Sunday, April 08, 2007

Some Thoughts on the Coaching Search

Well, we're now in to our second full day of post-Gillispie A&M basketball and all indications are that the coaching search is humming along. It wouldn't surprise me terribly if A&M announced its next coach as early as tomorrow or the next day; Bill Byrne is really keeping things under wraps (the way it should be). Some thoughts that I've gathered from various sources:

-The Houston Chronicle's Terrance Harris has an early top 7:
1. Mark Fox, Nevada

2. Reggie Theus, New Mexico State

3. Mark Few, Gonzaga

4. Chris Lowery, Southern Illinois

5. Alvin Brooks, A&M assistant coach

6. Mike Montgomery, former Stanford and NBA coach

7. Doc Sadler, Nebraska head coach

-The Las Vegas Sun says that Nevada's Mark Fox isn't interested.

-Robert Cessna of the B-CS Eagle presents a comprehensive list:

In the 24 hours after Kentucky introduced Gillispie, A&M's list of possible replacements grew by roughly one an hour as the rumor mill got cranking.

That formidable list includes A&M-Corpus Christi's Ronnie Arrow, A&M assistant and former Houston head coach Alvin Brooks, Pitt's Jamie Dixon, Baylor's Scott Drew, Gonzaga's Mark Few, Southern Cal's Tim Floyd, Nevada's Mark Fox, Virginia Commonwealth's Anthony Grant, Miami's Frank Haith, Florida State's Leonard Hamilton, UNLV's Kruger, Southern Illinois' Chris Lowery, Winthorp's Gregg Marshall, former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery, South Alabama's John Pelphrey, former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, Vanderbilt's Kevin Stallings, Oral Roberts' Scott Sutton, Oklahoma State's Sean Sutton, New Mexico State's Reggie Theus, Wichita State's Mark Turgeon and New Orleans' Buzz Williams.

-Doc Sadler (Nebraska) has also bowed out.

Some Analysis

Taking the Cessna and Harris lists and removing Fox and Sadler, you still have quite a few names floating around. Everything that I have read indicates that Lon Kruger is very happy at UNLV and Mike Montgomery has been in the Bay-Area forever so I doubt that they are serious candidates. And Nolan Richardson? Really?

Chris Lowery just signed a contract extension and I don't particularly want a coach that would bolt after making a new agreement (fool me once...). Rumor has it that Bill Byrne really likes Tim Floyd, but with OJ Mayo incoming I think that he is the longest of long shots. I'll add Jamie Dixon to the list of coaches that would be good hires, but I just don't see coming to Aggieland. For Dixon this would be, at best, a lateral move. Gonzaga's Mark Few has turned down big name programs before. It would surprise me very much if he made a jump now. Where does that put the list? Well,

Unrealistic (but would be great hires!):
1. Jamie Dixon
2. Mark Few
3. Chris Lowery
4. Tim Floyd

Some more realistic names (not really in order):
1. Mark Turgeon, Wichita State
2. Alvin Brooks, A&M assistant
3. Reggie Theus, New Mexico State
4. Greg Marshall, Winthrop
5. Ronnie Arrow, TAMU-CC

And, finally, the guys I have no read on at all (from Cessna's list):
1. Scott Drew, Baylor
2. Anthony Grant, VCU
3. Frank Haith, Miami
4. Leonard Hamilton, FSU
5. John Pelphrey, South Alabama
6. Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt
7. Scott Sutton, ORU
8. Sean Sutton, OSU
9. Buzz Williams, NO Hornets

More to come later.

MGoBlog did some great summaries on the potential candidates at Michigan and many of the same names are coming up for A&M.
Theus, Lowery, Marshall and Grant
Montgomery and Kruger


At 3:19 AM, Anonymous mjc said...

Not to give you a bad time but I cannot understand why every college with a coaching vacancy thinks Mark Few would be slightly interested in their open position? What is it you think you got that he would want? I'm not just picking on A&M here you just happened to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

A prospective coach is a "person" first and foremost. Some will sell their soul for an opportunity to get a significant job. Some don't need that kind of validation and are looking for a place to "live" and "enjoy life".

Gonzaga IS a significant coaching position and perhaps a little more. Head coaches go to Gonzaga to become assistant coaches. Ever wonder why? It ain't because they can't get other jobs as head coaches or that pay more.

Gonzaga has a first rate facility, seems to pay pretty well (Few might make 500K or so -- maybe not the best paying in the country but there are a lot of jobs that pay less), is the only show in town, games are sold out forever, and there is a "family" atmosphere that really exists within the program and the community. Very often, players go to Gonzaga to play on a prominent team but also for a lot of intangible reasons. That's why coaches go to Gonzaga as well.

For some there's no more to life than hoops and hardwood.

For some, they have a life outside the gym too. I think Few is one of those guys. Someday, he might take a job at Oregon where he has family but I seriously doubt he'd ever take a position outside of the Pacific North West.

I'll bet there's a little talent in your own back yard. Might want to research these guys if you want to talk about a new coach to keep your program rollin.

By the way, A&M had a very entertaining team this year. Really enjoyed watching them.


At 8:50 AM, Blogger Tom said...

I agree with you 100%. Few's name was thrown out by various reporters who cover A&M. In fact I said:

"Gonzaga's Mark Few has turned down big name programs before. It would surprise me very much if he made a jump now."

And then I proceeded to file him under coaches that I didn't think that A&M had a shot at. It looks like Mark Turgeon is our guy and I'm pretty pumped about that.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Hurst said...

Why are you pumped about Turgeon? I don't know much about him at all and would like to share in the excitement but don't know what to be excited about. As a former A&M student I would like to see the program continue climbing up the hill and just hope that Byrne made the right choice.


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