Published Thursday, March 22, 2012 AT 10:19 AM / Updated at 11:46 AM
Dirk’s Brunch Bites, March 22
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

Dana Altman is staying in Oregon. Thus, the most obvious candidate to fill the Nebraska basketball opening says no. I recognize a lot of Husker fans weren’t excited about Altman, not only because of his Creighton ties but his vanilla personality.

But the man has coached circles around too many colleagues to count. His style is fun to watch. And as a native son, the job would’ve meant more to him than any other candidate.

Had Altman won an NCAA tournament game in Lincoln, he could’ve been the man who resurrected NU and Creighton. That’s quite a legacy. And it must have weighed on his mind the past few weeks, especially since — at 53 years old — this may be Altman’s last chance at Nebraska.

On the other hand, there’s no doubt Oregon is an easier place to win, especially considering the current state of the Pac-12 and Big Ten. Just two years into his Oregon tenure, perhaps Altman felt it was too soon to leave.

Nebraska can still hire a great coach. But it lost a pretty good candidate this morning.


>> According to Andy Katz, Nebraska is expected to focus on Ohio’s John Groce and Colorado State’s Tim Miles. On the surface, those two candidates look similar. Both are successful head coaches outside the power-six conferences. But Groce is the better pick.

Why? Groce has experience in the Big Ten. He helped recruit the best class in Ohio State history, which included Greg Oden and Mike Conley. He’s an Indiana native.

Miles is a great guy; he famously sends out tweets at halftime. But he’s spent his entire career in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Colorado. That’s not exactly the heart of Big Ten country.

Kudos to Miles for recruiting four native Nebraskans and making the NCAA tournament. But even with a roster of local kids, you still need a few NBA prospects from outside the state. Miles has no experience coaching or recruiting those types of players.

That doesn’t mean, if Tom Osborne hires Miles, he’s an automatic failure. (In fact, Nebraskans would probably love his personality). Nor does it mean that if Groce is the guy, he would automatically succeed.

But Miles looks like the riskier bet.

>> The NBDL in Ralston? Sign me up for 5-10 home games a season. Omaha is not known as a basketball town. And there’s plenty of competition with Creighton, UNO and Nebraska. But professional basketball — especially a league affiliated with the NBA — would appeal to Omahans, especially if ticket prices weren’t too high. But that’s just my take. What’s yours? Would you attend NBDL games?

>> Butler to the Atlantic 10? Sounds like it’s gonna happen. I’m on record saying I want Creighton to move up in the college basketball conference hierarchy. Hooking your wagon to Brad Stevens’ program isn’t a bad idea. I’m not crazy about the A-10 in its current form; it’s too big and spread out. But I think Creighton would fit in well with  the nucleus of Xavier, Butler, Dayton, St. Joseph’s, UMass and Saint Louis.

>> Remember the seven Sweet 16 schools within 2 hours of Cincinnati? Pat Forde visited all of them in one day! And wrote about it.

>> Roger Goodell went after Sean Payton with all his might. That’s exactly the right target, says Mike Freeman. But it’s not as much about bounties as it is about lying to Goodell, says Bill Barnwell.

>> Totally agree with these takes: The Jets can say they’re bringing in Tim Tebow as a back-up/change of pace quarterback. But considering the circus that accompanies Tebow, there’s no way this ends well for Mark Sanchez. It will be a QB controversy by week 4.

>> Jim Boeheim called Charles Barkley “an idiot“.

>> Memories of a legendary sports writer, Furman Bisher.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at


  1. Sooka says:

    Bring in Yogi Bear to go with you football Coach Boo Boo

    The Yogi Bear and Boo Boo Show…….now that’s classic…..

  2. Josh says:

    Would I go to an NBADL game? How much are they paying me?

    1. Jake says:

      Agreed. Either I get paid to go or I want free tickets and free concessions. Otherwise, I’m not interested.

      1. Jake says:

        I haven’t lost if I haven’t gone. Pro basketball doesn’t interest me in the least.

  3. W. Wright says:

    How is the Ralston arena gonna host the Mavs, Beef, Lancers AND a NBDL team?! Talk about a scheduling nightmare.

    And, Groce should stay at OU … his whole team is coming back, guys he recruited. Pull a Smart/Stevens/Few et al. and wait for a perfect job (though, Illinois may be it right now). No reason to take a tough job like UNL when a better one is just around the corner.

    1. UNL Grad says:

      Ask Chris Lowery about waiting for “the perfect job”.

  4. Mike says:

    Why would Groce want to come to NU? Or any coach for that matter. Each year you have to go against Matta, Izzo, Bo Ryan, Tom Crean, Beilien. There is about 7-8 losses right there. Then you have a decent (but not great Minnesota team), an up and coming Iowa program, and whatever big name coach Illinois gets. You’re already staring at 10-11 losses right there. Not to mention that Big Brother down the road is pulling in 18K fans while you’re struggling get 10K. Talk about a black hole.

