With the run that Altman put together at the end of the season with this Duck team, you had to know that he was going to be a hot commodity as the coaching changes started to happen. Not a lot of people saw this change coming, but one guy got it absolutely right.
Dana Altman is headed to New Mexico to be the next head coach of the Lobos.
Altman will return to a state he spent a formative portion of his life when he received his undergraduate degree from Eastern New Mexico University. I know that ENMU is in Portales and UNM is in Albuquerque which is about 228 miles away, but let's not let facts get in the way of what is a story about a guy returning to his roots.
Altman is also moving to a school that is known for winning, and winning big. The Lobos have won the regular season Mountain West Championship 2 out of the last 2 years. Something only juggernaut BYU has matched in the last 5.
Altman is also headed to the recruiting hotbed that is the Desert Southwest. Who can forget all those magnificent basketball recruits that have come out of the state of New Mexico in the last 10 years. Guys that have played at schools like the Citadel, Wright State, Louisiana-Monroe and Alcorn State.
No longer is Dana Altman going to have to compete for players like Aaron Gordon against the Arizona, Ucla and Washington's of the world. He is moving to a team that will be picked to win their conference at the start of every season no matter what team has recently joined the Big East, left to go independent, or moved up from Division 1-AA.
This is a conference that just had a 3, 5, 7, and 8 seed in the NCAA Tourney. How did the little Pac 12 conference do? Altman understands that to win it all he needs to go to a conference that will push him to do that.
And more importantly he deserves that.
Altman deserves to go to a school that is now and probably into the future a better basketball job. One that has better exposure, finances, brand and marketing than Oregon. He deserves to coach at a place that doesn't have to do more with less than their number 12 NCAA seed. Instead he should be given the rightful number 3 seed he earned. He deserves to coach at an athletic department and a school that has won National Championships in his sport as well as others. A school that respects and admires the hard work its coaches puts in and doesn't let them walk away to bigger and better paychecks.
So for all of that, I wish Dana Altman the best of luck. He is in a better place now, a place where he'll obviously win a National Championship in the next 3 years. Oregon will be fine. Oregon has the best owner in sports. Besides, it wasn't just 3 years ago that Oregon was going through this exact same situation in a coaching search, and it could be worse, Oregon could have hired Steve Alford.