By: Brian Rauf
For the second time in his tenure as athletic director at USC, Eric Hyman is conducting a search for a men’s basketball coach. According to sources, Hyman first targeted Jeff Capel, then at Oklahoma, and Anthony Grant, then at VCU, before making an offer to then Western Kentucky coach Darrin Horn.
Wichita State coach Greg Marshall, formerly of Winthrop (and for one day the College of Charleston) is apparently the choice of a lot of Gamecock fans thru calls to sports talk shows and internet posts. Marshall won the NIT last year and has his team in the NCAA Tournament this year. He is expected to get a call from Hyman and we will see where things progress from there.
A college basketball source tells us Hyman also will look hard for a minority candidate. USC never has had a black head coach in football, men’s basketball or baseball.
There are few major college openings at this time. USC, Illinois and Nebraska are the openings, so the market is full of options for Hyman. Following is a breakdown of who we think might be some coaches Hyman will want to contact. They are broken down into Plan A, the ones we think could/should be among Hyman’s first call, and Plan B, the ones we think would be possible candidates should no one from Plan A come thru.
Plan A Choices
Gregg Marshall, Wichita State head coach
Marshall was the head coach at Winthrop from 1998-2007 and led the Eagles to seven NCAA Tournament appearances in nine seasons, including five 20-win seasons. He was also named the Big South Coach of the Year four times over that span and was the first coach from the Big South to win a game in the NCAA Tournament in 2007 when the 11-seeded Eagles beat 6-seeded Notre Dame.
Following that season, Marshall took the job as Wichita State’s head man. He led the Shockers to an NIT championship in the 2011 season, and followed that campaign with a Missouri Valley regular season championships this season. Marshall was also named as the 2012 Missouri Valley Coach of the Year. Wichita State was given a 5-seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament and will play 12th-seeded VCU in the second round.
Marshall has complied an overall record of 302-142 over his 14-year coaching career, with a .680 winning percentage. The details of his current contract with the Shockers can be found here: http://www.kansas.com/2011/05/20/1856398/marshall-contract-finalized.html
Shaka Smart, VCU head coach
Shaka Smart became one of the hottest names in coaching after his VCU Rams went on an unlikely run to the Final Four last season. Smart was hired in 2009 after the departure of Anthony Grant to Alabama with no previous head coaching experience.
In his first season, he led the Rams to a 27-10 record and won the CBI Tournament Championship. That campaign was followed with the Final Four run, and Smart has VCU back in the NCAA Tournament again this season after winning the CAA Conference Tournament. VCU received a 12-seed, and will play the aforementioned Wichita State Shockers in the second round.
Prior to being a head coach, Smart was an assistant at Clemson from 2006-2008 and at Florida from 2008-2009, giving him ties to the state of South Carolina and the SEC. He holds a career coaching record of 83-27 in three seasons, a winning percentage of 0.755. Details of Smart’s current contract can be found here: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=6290035
Tommy Amaker, Harvard head coach
The ex-Duke point guard has 15 years of head coaching experience at Seton Hall (1997-2001), Michigan (2001-2007), and Harvard (2007-present). Amaker took Seton Hall to the Sweet 16 in the 200 NCAA Tournament, but left to take over the Michigan job and had to deal with the scandal and sanctions that were imposed on the Wolverines over his first few years, but still managed to lead Michigan and NIT Championship in 2004.
Amaker has accomplished a series of firsts at Harvard, including the Crimson’s first victory over a ranked opponent in the 2008-2009 season (#17 Boston College), first time ranked in the AP and Coaches Poll which occurred this season, and has Harvard in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1946. He has also set a school record for wins in a season in each of the three season he has been at the helm.
Amaker holds an overall coaching record of 268-193 for a winning percentage of .581 and is in the third year of his five-year contract.
Tubby Smith, Minnesota head coach
Smith is probably best known for his stint as head coach at Kentucky, which led a National Championship in 1998. However, Smith does have ties to the Gamecocks, as he was an assistant coach at South Carolina from 1986-1989. His time at the helm of the Wildcats (1997-2007) as well as his time as the head coach at Georgia (1995-1997), Smith has vast knowledge of the challenges of coaching in the SEC.