    1. Husker Jay says:

      Your right, Mike. One should shy away from competition their entire life. Sounds like a dynamite life plan to me!

  5. Matt in MN says:

    Dirk – regarding the NBA D-league, two words: Omaha Racers. Hasn’t his already been done in Omaha? I guess you could argue that the Racers had moderate success, and probably were a victim of the CBA’s demise, but they’re not necessarily a ringing endorsement of the town’s enthusiasm for pro basketball. I think it would be great if the league can to the Big O and it worked out, but until that happens…

    1. macjones says:

      That Lil’ Herbie RURAL, PROVENCIAL, PAROCHIAL envclave is exclusively a PIGSKIN state. Always has been and always will be.

      Heck, you take Creighton U. MCB away from the Hinterlands and y’all small town/suburban bUbba’s have NO successful college basketball rooting interests! Howdy.

      1. Jake says:

        Outside of men’s basketball and men’s soccer, what exactly does Creighton offer?

        1. Joe says:


          1. Jake says:


          2. overpriced, subpar academics. can get a better education for 1/3 the price in Lincoln or get a better education for nearly the same price in the Ivy League.

        2. Bob says:

          A baseball team that is better than the two other Division 1 teams.

          1. Jake says:

            Creighton’s baseball team is a joke. Last weekend they lost to a North Dakota team that was 1-10. Last year, they lost 2 out of 3 games to one of Nebraska’s worst teams in decades. They’re not the best team in the state and never will be.

          2. Bob says:

            So my comments got deleted why? UNL fan can slam a team that is better than theirs but I throw facts out there and it gets deleted. Typical OWH Fusker Homerism, support some Jay athletics once.

        3. Bluejays!! says:

          They also have excellent facilities for all its athletic teams! Their softball team is consistently good and I like CU’s women’s basketball team too. Go Jays!!

  6. macjones says:

    ” Nebraska can still hire a great coach. ”

    Now the latter quote is the type of DELUSIONAL yap I read and or hear from y’all Lil’ Herbie good ol’ boy Roy’s, these days. Howdy.

    Great coach… Give moi a freakin’ break!

    Seriously, y’all small town/ suburban bUbba’s got to be kidding moi. Eh. Because I’m certain it’s not April Fools Day, y’all Lil’ Herbie fools! Hee hee, Hah hah

    Heck, the Lil’ Herbie MCB media-nexus tosses out such names as Dixon, Altman, Howland, Smart, Marshall and yes Weber as head coaching canditates.

    When any SANE-MINDED college hoopdom fandom absolutely KNOWS the forementioned ” great coaches ” won’t take a step near the small town Capital town.

    And dig this y’all DELUSIONAL Lil’ Herbie partisans. When Native Son Dana says no way Hose, that INDICATES the DIRE state of Lil’ Herbie MCB is in deep stanky, DOO-DOO! lol

    By the way, two months ago I absolutely stated that Coach Altman would NEVER leave beautiful Oregon for that JOKE of a MCB program in the small town Capital town.

    Oh, I dig how the elfish Derek STOLE my catch phrase… Native Son Dana. Because I’ve been using that moniker since I absolutely PREDICTAED, that Dana wouldn’t come near the borders of the Beef state.

    Finally, Groce won’t accept the Lil ‘Herbie offer! And y’all Lil’ Herbie small town/suburban good ol’ boy Roy’s read it here first. dUh

    1. BigFRed says:

      Same old shtick. Yawn.

  7. Johnny Reno says:

    The fact that Altman has “supposedly” turned NU down actually means he will be announced as the next NU B-Ball coach within 48 hours. You heard it here first.

  8. BlueJay says:

    The expectations at Nebraska are realistic, they have nice facilities, a new arena on the way and they are in a top hoops conference. They should be able to find someone to take the gig.

    How about Jimmy Patsos from Loyola MD? I know he is sort of a character, but the guy can coach and he an assitant at Maryland when they won the title.

  9. HskrBll says:

    Why would Groce want to come to NU? Or any coach for that matter? Each year you would get to go against Matta, Izzo, Bo Ryan, Tom Crean, Beilien. Then you have a decent (but not great Minnesota team), an up and coming Iowa program, and whatever big name coach Illinois gets. If you want to be one of the big dogs, then you gotta run with em. There’s pressure in every perfect job out there. Maybe more at those percieved better schools. Opportunity is knocking………pass out the Runzas.

    1. herbie jr says:

      BAM!!! ^^^

      No Better league, No better coaching, No better place to show yourself to the nation. Not sure who one of the big dogs who have already proven themselves in a basketball town would not take it as a challenge to see what they could build. Nope, would not be one of the young bucks out there who have some of the entitlement attitudes but a mid to old timer who may have 5 or 6 years of coaching left in them…

    2. UNL Grad says:

      Any coach should consider the job because you can basically write your own contract, put forth little effort, wait it out six years, and cash in that lotto ticket.

      There are ZERO expectations.

