HED:Evans' 'family' glad he's staying
By Gene Phelps
Ole Miss men's basketball coach Rob Evans could have gone to LSU, but he wouldn't have been able to take all of his "family" with him.
That "family" was not wife, Carolyn, and children Damon and Amber. The "family" left behind, had Evans taken the job at LSU, would have been his 12 players.
"We're a family. That's the way I base all my teams, on family," Evans said Wednesday after turning down the LSU job. "We spend an awful lot of time together. We have an awful lot of trust in each other. That has weighed extremely heavy on me when I talked with (LSU athletic director) Joe Dean.
"You have to understand, they are very important to me. In college coaching these days that is not the overriding factor a lot of times. It may not always be. Maybe at some point in my career I'll have to make a decision and take that equation out of it. But at this particular point, that equation weighed heavily on me."
Evans met with his team Wednesday afternoon to tell them of his decision not to go to LSU, and of his hopes to remain at Ole Miss if a new contract can be worked out.
"Coach Evans loves basketball and we are a family," Ole Miss center Johnnie Rogers said. "We feel Coach Evans will be here a long time. It would have been very detrimental to the team for him to leave. It would have been hard on us."
Ole Miss forward Anthony Boone said it's a "big relief" to learn Evans plans on staying.
"After the season was over, we were wondering what was going to happen," he said. "It is a big relief to us. Ansu (Sesay) and I have been here since he's been here. It would have been harder on us to play under someone else in our last season."
Said Evans, "They (the players) came here when there was nothing to come on but a promise, and I feel like it is my duty to see them through."