Well Hawk Fans, you asked for it, now you got it. Coach Todd Lickliter has been bought out by the University of Iowa.
Lick had four years left on his contract, and despite the message board rumors of his “health reasons” as the scape goat for him to step down, no such things were sited.
The Lick’s contract was set to pay him $1.2 million a year, including a $600,000 base salary, through 2014.
Now, thanks to a contract restructuring back in 2008, Lick will be getting that base salary totaling $2.4 million. A tough pill for the Athletic Department to swallow, but perhaps a tougher pill would have been the millions lost in ticket sales, concessions, parking, apparel sales, and most of all: donations. It is speculated that another season similar to this would have cost the department upwards of $1 million next season alone. And assuming AD Gary Barta would have made this decision following the end of the year (2011), another $1.8 million would have been owed Lick.
So with the economics staking against Lickliter, it’s tough to question the decision. After all, during his 3-year tenure in Iowa City, Lick’s teams went 38-57 overall and 15-39 in Big Ten play.
Perhaps the biggest reason, though, for his departure, is the lack of progress. Despite post-game statements indicating otherwise, the team did not appear to be getting much better. This year, the Hawks broke the school record for losses in a season with 22; a record that was set during the start of his tenure at Iowa were he tallied up 19 losses in 2007.
Another major contribution for this decision was the defection of players. Since Todd Lickliter replaced Steve Alford, enough players have transferred to field a very competitive team. Take a look for yourself: Tyler Smith, Tony Freeman, Jermain Davis, Jake Kelly, Jeff Peterson, David Palmer and Anthony Tucker are all players that ran as fast as they could from the program. Ironically, that list is just as long as the Hawkeyes current scholarship roster and some would contend it’s much more talented.
While no reports have been confirmed, it is rumored that three more key Hawkeyes had threatened to leave, with as many as five considering it. Those rumored (and we’ve already touched on this here) include Cully Payne, Aaron Fuller and Matt Gatens from the starting line-up as well as the two reserve post players, Brennan Cougill and Andrew Brommer. Obviously this would have completely decimated the Hawks’ roster and likely left Barta with no choice in the matter, not that Hawk fans would have complained.
As the Lickliter era comes to an end, the question on most people’s mind is who will replace him? In his public statement earlier today, Barta said that Iowa already has a short-list of possible replacements. Though he did not disclose names, sources close to Barta indicate that former Iowa assistant Bruce Pearl is atop the list. While Pearl will likely cost the Hawkeyes a pretty penny, many believe he is just what is needed. Other names being thrown around include, but are not limited to: Keno Davis of Providence, Billy Gillispie, formerly of Kentucky (as well as UTEP and Texas A&M), Dana Altman of Creighton, and Steve Forbes, assistant coach (and recruiter) at Tennessee. Right now, the answer to the coaching question remains to be seen, but at least for Hawk fans, a buzz of excitement is swirling around as the Lickliter reign has ended.
Note: This is only a test. Head Coach Todd Lickliter has not actually been bought out by the University of Iowa. At this point there is only speculation regarding this subject. Please take note of you personal response to this test to better prepare for the possibility of an actual event. I repeat, this was only a test, but it is important to be prepared for what may lie ahead in the next few weeks. Thank you for your time.