One thing is for sure.
One thing is for sure.
After the Arizona Wildcats end their run in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Pittsburg native Russ Pennell may be looking for another job.
Now, after the Wildcats were defeated, 103-64 at the hands of Louisville, Pennell will have plenty of time to think about it.
“Unfortunately for us, we just had no answer. You know, I thought we got some good looks at the basket that didn't go in, then we just weren't quick enough on our rotations on the defensive end,” Pennell said after the loss. “The game got away from us.”
Pennell, who took over for longtime Arizona head coach Lute Olsen, who retired before the beginning of the 2008-09 season, said that the university is in the process of finding Olsen’s permanent replacement.
“They are doing a national search and I think they want a more established head coach,” Pennell said. “I knew that coming in and I think they would like to keep things that Coach Olsen in the mix.”
When asked about the uncertainty of his future, Pennell just laughed.
“It's pretty certain,” Pennell said.
As for now, Pennell said that he is still working through the current season and not trying to figure out what comes next for him, or the Wildcats.
“This has been an incredible year. And the guys did exactly what I asked them to do: to put all their own agendas on hold for 2008/2009,” Pennell said. “And I did the same thing. What we need to do is enjoy the season for a day or two and then we'll all move forward and see where that takes us.
“But right now, the last thing I'm thinking about is, you know, any job than the one I just finished.”
This season, Pennell has guided Arizona to a 19-13 record and, a win Friday gives Arizona their 31st 20-win season.
Pennell returned to college basketball on May 5, 2008, when he joined the Wildcat staff, ending a two-year stint as the head of the Arizona Premier League in the Phoenix area where he worked with fellow Pittsburg State graduate Mark Nelson.
He also provided color commentary for the Arizona State University radio network during the 2007-08 season.
Most recently, Pennell served as an assistant coach for Arizona State for eight seasons from 1998-2006 under Rob Evans where the program amassed a 119-120 record and included one trip to the NCAA tournament in 2003 and three trips to the NIT.
Pennell began his coaching career at Oklahoma State University from 1990-92, helping the Cowboys to a 52-16 (.765) record under coach Eddie Sutton.
Regardless of just how far the Wildcats go in this year’s tournament, Pennell said that he knows the writing in on the wall when it comes to his future at Arizona.
“When the season is over, you have to find a job,” Pennell said. “I was happy the last four years running a basketball academy and it was a great quality of life. I think there will some opportunities and I want to make sure I am in the right fit.”
Matthew Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140. Follow Morning Sun sports at twitter.com/mssports.