Greg Lansing admits it.
He was fired.
``That’s what happens in this business,” Indiana State’s first-year head coach said last night, hours after his Sycamores locked up an NCAA tournament bid with an upset over Missouri State. ``It’s a tough, tough business – and lots of really, really good coaches get fired.”
Including Lansing, who was let go by Steve Alford when the pair were together at Iowa.
Lansing caught on at Indiana State, a place in which he had coached previously under Royce Waltman, and spent three seasons working under Kevin McKenna.
Then McKenna left in mid-June to become an assistant at Oregon under Dana Altman – and Lansing finally got his chance at a D-1 head coaching job.
Lansing’s dream season – which hasn’t been without adversity – has culminated in an NCAA tournament appearance.
But for him, it’s all about the players.
``This is such a great group of kids,” Lansing said. ``I’m lucky.”
Lansing said he wasn’t out of work all that long, maybe a month or so, before catching on again at Indiana State. He was in the mix for positions at Central Florida and Purdue, but eventually landed at Indiana State.
``Did I think I’d be a head coach someday?” Lansing reflected. ``I still always had that goal.”
But let’s be honest – after taking a step down in levels from Iowa to Indiana State, it didn’t look likely. But then McKenna left in the summer – and Lansing was promoted.
``I had a feeling I’d get it if Kevin ever left,” Lansing said. ``I just wasn’t sure he’d ever leave.”
Lansing said he was in his hotel room on Saturday prior to his Missouri Valley Conference tourney semifinal game when he flipped on ESPN Classic.
They were showing Northwestern State’s upset over Iowa – the last time that Lansing was involved in an NCAA tournament contest.
``Maybe it was good karma or something,” Lansing said.