EXCLUSIVE: Jordan in at Milwaukee, but was the process botched?

Greg Matzek's Blog

Greg Matzek joined Midday with Charlie Sykes to discuss his story. Listen below.
 
 
Update: Thursday, April 14, 4:35 p.m.

UWM tells me all finalists were extended the offer to bring their families when they were invited to come to Milwaukee for final interviews.
 
Update: Wednesday, April 13, 10:14 a.m.
 
A spokesperson from UW-Milwaukee contracted me Wednesday morning to share a few points regarding the hiring process. 
 
1. The search committee used in the hiring process does not permit candidates to be ranked.
 
2. The search committee presented a finalist report - ranking the strengths and weaknesses of the finalists - to (among others) Athletic Director Amanda Braun, and Chancellor Mark Mone. Among the criteria for selection were: 
- Win/loss record 
- Quality of academics at the candidate's place of employment
- References 
 
3. The decision to hire LaVall Jordan was a collaborative decision.
 
My original story from Tuesday night
 
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee hired a new head basketball coach Thursday, April 7th. LaVall Jordan comes to Milwaukee from Michigan where he served as an assistant under Head Coach John Beilein for six seasons.  
 
Many consider Jordan to be a rising star in the coaching industry, and it was only a matter of time before he landed a head coaching gig.
 
But questions surrounding the interview process remain. 
 
1. After the interview process, was Jordan the first choice of Athletic Director Amanda Braun and the university-hired search committee? 
 
2. If so, who over-ruled the decision?
 
Speaking with people close to the process over the past few days,  the answer to question number 1 is "no," and the answer to question number 2 is "Chancellor Mark Mone."
 
Because the hiring process is controlled by the state, the University is not at liberty to reveal who the finalists for the job were quite yet.
 
On Tuesday, the University was able to confirm with me that each finalist was provided a memorandum of understanding (MOU), and would be brought to Milwaukee to meet with Braun, the search committee, and Mone. 
 
The MOU is not a contract, but major terms of a potential contract are outlined in the document. 
 
The University would not confirm, but I learned through sources that T.J. Otzelberger - a Milwaukee native, UW-Whitewater product and Iowa State assistant - was a finalist. As part of the process, Otzelberger drove from Ames, Iowa to Milwaukee last week and met with the University decision-makers on Wednesday, April 6.
 
Following his meeting, Otzelberger was told he would be the next head basketball coach at UW-Milwaukee. The Milwaukee native was preparing to make the hiring official on Thursday.
 
In addition, Otzelberger was given the OK to have his wife and two young children make the drive from Iowa to Milwaukee so they could be a part of an introductory press conference. 
 
The timeline for LaVall Jordan's visit is similar to Otzelberger's.
 
Jordan was first interviewed in Houston the night before the NCAA semi-final games. Jordan met with Braun, the search firm and Mone on Wednesday, April 6. According to Jordan, he accepted the offer Thursday and was introduced to the media on Friday. 
 
So what really happened here?
 
It is my conclusion (a conclusion that is shared by others) that Braun and the search committee were in favor of Otzelberger, but  at the last minute, were overruled by Monre.
 
Another question: 
 
3. Why go to the trouble of hiring a search committee only to overrule their recommendation?
 
In a recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a lack of diversity in the athletic department was brought to light...an issue inherited by Braun. 
 
As stated before, many believe LaVall Jordan is a great hire for the University. Many also believe that TJ Otzelberger has a bright future.
 
The pedigree and readiness of either candidate is not in question. The way the hiring process played out most certainly is. That leads me to a fourth and final question.
 
4. With all eyes on the hiring of a new head basketball coach, how could the situation been handled so poorly?

 

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