The college basketball coach who fell off his chair after his team's upset win in the NCAA tournament will need another victory in order to cash in on the moment that's become an internet sensation.
"No question there's a father/son play here, but you need this thing to extend at least one week," said Brandon Steiner, founder of Steiner Sports Marketing. "A big part will be, can they go upset one more team. If the story ends on Saturday it's hard."
Georgia State's Ron Hunter, working the sideline on a rolling chair less than a week after tearing his left Achilles suffered while celebrating his team's Sun Belt Conference title, fell off the chair after his son's 3-point shot with 2.7 seconds left gave the 14th-seeded Panthers a 57-56 win over third-seeded Baylor.
Georgia State will play No. 6 Xavier on Saturday for a place among the final 16. Mr. Hunter cares a lot more about keeping the wins coming than any potential endorsement deals, but there will be opportunities if his time in the spotlight continues just a little longer.
"Those four-five days are a lot more media," Mr. Steiner said. "It makes a huge difference."
The 50-year-old coach is already taking advantage of the notoriety. This morning he appeared on ESPN's "Mike & Mike" national radio program.
The coach's son, R.J., a 6-foot-6 guard, is a projected first-round National Basketball Association draft pick. Against Baylor he finished with 16 points, including the three that sent his father to the floor.
"I saw him cannonball off his chair," R.J. Hunter told reporters after the game. "I told him, they've got to get him a chair with a back or something because that wasn't going to work."
Mr. Steiner said the father-son theme, coupled with the coach's injury, would make an attractive storyline to marketers.
Ron Hunter, who played at Miami of Ohio, is in his fourth season coaching at Georgia State. He's averaged more than 20 wins a season while restoring the program to national prominence.
Coaches frequently use NCAA tournament success as leverage for more lucrative contracts or higher-paying jobs with more visible programs.
~ Bloomberg News ~