Lehigh head coach Brett Reed didn't have much time Wednesday night to console his players — and himself — for not winning the 'Best Upset' award at the 20th annual ESPYs in Los Angeles.
He was on a red-eye flight to Indianapolis to continue his search for future talent. July is prime recruiting time.
Reed is familiar with getting little or no sleep. He pulled all-nighters during past recruiting periods when his wife, Kindra, was well along during one of her two previous pregnancies.
Brett and Kindra are expecting a third child in September, so he can be sure to have plenty of interrupted nights with a newborn this fall.
But what is making this a particularly grueling offseason for the Mountain Hawks boss is all that comes with pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history. Lehigh beat Duke in the round of 64 on March 16, a date that will forever live in the annals of a school more known for its engineering curriculum than its execution on the basketball floor.
The extra attention from national media for Reed and star player C.J. McCollum, a sure-fire NBA Draft pick in June 2013, was exhausting during the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and will fire up again starting in October when practice begins.
There was the ESPY nomination and the typical recruiting grind.
The ESPYs are history and the recruiting period ends in the coming weeks.
What will linger — and what has lingered much longer than usual — is Lehigh's schedule.
When a relative unknown mid-major beats a national power, everybody notices — and loses Reed's number.
Nobody wants to give Lehigh, which returns many of its prominent players, a game. No one certainly wants to play the Mountain Hawks at Stabler Arena.
So, Reed and the Lehigh athletic administration are in mid-July with four open dates. Many other mid-majors already have released their full schedules.
Lehigh opens its season in November at Baylor, which is coming off a 30-win season and a trip to the Elite Eight. That guarantee-game excursion will help pay the bills in the Mountain Hawks' athletic budget.
There is a potential game at Pitt in the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament and a visit to solid mid-major Virginia Commonwealth.
But not much else.
If Reed were to call former Patriot League head coaches Pat Flannery (Bucknell) and Ralph Willard (Holy Cross), he would find out his situation is commonplace.
As Flannery's Bison were beating the likes of Pitt and Syracuse and winning NCAA Tournament games in consecutive seasons, every coach wanted to shake his hand at the Final Four, but no one returned his calls in the summer.
Same for Willard, who led the Crusaders to three consecutive Patriot League titles and three near misses in the NCAA Tournament against Kentucky, Kansas and Marquette.
Reed eventually will find games, just not ones that are going to be of great help to his club come March. And, certainly not ones that will help Lehigh's RPI.
But, regardless, Lehigh's returning players will play anyone any time. They are anxious to prove they are no flukes. They feel they left some wins out there last season when they set a school record for victories in a 27-8 campaign.