      But if you can manage to do more than the prior two trainwrecks, you attain legend status. At that point, you can keep building and get increasingly bigger paychecks, or move on to another (more prestigious) school and cash in on whatever that opportunity affords.

      It should be fairly easy to come in and surpass what’s gone on here the past 13 years. If you believe you’re a good coach, what do you have to lose?

  10. UNL Grad says:

    You said it bro.

  11. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    Altman knows what a ‘black hole’ NU BB is.

  12. tom says:

    this NU coaching search is getting out of hand. Personally, they need to stop trying to bring in a head coach. I know people expect to get some top notch guy, but the good ones don’t want the position. Groce as others have said, isn’t going to leave Ohio. As Dirk said, Miles isn’t the guy because he has no experience at all with recruiting or playing the Big 10.

    The best bet right now is find an assistant with passion like Groce or Smart. Both of these guys were assistants before taking over Head Coaching jobs. Nebraska needs to find a guy like that. Someone that wants the opportunity to build his own program. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but I think its the best bet right now. Find someone from a winning program from the Big 10 or ACC. That sort of guy has been around a winning program and knows how to run things and I think its the best bet for NU right now.

    1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      Rick Majerus…….problem solved, he would love a crack @ Izzo and the rest of the BIG ego’s.

  13. Gene O says:

    I went to Racers games consistently during those years, including championship games. They had very good coaching, a good mix of local players and ones that went on to the NBA. The only problem was lack of support. Get fans in the seats and it has a chance to work. Otherwise, Omaha’s reputation with minor-league teams will take another hit.

    1. Robert says:

      I loved the Racers! I think Jerome Coles was one of the best players on the team.

  14. Erik says:

    Last year was Altman’s first recruiting class and it was a good one. The transfers are disappointing but it’s a pretty small sample size for gauging his success. He’s got a good start on this year’s class and should pick up one or two more guys who can come in next year and compete right away.

    As for all the JC players, that’s pretty natural when you have a lot of transfers and a new head coach. The facilities alone will help Altman recruit better high school talent at Oregon than he did at Creighton.

  15. socalhusker says:

    Which coaching candidate is a visionary? Which coach believes he can turn NU around and make it a winner and not just take the money and get fired? Which coach could surround himself assistants that aggressively and tirelessly go get the best talent out there? Which coach truly believes in his abilities to do these things and has the confidence to believe in himself when things get rough like we know they will? Which coach could energize this fan base eager for a winner. Which coach can convince TO he believes all these things?

    1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      Rick Majerus!

  16. John says:

    It looks like there are a lot of misconceptions about the D League in Omaha, which I can understand. The NBDL would love to be profitable, sure. But it’s success isn’t determined by how profitable it is, it’s success is measured by how well it serves NBA franchises in developing fringe talent.

    It will be interesting basketball to watch, I plan on going to a few games a year. The ticket prices will not be very high. The players are paid peanuts. This league will have players far more athletically gifted than the type of guy you saw playing for the Racers. It WILL be a selfish style, though, without a whole lot of defense being played.

  17. Bill says:

    Regarding the NBADL. Why use the Racers as an example of why it COULDN’T work here?

    We are not talking about a need for 15,000 people in the stands. It’s a 3,500 seat arena. And the league averages 3,000 +/-? If Omaha could be average or close that would be a fairly full arena. I don’t know if they try to get some local flavor on teams when possible but that could help too. 3,000 people in a small arena like that could be a good time.

    Is it the NBA? Of course not. Not intended to be. But it would be another option for people to do something other than sit in front of their TVs in the winter.

  18. Kareem Abdul Jabbar says:

    I used to attend the CBA Racers back in the 90′s. Say what you want about non-NBA hoops, but that was seriously good basketball and one heckuva a good time! No doubt it won’t outdraw Creighton or Nebraska basketball, the players would absolutely destroy both the Jays and Huskers. No doubt I will be going. Give it a shot if you want to see serious talent.

    1. Mike says:

      Agree Kareem. Racers were fun to watch, despite playing at shotty Aksarben. 10-15 games for me. By the way, how’s the “Sky Hook” these days?

  19. Nebraskans are racist and would never follow an NBA-affiliated team.

    1. kevin says:

      I’m Nebraskan and I’m not racist ? r u the same cat that mention Ertstad was a horrible coach after an 0-3 start? just goes to show your intelligence level.

      1. LP says:

        Who is Earstad?

    2. macjones says:

      There’s a degree of TRUTH to what M.S. opined. Relatvely speaking mind you.

      Because, yes, 2st Century BIGOTRY and or RACISM still exists in the dullard, boring, bland Hinterlands. Howdy.

      But than again, the typical east and or west coast outsider, or even European/Asian, would expect such a social-culture phenomenen to exist in the Lil’ Herbie enclave. Seeing that the VAST MAJORITY of the good ol’ boy Roy natives come exclusively from SMALL TOWN and or Vanilla suburban roots. Eh.

      R.I.P. Lil’ Herbie MCB… Hee hee, Hah hah