I'm not sure where it began. Maybe it was this Detroit News article spouting off possible candidates. But so far there's no substance to former Toledo coach Stan Joplin becoming Eastern Michigan's head coach. I mean, it's tantalizing as hell, but I don't see it happening.
And I say this being a full Joplin apologist. I didn't think he should've been fired after 12 seasons, many of them successful. He only had three losing seasons: his first, seventh, and last. He won four MAC West titles and one MAC regular season championship outright, but as the player whose basket over Indiana in 1979 sent the Rockets to the Sweet 16 — their last NCAA appearance — Joplin could never bring his alma mater back to the NCAA tournament, which was his ultimate undoing. (Lots of NITs though!)
It does look pretty foolish for Toledo to can Joplin after the 2006-2007 campaign, finishing just 11-19. Because three years later they've only won 15 more games total and are on their second coach. This futility in Northwest Ohio can only help schools and fans appreciate Joplin that much more, but for him to take over another school, even if it's just Eastern Michigan, there are some questions he would have to answer:
• Why did so many players transfer away or not graduate? This dates back to the 1998-99 team, one filled with so much hope and promise that didn't realize its potential. Key players would have left the team or transferred somewhere else, and this was a latent theme for the last eight seasons or so.
• So what did he have to do with the point-shaving scandal? Since the NCAA doesn't seem to give a lick about it, it's hard to know whose at fault for enabling player contact with gamblers during Joplin's time at Toledo. Did he know about it? Did any of his coaches of the athletic department? Even if he did nothing wrong, you could see other schools in the MAC use this against him during recruiting. I mean, he didn't get penalized by anybody, but some of his former players have pled guilty in federal court.
• Can you do better than Charles Ramsey? Gotta throw a softball question in there.
• Can you bring EMU back to the tournament? Since he never did it as a coach at Toledo, this is going to be paramount. The Eagles want to get the basketball team back to that national spotlight, because they too have had a Sweet 16 drought, albeit not as long. He can recruit the state of Michigan very well and has a superior home W-L record. My guess is that, yes, Eastern Michigan would be a better team with Joplin at the helm, but not where they'd like to be in five years. I hope Joplin finds another job somewhere else, but EMU seems like the type of place that would rather give the program to a first-time coach rather than a flashy retread.
But, of course, if they do hire Joplin, then I'd definitely watch more Eastern games. While he can get intense, he's a very amicable coach who, if you sit close enough to the bench, always has some great one-liners.