Johnson endorses Johnny Jones
Sunday, 08 April 2012 10:48
LSU Director of Athletics Joe Alleva has a decision to make to in a hurry.

With Wednesday being the deadline for the late signing period, and the Tigers having five available roster spots, the men’s basketball program needs a new leader pronto.

Former leader Trent Johnson, who served as the Tigers’ head coach the past four years, officially signed on as TCU’s coach yesterday, vacating the position.

At LSU he had one year left on his contract and would make about $1.3 million.

At TCU, as Johnson informed me yesterday, he will make about $2.3 million a year for the next six years.

He had no choice.

According to Johnson, neither does Alleva when it comes to tabbing the next bench boss in Baton Rouge.

“There’s only one person who can come in and get it done,” Johnson declared emphatically to Tiger Rag, “and that’s Johnny Jones.”

Jones, who’s run up a 190-146 record with two NCAA Tournament appearances in 11 years leading the North Texas basketball program, has deep roots in LSU hoops.

After playing for Dale Brown in the early eighties (Jones was a freshman on the 1981 Final Four team), Jones returned to the Tigers’ bench as an assistant from 1984-97 as an influential recruiter.

Now Johnson says it’s time Jones, who Johnson indicated is a close friend and helped him tremendously through the last few days of decision-making, be given a shot to lead LSU back to prominence.

Johnson continued, saying he’s already made his feelings on the subject well known to Alleva.

As Tiger Rag reported yesterday, the three leading candidates who’ve emerged early on for the job are Jones, current Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, whose wife has ties to Baton Rouge and LSU, and former New Mexico State coach and NBA player Reggie Theus, a favorite of LSU Chancellor Mike Martin, who himself spent some time in the state of New Mexico.