Outside looking in
Jarvis itching to get back on the sidelines -- will he resurface in Miami?
Posted: Friday February 27, 2004 6:25PM; Updated: Friday February 27, 2004 6:25PM
Mike Jarvis itches to get back in the coaching business. The question is to what degree his early-season banishment from scandal-rocked St. John's taints his once clean persona. Or how he'll fit with any of the college jobs likely to spring open.
"I would like very much to be coaching at this time next year,'' Jarvis told SI.com. "I really believe I'll end up at the right place so I can do what I enjoy doing most.''
The knock on the Boston-bred Jarvis within the basketball community is that he remains aloof and standoffish with the AAU coaches, the guys who often have a major influence on where a prep player signs. That perception costs him in recruiting, but may actually win him points with college presidents who want to sleep peacefully knowing their coach isn't in cahoots with questionable figures. A prominent member of the game's Summer Scene mockingly calls Jarvis an aristocrat, suggesting, "He should be on the lecture tour.''
So where will his next stop be? The big bucks and heightened pressure to win in today's game will likely result in some coaches landing on the street during March Madness. The Utah and UNLV jobs are already open. Another possibility is Georgetown -- where the Hoyas have staggered to a 4-9 conference mark under Craig Esherick. Jarvis spent eight season at the helm of the program at neighboring George Washington and coached former Hoyas star Patrick Ewing in high school.
The hot buzz, though, has Jarvis resurfacing at Miami, assuming school officials elect to dump Perry Clark with three years remaining on his contract. If so, throw names such as former Florida and Illinois coach Lon Kruger and Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez into the mix as well.
Jarvis is given an early edge for the Hurricanes job should it come open because he crossed paths with Miami president Donna Shalala back when she was Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration and he coached at George Washington. Shalala, in fact, offered a positive review that is currently being used to promote Jarvis' self-help book, Skills for Life.
Jarvis is smart enough not to comment on a job that isn't open, especially since he considers Clark a friend. Others close to Jarvis, however, say he'd jump at the chance -- and it appears only a dramatic reversal of fortune can save Clark.
Nothing seems to be going right for the Miami men's basketball program, which will move from the Big East to the ACC for the 2004-05 season. The Canes are in the throes of a 10-game losing streak, staring at a second consecutive sub-.500 season and averaging only about 2,500 fans a game in the $51 million arena they opened only last year.
Speculation is Miami may not be eager to buy out the remaining three years of Clark's contract, reportedly at $750,000 a season. Because it's is a private institution Miami's contracts are not subject to public disclosure. However, based on other known deals it's doubtful the university would be on the hook for the full $2.25 million if it made a change.
Typically contracts are written so that the university pays the coach a pre-determined buyout figure or the remainder of the base salary due him if he's terminated before the contract is completed. That base salary is almost always just a fraction of the total package.
Take the deal Steve Lavin got when he was fired by UCLA last spring. The university was obligated to pay him the remainder of his base salary through 2008. His base last year was $153,000, but his package was $658,000 -- with an additional $212,500 from radio, shoe and apparel deals.
The base of the five-year deal Bill Self signed with Kansas was $129,380, but he'll earn a total of $1.13 million this year. He's due only the remaining base salary if fired.
Tubby Smith's $20 million, eight-year deal at Kentucky is a college coach's dream pact, but again the bulk of the contract is TV, shoe and apparel money. That additional income amounts to $1.55 million this year and escalates annually to $2.175 million in the 2010-2011 season. Smith is owed "only" $1 million if fired.
With this kind of coin floating around, is it any wonder Jarvis wants back in?
Mike Fish is a senior writer for SI.com.