The Rio Grande Valley Vipers are an NBA D-League team based in Hidalgo, Texas, and they need a new head coach for the 2013-14 season. The Houston Rockets-affiliated franchise was targeting Villanova associate head coach and former Navy head coach, Billy Lange. After leaving Villanova in 2004, after serving three seasons on the staff, Lange returned to the Main Line as Jay Wright's top assistant in 2011.
According to a report from ESPN's Dana O'Neill, out today, Lange has decided against picking up and moving to the southern tip of Texas. He remains undecided on another job offer to join the Philadelphia 76ers organization as a member of head coach Brett Brown's staff.
A move to an NBA assistant job may not be the massive upgrade that a big time head coaching position would be, but it would certainly help add some visibility for Lange around the pro circuit. If he has dreams of coaching a team in the NBA, accepting a spot of the Sixers bench would be second only to a higher-profile head-coaching job in the college ranks.
Liberty Ballers, (SB Nation's 76ers community), cites an unnamed source that Lange may be leaning toward an exit for the Sixers' bench.
Sources close to Liberty Ballers tell us that "all signs are pointing to" Villanova assistant coach Billy Lange joining the Sixers in a somewhat similar role. His official title would be assistant coach, but would also have other responsibilities, the source said.
Lange got a taste of the Wells Fargo Center high-life while at Villanova, and moving there permanently with the local pro-franchise may be a move he covets. For the Wildcats, it is just another instance of turnover on the basketball staff, an issue that has been somewhat constant as the program has progressed these last few years.
Few assistant coaches in the college ranks will stick around forever, and even long-term assistants like Chris Collins (13 years at Duke) will often move on if the right opportunity presents itself. In other cases, such as that of Mike Hopkins (Boeheim/Syracuse), being the top assistant to a legendary coach can be a long-term career decision -- but that tends to be a rare occurrence.