It’s that time of year again, the silly season when everybody starts speculating about the future of USI men’s basketball coach Rodney Watson. The latest: he supposedly interviewed last week for the head coaching position at Ball State. I was immediately suspicious. Last week USI was getting ready to play in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional, and I’m almost absolutely sure that Watson — but not some other college coaches I have known — would never have even thought of looking for a new job at that particular time.
And, of course, he didn’t. The interview not only never happened, he wasn’t even contacted by Ball State. I did some digging and discovered that the whole thing began with a newspaper reporter’s email to USI seeking background information about Watson, followed by that reporter raising the prospect of his being a candidate for the Cardinals’ job in a newspaper story. Then I heard that the same reporter had taken to Twitter and allegedly said that Watson had been interviewed.
And what did Watson think of all this? He laughed.
He got his first inkling how crazy this had become last Sunday night — after the Eagles had been clobbered by Bellarmine in the regional semifinals. He was sitting in his hotel room when “I get this email from a junior college coach and he starts off saying, ‘Boy, I really hope you get the Ball State job.’ I didn’t even know (former coach) Billy Taylor had been dismissed from that job. The closest I’ve come to speaking to Ball State is a friend of mine has a son who went to school there last year.”
So, has Watson been contacted by any other school? No, he said (the same response I got from my other sources), and he doesn’t expect to be. Of course, he admitted you can never say never.