Southeast's full buyout of Edgar was surprising

Monday, January 5, 2009

Last week's news that Scott Edgar had coached his final basketball at Southeast Missouri State wasn't surprising.

I don't think anybody in their right mind believed Edgar, who had been on administrative leave since October, would return to the Redhawks' bench.

What did surprise me, however, is that Southeast chose to terminate his five-year contract without cause, meaning the university will pay Edgar about $325,000.

With Southeast seemingly having to scrape under every rock to find a few dollars these days, I didn't think the university would fork over that large a sum so easily -- especially when Edgar told me he never sought a buyout as he hoped to coach at Southeast again.

I figured Southeast assumed the allegations that Edgar committed significant NCAA violations would stick, meaning the university might have been able to fire him with cause, which might mean not having to pay him.

The alleged NCAA violations against Edgar still might stick -- we'll find out eventually -- but even if they do, Southeast still is out $325,000.

And even if Edgar is cleared of any NCAA wrongdoing, the university is virtually certain to be slapped with some sanctions, making it a double whammy.

I'm fairly sure Southeast administrators decided after Edgar's first two seasons in Cape Girardeau that things weren't working out and they didn't want him coaching here any longer.

That's why it would have made a lot more sense to buy out Edgar several months ago, if that was going to happen anyway.

But plenty of things surrounding Southeast athletics haven't made sense over the past few years, so why should this be any different.

At least Southeast can move forward with its search for Edgar's replacement.

And, as I've written before, there certainly will be no shortage of potential candidates.

Former Missouri State coach Barry Hinson, former Southeast assistant and current Texas-Pan American coach Tom Schuberth, longtime SIU assistant Rodney Watson and even legendary former coach Eddie Sutton all have reportedly expressed interest in the position.

I also know that two other former Southeast assistants -- Anthony Beane and Lew Hill -- are interested.

Beane is an assistant at Illinois State, while Hill is an assistant at UNLV. Both programs are having strong seasons, with Illinois State one of the nation's few remaining undefeated teams.

Many others have also inquired about the job, but those are the more notable names.

The person who will have a lot to do with finding Southeast's next basketball coach is recently hired athletic director John Shafer.

Shafer, who begins his duties Feb. 1, will be in town Saturday for a reception that is open to the public.

The reception will be at 4 p.m. in the Show Me Center meeting rooms before that day's basketball doubleheader against Eastern Illinois.

I have the perfect word to describe Scott County Central's performance at last week's 64th annual Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament.


Of course, you probably could use many adjectives to talk about the Braves' dominant run to their first title in the 16-team boys basketball event since 1990.

SCC won its four games by an average margin of 39 points.

Perhaps more impressively, the Braves' average margin of victory in the semifinal and final -- when the contests normally are tight -- was an astounding 25 points.

Granted, the tournament field was as weak toward the top this season as it has been in many years. But that doesn't detract from what the Braves were able to accomplish as one of the smallest schools in the tournament.

Four of SCC's starters were named to the 10-player all-tournament team, a well-deserved honor.

Senior guard Drew Thomas was amazing as he averaged more than 30 points to lead all scorers with 122 total points.

Junior point guard Bobby Hatchett -- who in my opinion really makes the Braves go -- was scintillating in leading the break with his strong ballhandling, passing and decision-making.

Sophomore center Otto Porter, who is up to about 6-foot-7 and might not be done growing, rounded out SCC's big three, who might all wind up playing Division I college hoops some day.

It's never easy to compare teams, but I believe the current SCC bunch at least belongs in the discussion with some of legendary coach Ronnie Cookson's former powerhouses that ruled Class 1 and ranked among the state's top squads regardless of school size.

My memory isn't all that great, but I believe the best SCC team since I began covering local sports in 1984 is the undefeated 1990-91 outfit led by Division I players Marcus Timmons and Mark Mosley.

I'd have to side with that squad in a head-to-head battle mainly because the 6-8 Timmons -- Mr. Show Me Basketball that season -- was among the top talents ever produced in Southeast Missouri.

But I can't imagine the current Braves being too far behind.

By the way, let me be the latest person to say I absolutely would love to see a SCC-Sikeston matchup this season.

My guess is you could fill the Show Me Center and charge up to $10 a head, if not more.

That's how hungry people would be to witness that event that apparently isn't going to happen.

For a final tournament note, plenty of kudos should go out to all the tourney organizors -- led by director Mitch Wood and assistant director Bruce Qualls -- who once again put on a tremendous event.

The tournament is always so efficient and well-run that we come to take that for granted.

I also have to give a shout-out to those responsible for providing the best hospitality room food in the history of the tournament.

I think I spent nearly as much time in the hospitality room stuffing my face as I did in the Show Me Center arena watching hoops.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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