A tipster sent us a recording of a voicemail that was left Tuesday on his wife's phone by mistake. The call had come from a number that belongs to the University of Nebraska. The voice on the message says the following:
B.G., dang gummit. I call and you're not there. What the heck? I hear you might be looking to move to Lincoln, maybe be the head men's coach here. Think you can handle that job? Anyway, I'm still—I've been checking my phone every day. I know you're supposed to send a picture to make sure you've been keeping in shape. So I'm still waiting. And I know you've got to be in better spirits now that your season's done. So, anyway, I'll talk to you soon. Alrighty? Bye.
Hmm. The Huskers' men's gymnastics, men's golf, and men's tennis teams are in the middle of their seasons, as is the men's track team, which shares a coach with the women's team. Football, baseball, and wrestling are never referred to as "men's" teams. Now, Nebraska does have a coaching vacancy for its men's cross-country team, but that season ended in November, which doesn't quite jibe with "now that your season's done." The season that did just end, though, is men's college basketball. And Nebraska marked the occasion, this past Friday, by firing head coach Doc Sadler, after his sixth season wrapped up with a 12-18 record and a tie for last place in the Big Ten.
But who is "B.G."? Brian Gregory (pictured above) just finished a tumultuous first season at Georgia Tech after eight years at Dayton. In its farewell statement when Gregory was hired by Georgia Tech, the Dayton athletic department said, "We wish BG and his family good luck." This season, the Yellow Jackets wound up tied for last place in the ACC. And last week, on the same day they ended their season by scoring just 36 points in a dreadful ACC tournament loss to Miami (Fla.), junior guard Glen Rice Jr., a student manager, and another person were charged in connection with a shooting outside an Atlanta nightclub. Tuesday, the school announced that Rice Jr.—son of the former NBA player—had been dismissed from the team. Gregory is an Illinois native with extensive Big Ten ties. Dayton was his only other head coaching gig, but his past experience includes three seasons as an assistant coach at Northwestern surrounded by two separate stints as an assistant coach at Michigan State. He seems like a logical choice. But is it him?
There are two other current Division I head coaches whose seasons are over and who have the initials B.G. One is San Diego's Bill Grier. Grier took the Toreros to the NCAA tournament in his first season in 2008, a run that included a first-round upset of UConn. But Grier has not had a winning season since, and San Diego recently ended this year with a 13-17 record. Then there's Billy Gillispie, who bounced from Texas A&M to Kentucky to Texas Tech, where he just finished his first season with an 8-23 record and just one win in the Big 12.
After that, it's impossible to know how many assistant coaches are out there who go by "B.G."
This is a screen grab of the call log from our tipster's wife's phone, which shows a number that can be traced directly to Doak Ostergard, Nebraska's outreach director. I dialed it, and the voice in the outgoing voicemail message sounds a lot like the one on the message left with our tipster. I left a message but have not heard back:
Here is a recording of the actual voicemail:
We wish Nebraska lots of luck with its search. But if Ostergard is still waiting on a call-back from "B.G.," he might want to double-check the number and try again.
Update (6:09 p.m.): Ostergard called back and insisted he's not a part of Nebraska's coaching search. He claimed he was merely calling "a former player" who had had "a bad season," saying he was trying to cheer him up. I asked repeatedly who the "former player" was, but Ostergard declined to identify him every time. "I don't want to get him in trouble with his current coach," Ostergard said. But what kind of trouble? Ostergard declined to answer that, too.