The domino rally is underway in the coaching ranks, with Indiana’s huge vacancy being filled yesterday afternoon. But the hiring of Tom Crean in Bloomington means there’s another position open at Marquette, while the resignation of prolific perspirer Sean Sutton means it’s time for another job posting in Stillwater.
Head spinning with all of the coaching changes? Never fear, as LRT is here to keep track of everything for you.
Within hours of Sutton’s resignation, both Bill Self of Kansas and Billy Gillispie of Kentucky stated that they had no interest in coaching the Cowboys. Both men’s names had been floated for a few months in online rumors involving the very deep pockets of OSU booster T. Boone Pickens. At this point, brother Scott Sutton would be a reasonable choice to continue the family line, but many feel that Pickens is looking for a big splash with the next hire. Could Kevin O’Neill be in the mix considering that he will not be returning to the Arizona staff?
One place that Kevin O’Neill has interviewed is Rice University in Houston. While the Owls are certainly not a high profile gig, C-USA is a huge league with a very short list of quality teams. With the right hire, the Owls could quickly make some noise. Athletic Director Chris Del Conte worked in the Arizona athletic department and is apparently keen on the head AD position with the Wildcats in the near future, according to the Houston Chronicle‘s Moisekapenda Bower. This could mean that hiring O’Neill would earn Del Conte some points with the former employers, which might put Olson’s ex-assistant ahead of Belmont’s Rick Byrd and assistants Rodney Terry (Texas) and Mark Montgomery (Michigan State).
While LSU has had more than an extra month to prepare for their coaching search, the Tigers played things close to the vest through the end of the season. But even with the lack of info coming from official sources, the media seems to be keyed in on three top candidates. Butch Pierre finished the season as interim coach and has expressed interest in the job, although former LSU player Johnny Jones has found a ton of success at North Texas and would love to work in Baton Rouge. Early press reports focused on VCU head man Anthony Grant, but he lacks the ties to the program that Pierre and Jones sport.
There’s nowhere to go but up for Jay John’s successor, thanks to an abysmal 6-26 season including the first 0-17 conference record in Pac-10 history. Interim coach Kevin Mouton was responsible for the last 11 of those losses and is reportedly not a candidate for the job. The Beaver brass seems to be focusing on WCC coaches at the moment, interviewing San Diego’s Bill Grier and expressing interest in St. Mary’s head man Randy Bennett.
The other vacancy in the Pac-10 is at Cal’s Berkeley campus, where sights seem to be set quite high…perhaps a little too high. The Bears reportedly want Pitt’s Jamie Dixon and Washington State’s Tony Bennett, although Dixon has spurned those advances. The San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury-News are offering differing takes on Bennett’s interest in the job, but both agree that Nuggets assistant Mike Dunlap is also a top candidate.
With Crean moving on to Indiana today, the newest big-name vacancy on the block is in Milwaukee. As the move will not even be announced until 10 A.M. today in Bloomington, a list of top candidates is still being formulated somewhere in the caverns of the Marquette athletic department. But in a statement released on Monday, the Golden Eagles top staffers believe “a Marquette coaching vacancy will attract many well-qualified candidates.” We’re inclined to agree, and will be eagerly watching the newswire over the next few days to see which names pop up.
Other notable coaching vacancies include those at Kent State, Providence, San Francisco, and Western Kentucky. Kent State lost coach Jim Christian to TCU, while the Hilltoppers were left without a coach on Monday when Darrin Horn departed to fill the South Carolina vacancy following his team’s Sweet 16 run. At San Fran, Eddie Sutton has maintained all season that he was only coaching the Dons on an interim basis, so it will be interesting to see what angle they take in the coming weeks.
We’ll be watching the coaching carousel closely this off-season, so be sure to check back often for the latest updates.