Smith has won five SEC Tournament titles and is a three-time NCAA Coach of the Year, winning the Naismith College Coach of the Year in 2003. His time at Minnesota has led to two NCAA Tournament bids, but both times the Golden Gophers were ousted in the first round. The Gophers are set to compete in the NIT this year. His contract expires after the 2013-2014 season.
Smith has a coaching record of 486-209 (.699 winning percentage) over his 21 year career.
Plan B Choices
Jeff Capel, Duke assistant coach
Capel is in his first season serving under Mike Krzyzewski, but was a head coach at VCU from 2002-2006 before moving the Oklahoma where he was at the helm from 2006-2011 until he was fired from a scandal regarding the recruitment of Tiny Gallon.
Capel led VCU to a CAA championship in 2004 and left for the Sooners in 2006 to be Kelvin Sampson’s replacement. Capel led Oklahoma to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in his second year and to the Elite 8 in his third. He has an overall head coaching record of 175-110 for a winning percentage of .614.
Bruiser Flint, Drexel head coach
Flint has 16 years of head coaching experience, first as John Calipari’s successor at UMass (1996-2001) before resigning and becoming the head coach at Drexel. He has led the Dragons to the NIT this season for the fifth time in his tenure following a 26-5 campaign and a CAA regular season championship.
Flint has been named CAA Coach of the Year four times and has an overall record of 281-211 (.571 winning percentage) in his head coaching career.
Paul Hewitt, George Mason head coach
The long-time Georgia Tech coach is in his first season at George Mason following an 11-year stint with the Yellow Jackets. The Patriots went 23-6 this past season.
Hewitt led Siena to the NCAA Tournament in 1999 in the second year of his tenure, and led Georgia Tech to the big dance five times, including an appearance in the National Championship Game in 2004 before losing to Connecticut. Hewitt is in this first year of a five-year contract, and is receiving a $7.2 million buyout from his Georgia Tech contract throughout this past year as well as the next four.
He was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2001 and the MAAC Coach of the Year in 2000. Hewitt holds a career record of 252-181 (.581 winning percentage) over 15 years.
Al Skinner, former Boston College head coach
Skinner was fired from Boston College following the 2009-2010 season and has been out of coaching since then. He began his head coaching career at Rhode Island, where he coached from 1988-1997, before taking the job at Boston College.
Skinner led Rhode Island to two NCAA tournament appearances and Boston College to seven appearances, although he only advanced past the second round once in 2006 when the Eagles reached the Sweet 16. He was awarded the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 1991, the Big East Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2005, and was named National Coach of the Year in 2001.
He has a career record of 385-291 over 22 seasons.
Stan Heath, USF head coach
Heath was named 2012 Big East Coach of the Year after leading the USF Bulls to a 20-13 record and their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. He was hired by South Florida in 2007 after five years at Arkansas that resulted in two NCAA Tournament appearances for the Razorbacks.
Heath began his career at Kent State in 2001, and led the Golden Flashes to the Elite 8 in his first season before being hired at Arkansas. Heath is in the last year of his contract with USF, and has a career record of 180-164 (.523 winning percentage)
Bobby Lutz, NC State assistant coach
Lutz was the head coach at Charlotte from 1998-2012 and led the 49er’s to the NCAA Tournament five times, although he never passed the round of 32. In 2005, he was a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award and is Charlotte’s all-time winningest coach.
Following his tenure at Charlotte, Lutz was an assistant for Iowa State for the 2010-2011 season before becoming an assistant under Mark Gottfried at NC State. Lutz holds a career record of 218-158.
John Cooper, Tennessee State head coach
Cooper is at his first head coaching post of his career after being hired in 2009. He served as an assistant coach at South Carolina from 1995-2001, and was also an assistant at Oregon and Auburn. Cooper’s Tennessee State team is still the only team to have beaten Murray State this season and finished second in the Ohio Valley Conference.