Steve Sipple put up some web-only thoughts today on the Lincoln Journal-Star website, as he always does. Today, however, he gives Tom Osborne’s insights on former Creighton Head Coach Dana Altman, who has the Oregon Ducks in the Final Four this year.
Altman, who is originally from Wilber, Nebraska, was passed over by Osborne in 2012 when Doc Sadler was fired from the Nebraska Basketball program. The job was given to Tim Miles, who is still the Head Coach of Nebrasketball today, but has struggled the past couple of years.
Osborne told a story today about Altman, who is heading to Arizona to take on North Carolina in a National Semifinal game Saturday night.
"He wasn't a guy who was into hollering and screaming a lot," Osborne said. "I wouldn't say he was laid back. He had an intensity about him. But he did it in a way that wasn't abrasive. I don't recall him using profanity with his players. I thought he was really grounded in terms of fundamentals and understanding of the game.
"I think he appreciated having someone around who understood some of the things coaches go through. We had a good relationship and worked well together."
Osborne goes on to talk about how he helped Altman when TO was asked by Creighton AD Bruce Rasmussen to be a consultant for the Bluejay AD.
Finally, when asked why he didn’t consider Altman for the job that he eventually hired Miles for, Tom stated that it was about timing.
In 2012, as Nebraska's athletic director, Osborne fired Nebraska basketball coach Doc Sadler. He could've pursued Altman. But Altman had been at Oregon for only two years. The timing simply wasn't right. What's more, Altman still had strong ties to Creighton. Taking a job at NU would've been awkward for Altman and folks close to him.
So, Oregon has itself a winner, one with traits similar to Osborne -- right down to his eye-squint.
It’s interesting to think that Altman, who had just come off of a NIT Quarterfinal season in 2011-12, wouldn’t have thought of the Nebraska job if Osborne hadn’t called. I think he would have personally, if his relationship with TO was as good as Osborne dictated.
This doesn’t mean that Altman would have been successful or not in Lincoln, as his record in Eugene has been pretty dang good. It’s hard to not see one season since 1998 with under 20 wins and wonder what Altman would deliver in a full Pinnacle Bank Arena.
It’s just more interesting to me to see Osborne say that about someone that he respected and would have been more than comfortable with opening both PBA and the Hendricks Training Center. Both TO & Shatel in his column say that two years at Oregon would have been “bad timing” for Altman.
The idea of Altman at NU, is one of the biggest “What ifs” in a Nebrasketball history filled with them. As you watch the Ducks in Glendale this weekend, it won’t be hard to wonder if Dana could have gotten Nebraska even close to that stage.