Thad Matta was let go as head coach of Ohio State in a somewhat surprising turn of events earlier this week. In the aftermath, loads of people have been quick to throw out ideas for possible replacements. As a successful head coach in the state of Ohio, Mick Cronin has been one of the common names that appears on lists of potential candidates.
He’s on this one from our pals at Land-Grant Holy Land.
And this one from SB Nation proper.
And also this one from Cleveland.com
And this one from CBS Sports as well.
Don’t forget this one from Sports Illustrated either.
And, to quote DJ Khaled, another one, this time from The Lantern, OSU’s student newspaper.
You can probably find more, but I didn’t feel the need to keep scrolling and clicking after a Google search.
First, stay the hell away from Mick Cronin, Ohio State.
But second, there probably isn’t a lot to be worried about here. Cronin, who is a UC alum, has built a sustainable and successful program at Cincinnati. He has led the Bearcats to seven-straight NCAA Tournaments and has brought such players as Sean Kilpatrick, Octavius Ellis, Gary Clark and Troy Caupain into the fold. He has pulled off even more recruiting magic lately, luring Kyle Washington over from NC State and high-scoring guard Cane Broome from Sacred Heart. The foundation he has built is as solid as any program in the country. Sure, he hasn’t lifted UC to the heights of the Bob Huggins era but he is slowly getting there. Unless you are a Duke or Kansas and are in national championship or die mode, consistent winning seasons and NCAA Tournament appearances make up a smashing run.
But that run isn’t over. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Cronin flirted with the gig at UNLV last year but ultimately turned down the job to stay with the Bearcats. OSU is a bigger job than that, but there is reason to believe that both Cronin and UC don’t want things to change. UC gave Cronin a new extension last spring that will keep him with the Bearcats through the 2022-23 season. Obviously, there is no reason for UC to root for Cronin’s exit.
As for Cronin himself, it comes down to the likelihood that he would be willing to leave and that OSU would seriously consider him. Cronin’s track record speaks for itself, and OSU would be lucky to employ someone with such success and a distinct style. But Cronin has never struck me as a guy biding his time until the big job opens up. If Cronin was coaching in Illinois or California or any other state besides Ohio, I question whether his name is even floated out there. The crux of the argument for Cronin’s candidacy is the fact that Cronin coaches a very good program in Ohio. OSU considers itself the premier college in the state and the belief is that if it wants something or someone, it can get it.
However, when similar caliber jobs at Florida, Indiana, Texas and others opened up recently, Cronin had been just as successful but was nowhere to be seen in the search process. Just because he’s a good coach in their state does not mean the Buckeyes get dibs or that Cronin would even want to move on.
You can call this all the ramblings of a UC supporter who doesn’t want any part of a Cronin-less future, let alone one where he coaches at Ohio State, but that doesn’t mean my confidence in Cronin’s status isn’t unfounded. Until we hear something otherwise, Cronin isn’t going anywhere.
Now, Ohio State, let me tell you about this guy called Chris Mack...