Whereas Tim Floyd turned down Arizona and remained at USC as the men's basketball coach, women's coach Mark Trakh walked away from Troy after five seasons and a 90-64 record."The team will be loaded next year and I won’t be surprised to see them in the Final Four," said Trakh in a written understatement. The Women of Troy boast a roster with more high school All Americans than starting spots. It might be the greatest coaching inheritance since George Seifert took over the San Francisco 49ers in 1989.
Assuming everybody stays healthy and doesn't transfer, USC's six McDonald's All American on next season's roster would match the number Connecticut had this past season en route to a national championship and a 39-0 record.
Floyd, incidentally, might have suffered the worst coaching inheritance when he took over the 1998 Chicago Bulls, who had just lost Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Luc Longley and Steve Kerr. His year was mercifully cut short by the NBA lockout, and they still fared better than the Clippers.
Trakh's first two seasons at USC finished in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The last three years were severely hampered by injuries to star players, including multiple season-ending ACL tears to expected starters. There seems to be mixed opinion as to whether he underperformed with the healthy talent he had available. The last three seasons each finished with 17 victories and no trips to the Big Dance. The Trojans did make a solid run in the Pac-10 tournament to finish this season, knocking off a pair of ranked teams before falling to Stanford in the finals.
Rumors briefly swirled last week that USC was looking to hire former Lakers star and current Sparks coach Michael Cooper, and that Trakh could be headed to his alma mater, Long Beach State. That position was filled two days ago by USC assistant Jody Wynn.
The field to replace Trakh is unknown. USC will begin its search immediately.
No word if the team will wind up Hanging with Mr. Cooper (no relation, but a nice excuse for a TGIF reference). At least for today, Coop is probably focused on the WNBA draft.
-- Adam Rose
Photo: Former USC women's basketball coach Mark Trakh at Stanford this year. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press