Parker Executive Search is one of the leading coaching search firms in the business (although there are plenty including DHR, Carr Sports, Collegiate Sports Associates, Korn Ferry, etc...). The firm claims more than 1,000 basketball coaches and 2,000 football coaches on its hallowed databases, and scores of coaches wishing their names find their way to Parker's radar.
Just how firmly a coach has to be on Parker's radar is up for debate. Those inside Parker's walls say they simply serve their clients' wishes, performing due diligence on candidates whom the school is interested in and offering suggests on others they might not yet know they should be interested in.
"Athletic directors have changed," Parker executive vice president and managing director Laurie Wilder told ESPN's Dana O'Neil in 2013. "They're lawyers or CPAs or MBAs. The way they run their department is very different. The concept of having that list in your pocket and being able to go one, two, three, four down that list just doesn't exist anymore."
(Ms. Wilder, Bill Moos would disagree.)
"You don't have to know us to be in our searches. That's complete baloney," Parker vice president Daniel Parker said. "We do original research based on the expectation of what the athletic director is looking for. We have searches all the time where we didn't know much about a coach until we started the process and got to know him."
Some on the other side of the table disagree, seeing Parker and its competitors as kingmakers.
"They get their guys; they ride their guys," an anonymous agent told ESPN.
Added Cincinnati head basketball coach Mick Cronin: "If I was a young guy looking for a job, I'd make sure that the people at Parker knew who I was."
Now enter Jeff Goodman, ESPN's basketball insider and a clearinghouse for information during college basketball's hiring-and-firing season.
UC Irvine coach Russell Turner turned down a George Mason offer on Sunday.
DePaul re-hired former coach Dave Leitao over the weekend.
Rare to see a national reporter such as Goodman sound off on a search firm to this degree.
Coaches and agents, we're interested to hear your thoughts on and experiences with search firms. Let us know at Mail@FootballScoop.com.