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Weiberg Didn’t Count Days in Coaching Search, Thought Long-Term

“I’m making a long-term decision here. I’m hoping that this is the last basketball coach I ever have to hire.”



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — From announcement to announcement, the Cowboys’ coaching search lasted 18 days.

Oklahoma State fired Mike Boynton on March 14 before announcing Steve Lutz’s hiring on Monday. Lutz had his introductory news conference Thursday in Gallagher-Iba Arena and after it, both he and athletic director Chad Weiberg took questions in the Cowboys’ locker room.

Weiberg’s 18-day process was airtight with little information leaking from the OSU side of things. It lasted longer than many expected, no doubt. For reference, when OSU fired Travis Ford it took just three days before Brad Underwood was hired. When Underwood jetted to Illinois, Boynton was hired six days later.

Time is a valuable resource in the transfer portal era — not only in getting a new coach in to retain players but also to get an early start on finding guys to bring in. But Weiberg said he wanted to be diligent with his process to find the right fit instead of rushing into things.

“The transfer portal is the transfer portal — you could name a coach in two days, and the transfer portal is still gonna probably be what it’s going to be,” Weiberg said. “The way I approached it is, block all that out. I’m making a long-term decision here. I’m hoping that this is the last basketball coach I ever have to hire.

“I can’t focus on five days or 10 days or 18 — I didn’t even know the number of days. I wasn’t tracking that. I wasn’t thinking that way. This was a long-term hire, and the only thing I was thinking about is making the best decision for Cowboy basketball and OSU that I could make and try to get the right coach in here.”

Before the process of finding who was next, however, Weiberg was tasked with firing Boynton. Despite struggles on the floor, Boynton was a beloved figure within OSU and the Stillwater community. Weiberg opened his portion of Thursday’s news conference by thanking Boynton for his seven years leading the program, which was met with cheers from those in attendance.

“That’s the worst part of the job, for sure, and nothing that I ever want to do,” Weiberg said. “I love Coach Boynton. Great person. Great human being. Great family. Something you don’t ever really want to do, but at some point you reach the point that you know that is the right decision for the program. In some ways in the long run, I believe it will be the right decision for him, too. I truly believe he’ll be great.

“Just reached that point where just have to do what you think is right for the program moving forward, for the student-athletes and the program. But it’s hard. It’s really, really hard because it affects a lot more people than just the head coach and his family, too. You have a real sense and appreciation all the ramifications that it’s gonna have. So you don’t take it lightly. I thought a lot about it.”

No matter how tough the process or how long it took, Weiberg’s move seems to have breathed some life into a program that has needed it. Lutz’s hiring and news conference have sparked some excitement. There is still work to do — like filling out a roster and building out the rest of Lutz’s staff. But after 18 long days, Cowboy basketball seems to have some positive momentum.

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