It’s official: Kim Anderson is not coming back as the Mizzou basketball coach.
We’ve certainly known for a while where this was heading, and I’ve drawn out writing this post. I first told you why the Mizzou job is a good one, then took some time on the challenges of the job. I spent two articles to talk about the power conference coaching landscape. And then I went on a chase of all the mid-major coaches who could be on the move this offseason.
So now, here we sit. Kim Anderson has been let go, and the coaching search officially begins.
I’m going to start off by talking about how I would conduct the search, then talk about how I think Jim Sterk will do so.
You’ve waited long enough. Here’s my list:
So now that the news is confirmed:— Sam Snelling (@SamTSnelling) March 5, 2017
1. Gregg Marshall
2. Tom Crean
3. Chris Holtman
4. Kevin Keatts
5. Mick Cronin
My first 5 calls
Tomorrow I’ll lay out my plans for landing Gregg Marshall — it basically just involves Mizzou spending a lot of money, and it’s an incredible longshot that really isn’t going to happen, but I’m going to pretend anyway.
Mizzou had its shot to hire Marshall six years ago and didn’t go that route. Now it would cost the Tigers more than they can probably afford. Still, he’s the best coach available. You’ve got to call him.
The job Chris Holtmann had done at Butler is really impressive. I’m making the call, but my read on the situation, and from what I’ve heard in coaching circles, is that it would take a pretty huge change to get Holtmann to leave Butler.
While Mizzou has endured so much turmoil in the last few years, Holtmann has cemented himself and the Butler program with a pretty incredible foundation. The Bulldogs don’t have the finances of an SEC school, but the Big East is a sexy league right now, so it would be tough to lure him away.
Last year, Mick Cronin flirted with UNLV, but the Cincinnati alum couldn’t leave his hometown and stayed at Cincy. Still, I think you make the call because of what he’s built there after a few rocky seasons early.
Cronin’s teams have been in the top 25 defensively for seven straight years, and they’re tough as nails. His personality and style would fit well at Mizzou. The reason he’s on my list is because he’s a great coach, and he’s also expressed some ... shall we say ... displeasure with the NCAA recently. He recognizes the game and is outspoken about it. Perhaps he will recognize the limits of the AAC and decide a new league will provide the bump he needs to get to the next level.
Kevin Keatts is very possibly the next great coach if you listen to the experts. He ticks just about every box. He’s coached at a lot of different levels, including at Louisville as an assistant. He helped build a championship roster there. He’s since taken over UNC-Wilmington and turned the Seahawks into a powerhouse in a short time. So if you like the up-and-coming mid-major guy, he’s the one.
And last is Tom Crean. He’s my “Vegas-odds favorite” right now because of the situation in Bloomington. If Indiana is ready to move, I believe he’s at the very top of the list at Missouri, and I would fully support the move to hire him. He’s a proven program builder, he develops players, and he’s already proven he can recruit Missouri pretty well (**sad trombone**). His record at Indiana is a little underrated considering what he inherited, and he won the Big 10 just last year.
What Jim Sterk does and what I would do if I were Jim Sterk intersect a little. So now let’s talk about who is probably on Jim Sterk’s list.
What we know at this point is that he wants a name hire. Mizzou can spend, but I honestly don’t know if it can afford to spend for Marshall. Still, the neighborhood of $3 million a year is a realistic thing.
So Crean. Again, I believe him to be the top target should his opportunity at Indiana dry up.
I’ve also heard Holtmann is a top target. Would he listen? It would take something giant to get him to budge from a great situation. He’s got Butler rolling in a great basketball league and he’s recruiting better than Butler ever has.
Cuonzo Martin is on everyone’s list, and I believe he’ll be on Missouri’s list. I go hot and cold on Martin. If you don’t like Martin, there is plenty there — his teams are mostly good but not great, and he has seemingly highly talented teams who underachieve.
What Martin accomplishes is raising the floor significantly. His teams are always on the bubble, which now seems like a good thing. But in five years maybe that’s not enough.
Moving on Martin requires a belief in him as a coach — that he is not done growing as a coach and that his best days are still ahead of him. Martin is only 45 years old, and he is uniquely familiar with St. Louis, having grown up in East St. Louis. His midwestern roots will be attractive to Illinois if they move on from John Groce as well.
An interesting case is Brad Underwood. Underwood has been magnificent for Oklahoma State in just one year. He’s making a pretty measly $1.3 million (when you consider what the rest of the power conference coaches are making), but it’s no secret Underwood is a Kansas State guy, and rumors are that he wants the job there. However, his buyout to another Big 12 school is a hefty $6 million. A move outside the Big 12 is possible, but it’s just as likely he stays at Oklahoma State, gets a raise, and continues to build what he’s started.
Oddly enough, Underwood is a former Frank Martin assistant, and Martin is the next guy we need to talk about. Martin has been mentioned by multiple people regarding his potential interest and he’s somebody who knows the job at Missouri well from his time at Kansas State and, subsequently, his current stop at South Carolina. He has a hefty $4.7 million buyout, so some rich Mizzou donor would have to absorb that. Martin is certainly on the list, but I’d wager this as more of a long shot.
KEEP AN EYE ON
- Buzz Williams: I have heard he believes the ceiling at VT is limited and could listen to offers.
- Dan Muller: He has power conference experience and he’s rebuilt Illinois State. Not a sexy hire, but he’s a very good basketball coach.
- Eric Musselman: A proven winner and experienced coach, but not a great track record at sticking around long.
- Pat Kelsey: The jump to Mizzou from Winthrop is probably too great, but Kelsey is a rising star.
- Scott Drew: I have heard he’s interesting in looking around because of a lot of turmoil and lack of support at Baylor, but it doesn’t feel like a good fit at Mizzou.
- Will Wade: He’s young, but he’s a proven recruiter. He’s in a good place at VCU, and I think he stays where he is.
- Andy Enfield: I hadn’t heard his name floated until Dave Matter posted it, but he’d be a very good hire.
- Kermit Davis: I doubt he makes the list, but he’s a good coach.
- Lorenzo Romar: Not happening, don’t sweat it.
- Rick Stansbury: I’ve seen his name floated. This would be terrible.
- Travis Ford: Don’t get lured by his recruiting prowess.
- Kelvin Sampson: Long history with the NCAA, not ideal for Mizzou.
- Steve Wojciechowski: Marquette is a better job, and he’s been okay and needs more time.
- Tim Jankovich: Done a good job with Larry Brown’s players but has NCAA troubles.
- Chris Collins: He’s not leaving Northwestern unless Coach K retires.
We'll do our best to keep you all as updated as possible on the search. Tomorrow, I make my pitch for Gregg Marshall.