Kevin McGuff Lands the Job He's Always Wanted
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kevin McGuff was introduced as Ohio State's head women's basketball coach on Wednesday. It was the culmination of a four-week search to replace Jim Foster, who was fired in March.
Photo by Jim Davidson
McGuff, 43, will make $850,000 per year through the 2020-2021 season, with opportunities for various incentives.
"That's what happens when you have six kids," he joked. "It takes a lot to move from Seattle to Columbus. There's a lot of logistics at play."
McGuff, who very recently signed an extension at Washington, is now responsible for a $1.75 million buyout, the details of which are still being worked out according to him.
Though don't worry, no small matter such as $1.75 million was going to keep him from accepting the Ohio State job when it was finally offered to him.
"After they [the search committee] had a chance to regroup and finish out their process, Gene called me with an offer," he said.
"And I'll tell you, it took me five seconds—actually not five seconds, it was two seconds, to say 'Yes, I'm coming.'"
Despite the job being open for nearly a month, McGuff and Ohio State only began talking in the past week. Executive associate athletics director Miechelle Willis chalked it up to "due diligence". The lengthy process, which also saw them talking to various other candidates, came to an end quickly once the decision came down to make the offer.
For McGuff, who is from Ohio, there was simply no where else he would rather be.
"I know this sounds cliché, but for somebody that grew up in Ohio and coaches women's basketball, this is always the job that I've looked at and was saying, 'If there's one job that I could ever have, it's that one. If there's one job where I thought I'd be an amazing fit and do a fantastic job, it was Ohio State.'
"It certainly caught my attention early on. It was awkward, I had just signed an extension at Washington, and the people at Washington were very, very generous. So I did not pursue it, but then when the opportunity was presented, it was just a situation that I could not pass up for me professionally, and certainly for my family."
Ohio State believes that this is a Top 5 women's program, and McGuff agrees. He believes that those expectations may have even scared off some of his fellow candidates.
"For some coaches, it maybe scares some people off," he said.
"But I've always wanted the opportunity to be at a place where you're expected to be the best, but also given the resources and the opportunity to be the best. I think we can do that. I want to embrace the high expectations that we have here. I think that's the only way to have true success."
While McGuff has a vision for the future, the immediate future will see him out on the road recruiting. With no staff yet to help him, he is currently a lone wolf on the recruiting trail, though he hopes to get some help in that regard in the next week.
Recruiting was always one of the sore subjects with fans under Foster, and it's not something that McGuff takes lightly. He has landed a McDonald's All-American in the past two recruiting classes. He understands the need to recruit Ohio, but his plans are to land the "best of the best" around the world.
He will be looking to build the program in his image, which he calls an exciting style of play featuring tough defense, a fast and aggressive offense, and the desire to be one of the best rebounding teams in the nation.
In the long run, the ultimate goal for Ohio State and McGuff is to build a national championship contender.
"I've always been excited about Ohio State," he said.
"I think the question becomes, 'What do we think we can do?' I believe that we can have a program that consistently competes at the top of women's basketball, anywhere in the nation, and certainly in the Big Ten."
In order to reach those goals, recruiting and player development are priorities. But almost as important is an effective home court advantage.
"If we can get the message out to the Buckeye Nation that I need your help," he said.
"This needs to be one of the toughest environments in college basketball to play. So we need you to spread the word that our players are ready. They're going to play hard, they're going to play with passion, they're going to play with energy. We need you to come support us.
"I still think in college basketball that one of the great equalizers is home-court advantage, because there's a lot of places around the country that don't have a chance to draw. But we have the most passionate fans and the best fans in the country, and we need your support here to make this a really, really special environment for our young women to play in."
McGuff, who has sent his teams to the postseason every year of his career, and who has won 20 games in 10 of his 11 seasons, summed up the past few days rather succinctly.
"I'm incredibly excited, and I'm incredibly humbled, to be the coach at the greatest university in the world."
And now all he has to do is produce like it.
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