We've gotten some practice at this. We know how the process works for hiring a new coach for a major sport: we get rumors, we get SOURCES!! ... and then we get a hire that might not have had any link to the rumors and sources. I profiled like 15 rumored coaches three years ago when Mike Anderson left, and Frank Haith was not one of the 15.
Tracking coaching rumors is a sport in and of itself. As with recruiting, there are "winners" and "losers" in this fake game.
And as with recruiting, there are hot boards. Lots of hot boards. Let's keep track of them.
Hot lists are echo chambers. One random person says a name, and he gets added to others' lists. And the first 24 hours of a coaching vacancy basically consist of members of the media bouncing names off of each other before the list slowly gets honed down.
Right now, though? Total free-for-all. Let's take a look. We'll add, subtract, and create rules as we go.
|Coach||Current job||Jeff Goodman||KC Star||PowerMizzou||The Trib||TOTAL|
|Mike White||Louisiana Tech||1||1||1||3|
|Craig Neal||New Mexico||1||1||2|
|Kim Anderson||Central Missouri||1||1||2|
|Gregg Marshall||Wichita State||1||1||2|
|Donnie Tyndall||Southern Miss||1||1|
|Brad Underwood||Stephen F. Austin||1||1|
|Tim Fuller||Missouri (assistant)||1||1|
|Frank Martin||South Carolina||1||1|
Some initial thoughts:
1. One has to assume that the list starts with Gregg Marshall no matter what. Whether we ever find out about it or not, the odds are strong that Mike Alden puts out a feeler. If you believe Bob Lutz at the Wichita Eagle, maybe there will be some traction there. But until we hear otherwise, this is obviously in the "probably not" category. Marshall and Smart are mentioned for every single job opening, and they pass on every single job opening.
2. Archie Miller has three years of experience at Dayton after three years with Sean Miller at Arizona, one with Thad Matta at Ohio State, and three with Herb Sendek at N.C. State and Arizona State. He's gone 26-22 in conference, and he led his team to the Elite Eight this past season. This was his first real year of success, however, and while Dayton was really fun to watch in the tournament, they did finish just 38th in the Pomeroy rankings. Because of the lightning-in-a-bottle nature of his current résumé, I doubt he's Alden's first choice. That doesn't mean he won't be Alden's final choice, of course.
3. Michael White has had about the same level of success as Miller. He has been a head coach for three years, and he has shown steady progress at Louisiana Tech -- from 12-20 to 18-16 in Year 1, to 27-7 and NIT 2nd Round in Year 2, to 29-8 and NIT quarterfinals in Year 3. He has SEC ties (he attended Ole Miss), but his pedigree doesn't have as many big names on it, for whatever that's worth to you. He was an assistant at Jacksonville State for the first four years of his career, and he was a top assistant for each of the last two Ole Miss coaches in Oxford. If or when Andy Kennedy doesn't work out, one has to figure White will get a long look. Again, I don't see enough head coaching experience to assume he's one of Alden's immediate top choices.
4. Of the names with at least three points right now, only Miles and Painter have the major-conference experience Mike Alden seems to value more and more. Miles has proven himself in terms of reclamation projects, that's for sure. In fact, Miles has all sorts of experience, period. He has been a head coach since 1996 -- first at Mayville State (he went 17-11 and 18-11), then at SW Minnesota State (he went 28-7 and reached the Division II Elite Eight his final year), then at North Dakota State (he won 20 games twice while NDSU was still an Independent), then at Colorado State (he took over an outright reclamation project, went 7-25 his first year, then reached the NCAA Tournament in his fifth year), and finally at Nebraska. It took him only two years to turn Nebraska into a tournament team.
The problem with Miles is, he's quickly turning Nebraska into an attractive enough job that he might not want to leave. And it's certainly safe to say that the Big Ten is a more attractive basketball conference than the SEC at the moment. He has no ties to the southeast, so while I wouldn't object to Alden gauging interest, there's nothing to say that Miles would actually have any interest.
5. And then there's Matt Painter. I mean ... I guess I could see it. We know he was attracted to the job three years ago, and we know that, with his lack of success at Purdue over the last three years (he went 22-13 two years ago and has gone 31-35 since), there's certainly a chance that he regrets not coming to Columbia and would do so if given a do-over. And it's probably safe to say that Purdue wouldn't fight nearly as hard to keep him this time.
But still ... he completely and totally left Mike Alden at the alter two years ago. I posted this morning that one of Alden's biggest strengths is that he doesn't make emotional decisions, so technically "he left me at the alter" might not factor in. But I have to say that this would still surprise the hell out of me. Experience aside (and let's face it, his experience will still be a major pro on the pros-and-cons list), Painter isn't nearly as as attractive a name this time around. He has struggled to recruit, and while he hasn't suddenly turned into a bad coach, I don't think he's attractive enough to offset what happened three years ago.
6. As for Kim Anderson...
Yes. Mizzou passed on Kim Anderson the last three times there was an opening, but THIS TIME he's a dark horse.— Rock M Nation (@rockmnation) April 17, 2014
And after being passed over three times and getting ready to turn 60 years old, Kim Anderson would be interested?— Rock M Nation (@rockmnation) April 17, 2014
(That's right, he's almost 60 years old. He's three years younger than Gary Pinkel. Maybe it's time we let this one go…)— Rock M Nation (@rockmnation) April 17, 2014
He's three years younger than Gary Pinkel, he's six years younger than Norm Stewart was when Norm retired, and he's been passed over three times already. There's no reason to think Mike Alden is interested, and there's no reason to think he'd reciprocate the interest. I know the "TRUE SON" urge is strong, and for all we know, he'd be as magnificent at the job as everybody really, truly wants to think. But if it didn't happen the last three times...
(Meanwhile, I'd like to know how someone can be a "dark horse" when people bring him up every time there's an opening...)