Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen


Citizen Staff Writer



What now? I’m not sure anyone knows, including University of Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood or UA president Robert N. Shelton.

Nor do several Web sites out there, as has been proved in recent days.

USC basketball coach Tim Floyd does know this: UA has what it takes to stay on top of the basketball scene. It just wasn’t for him as he turned down UA’s offer of being the next coach Thursday.

“It is a tremendous place,” Floyd said at a news conference at Southern California in explaining his decision to stay.

“You will remember that when I took this job I wanted to use the University of Arizona as a measuring stick in terms of trying to build this program. I talked about how the 72 pros from this league when I took this job, since Lute had the job, 36 had been from Arizona.

“They will be a measuring stick in terms of the type of athlete that we want to have in this program. How they conduct themselves is how we wanted to try to build the program.

“After going over there I can understand, it’s a great place. They have great facilities, the athletic director is a great guy, the president is a great guy, but at the end of the day, I have a great situation here.”

So Arizona will have to march on. March Madness has turned to April Angst. And in a huge way. Replacing – eventually, one would hope – Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson has apparently been tougher than first thought.

Livengood did not respond to a text message on Thursday afternoon, as he headed to the Final Four in Detroit. He refused to speak about the job search Wednesday morning.

And Arizona media relations officials don’t have any announcements scheduled..

Arizona’s silence is deafening.

Floyd’s spurning of Arizona perhaps speaks even louder.

“I viewed it as an elite program in this country, and I really was curious as to what constitutes an elite program,” Floyd said. “What it’s about, where they are, (what) they are doing, what is the direction. I looked if I could envision myself being a part of it and in the end I could not.”

Now what? For Arizona, which just six years ago was the No. 1 team in the nation behind Luke Walton, Jason Gardner, Channing Frye, Salim Stoudamire, Andre Iguodala and Hassan Adams, it’s hard to say.

And this from a program that just three years ago was one shot from sending Olson to his sixth Final Four.

Instead it lost, and since then the program has been on a treadmill to nowhere.

Arizona hasn’t been in the polls for 31 consecutive weeks – all of this season and half of last season.

Perspective? Before the 2005-06 season, UA had been in the polls 336 of 365 weeks, 312 of which were consecutive.

Now, Arizona can’t find a coach. Talk about tough times.

Steve Rivera’s e-mail: srivera@tucsoncitizen.com

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