself from the process and next came Melanie Balcomb, from Vanderbilt where Foster also coached. That didn't work and Ohio State had apparently turned to Tricia Cullop of Toledo.

Ohio State then shifted direction and made contact with Ohio native McGuff. It took a day to put together a seven year deal which included Ohio State paying a $1.75 million buyout after McGuff had just negotiated an extension with Washington a few weeks before.

In the end, Ohio State has its man. But the path could have been a lot easier. McGuff should turn Ohio State into an instant winner in the not too difficult Big Ten.

For more on the Ohio State coaching search, check out our storystream.

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