Dave Odom is not going to be the next coach of the Charlotte 49ers' basketball team. Nobody in any official capacity has told me this. I just know, OK?
Dave, 67, is a good guy, talkative, who had a nice run at Wake Forest. But it didn't work for him at South Carolina, a school similar to Charlotte in that victories are tough to come by. Let's eliminate that rumor.
Another candidate for the Charlotte job, according to rumors and sources and bored people with lots of free time, is Appalachian State coach Buzz Peterson. Peterson is another good man, and he did good work with the Mountaineers in his first stint there, more good work at Tulsa and not such good work at Tennessee.
He went to Coastal Carolina, to the Charlotte Bobcats and this season back to Appalachian State. He has been good again, and his team still is playing in the sub-National Invitation Tournament.
But Peterson is a North Carolina graduate, and fans of the 49ers resent North Carolina more than they resent everything else, which is really saying something. Would they tolerate a Tar Heel? They would if he won. I think Peterson would win.
The Charlotte job is unusual in that the school is in the South and the league in which it plays is based in the Northeast. The center of the Atlantic 10 Conference is Philadelphia, a nine-hour drive from the Charlotte campus.
Bobby Lutz, whom the school fired last week after 12 seasons as coach, was not an A-10 proponent. I don't blame him. The basketball is rough, the scores are low and the talent is better than Charlotte realizes.
You are familiar with that talent, however,if you watched Xavier beat the 49ers at Halton Arena and beat Minnesota and Pittsburgh in the NCAA tournament. The A-10 has as many teams in the Sweet 16 as the ACC does.
Charlotte's next coach has to get the 49ers back to the tournament. He also has to sell the A-10 to a city that is only vaguely aware that it exists.
If I'm athletics director Judy Rose, I look at Peterson. I also look for an assistant at a big school who is ready to lead his own program. Maybe the assistant is at a Big East school, and recruits A-10 turf in the Northeast. Maybe he is a top assistant at another A-10 school. Maybe he's at Duke.
Winning at a Southern school in a Northeastern conference is difficult. Because the ACC will commandeer the best players in these parts, the coach will have to dig. Xavier does. The team's best player, the sensational Jordan Crawford, is an Indiana transfer out of Detroit.
Once Charlotte finds the coach, it has to pay him.That the school bought out the last four years of Lutz's contract indicates it can find the money.
If the coach is as good as Charlotte anticipates, he probably will leave after three or four seasons for a better job. So what?
That means he won. That means the 49ers returned to the NCAA basketball tournament. That means they'll have to embark on another coaching search in 2013.
That means, despite the rumors, Dave Odom will not be a candidate.