Steve Hawkins… Not a Happy Camper

Dylan Burkhardt

Graham Couch of the Kalamazoo Gazette interviewed Steve Hawkins about Laval Jordan’s short stay at Western Michigan and quick departure to Michigan. Hawkins is not happy an rips off a number of scathing quotes:

“Tampering — that’s what this is,” Hawkins said. “It’s the same thing if you come in on a verbal commitment (made by a recruit).

“This isn’t something I plan on staying real quiet about. It think it’s just wrong. He’d been on campus (for about a week). We introduced him to the players.”

Hawkins says he doesn’t blame Jordan, adding that he “knew it’d be tough for LaVall to turn down a $50,000 raise.”

“I think highly of him, obviously highly enough to hire him,” Hawkins said. “I think he’s a rising star in our profession.”

What bothers Hawkins is the breach, as he sees it, of an unwritten code between coaches — committed, no less, by the man who sits as chairman of the men’s basketball ethics committee.

“I don’t feel good about the way it was handled by the University of Michigan,” Hawkins said. “Is it legal? Yes. Did it cross an ethical line? Yes, I think so. And I’m not happy about it.”

More quotes in the full article. I can’t say I blame Hawkins for being upset and it sucks that he has to hire another assistant but it’s Western Michigan versus Michigan. I would imagine this kind of “plucking” happens quite often and you have to chalk it up to a better opportunity. As Hawkins said, we are talking about a $50k raise — there’s a food chain here. Also, let’s not forget that Michigan did just lose a coach 24 hours earlier to a conference rival… I didn’t see any statements from Beilein, regardless of what he might have been feeling.

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  • Adam

    I went to school at Valparaiso and this exact same situation happened with a former Valpo player who was hired as an assistant after playing overseas. Northwestern and Carmody came in an swooped Ivan Vujic from the progtram… Guess I post this to support Dylan's point that this stuff is fairly frequent.

  • Brian W

    There's nothing unethical about interviewing for a position at a place. Having that original job be filled, and then being offered a similar position when a second opening appears. Jordan interviewed at Michigan prior to his taking the job at WMU, so there's nothing unethical about it. I'd call it ignorant and ill-tempered on the part of Hawkins, though. It may be bad timing, but a coach at WMU has to realize that a job at Michigan is a better opportunity.

  • Dirtgrain

    Jackson just got plucked. Hawkins will pluck somebody from somewhere else–or is going to hire somebody who doesn't currently have an assistant coaching position?

  • SBell

    Too bad U-M stopped playing WMU after the Ben Reed-induced butt whoopins, so they could settle it on the court!

  • GeorgeEsq

    I wonder how the assistant coach community feels about Hawkins' hands-off policy. And why wouldn't he blame Jordan, too?

  • AG2

    Guys, the rumors that Izzo's the new coach of the Cavs are intensifying…

  • James

    Exactly, and burning bridges, in public, with one of the most respected coaches in college basketball is not a smart career move for Mr. Hawkins.

    What exactly does Hawkins not like in how Michigan handled this? Beilein gave him a heads-up call. I'm not sure what else he expected.

  • Bluebufoon

    I don't believe it about Izzo– he's all about the drama. He will accept then an overnight reversal due to his love of Sparty. This will be another media lovefest of Izzo and MSU.

    Regarding Coach Hawkins and LaVal Jordan. Thats a no brainer. Unfortunate for all concerned but U-M did nothing wrong. Thats pure capitalism and surely Hawkins had to know Jordan wasn't going to be at WMU long ?

  • bill

    Funny Beilein loses a coach to a school in his own conference and wishes him well. Hawkins should do them same and spend his energy looking for a replacement. How long does a guy have to work for him before he can leave for a better offer. 6 months a year 5 years.