Friday, October 24, 2008

Arizona's Coaching Search: Part II

Perhaps some of you out there read my first post upon hearing of Lute Olson's exit from the University of Arizona. Much of that article was done tongue in cheek. Especially considering the candidates consisted of, among others, Denise Austin, Bob Dole, and Craig T. Nelson. But the U of A is facing a serious problem for the future. They need a new coach. And Russ Pennell, Reggie Geary, and Mike Dunlap are not nearly qualified enough to fill in for the Great Lute Olson, no offense to either. Perhaps Pennell's audition this year will buy him a long term contract stepping in Lute's shoes, but let's be honest, we all know that probably won't be the case for the former AAU Coach.

Mike Dunalp, who many thought would be replacing Lute on an interim basis this year, rejected the University's propsal on the basis that he didn't want to be the "interim" Head Coach. It seems that Jim Livengood will be spreading his search nationally and that others may be standing in the way of Pennell, Geary, or Dunlap taking over the Cats for the long haul. So my Top 10 candidates, for reals this time, to replace Lute Olson are below. I should note that there are a couple names on this list that probably wouldn't happen, but these would be the names that I would accept leading the Kitty Cats onto the Hardwood.

Josh Pastner
Arizona Asst Coach 2001-2008
Memphis Asst Coach 2008-Present
Jamie Dixon
UCSB Asst Coach 1991-1992
Hawaii Asst Coach 1992-1994
Northern Arizona Asst Coach 1994-1998
Hawaii Asst Coach 1998-1999
Pittsburgh Asst Coach 1999-2003
Pittsburch Head Coach 2003-Present
Larry Eustachy
Miss. St. Asst Coach 1981-1986
Idaho Asst Coach 1986-1987
Utah Asst Coach 1987-1989
Ball St. Asst Coach 1989-1990
Idaho Head Coach 1990-1993
Utah St. Head Coach 1993-1998
Iowa St. Head Coach 1998-2003
Southern Miss Head Coach 2004-Present
Southern Miss HC - Leave of Absence 2008-2009
Lorenzo Romar
UCLA Asst Coach 1998-1996
Pepperdine Head Coach 1996-1999
Saint Louis Head Coach 1999-2002
Washington Head Coach 2002-Present
Tony Bennett
Wisconsin Asst Coach 1999-2003
Washington State Asst Coach 2003-2006
Washington State Head Coach 2006-Present
Keno Davis
Iowa Asst Coach 1991-1995
Southern Indiana Asst Coach 1995-1997
Southeast Mizz Asst Coach 1997-2003
Drake Asst Coach 2003-2007
Drake Head Coach 2007-2008
Providence Head Coach 2008-Present
Mark Few
Gonzaga Asst Coach 1989-1999
Gonzaga Head Coach 1999-Present
Lon Kruger
Pitt St. Asst Coach 1976-1977
Kansas St. Asst Coach 1977-1982
UTPA Head Coach 1982-1986
Kansas St. Head Coach 1986-1990
Florida Head Coach 1990-1996
Illinois Head Coach 1996-2000
Atlanta Hawks Head Coach 2000-2003
New York Knicks Asst Coach 2003-2004
UNLV Head Coach 2004-Present
Bob McKillop
Davidson Asst Coach 1978-1979
Davidson Head Coach 1989-Present
Jay Wright
Rochester Asst Coach 1984-1986
Drexel Asst Coach 1986-1987
Villanova Asst Coach 1987-1992
UNLV Asst Coach 1992-1994
Hofstra Head Cosch 1994-2001
Villanova Head Coach 2001-Present

All of these guys are under 60 (the oldest being Bob McKillop at 58) and they all have experience at successful programs. All but Josh Pastner have Head Coaching experience, and what Pastner lacks in head coaching experience (at the collegiate level) he makes up for in recruiting ability. Often considered one of the top recruiters in the game and specifically in the West and Southwest areas.

A Coach like Few or Dixon should jump at the opportunity to coach, not only at a Big level school, but a Basketball powerhouse none the less. Either of those two, Pastner, Wright, or Bennett would be able to lock in for a long time (26 years+) as they are all 46 or under. Look at the track records of some of these guys, specifically Few and Wright turning around semi-non-existant/failing programs like Gonzaga and Villanova and becoming successful. And Thought Eustachy would fit in great in Tucson (we do love our Natty Light) My money is on....

....Mark Few as the next University of Arizona Head Basketball Coach. He has to be getting sick of beating up on the rest of the WCC and want to measure himself against the likes of Ben Howland and UCLA rather than the likes of Tom Asbury and Pepperdine. I know he has been contacted, every single offseason by teams looking for a new coach and yet he stays in Washington...or wherever in the Pacific Northwest Gonzaga is located. But Arizona is a different opportunity, especially being able to jump in (presumably) a full year after the official exit of Lute Olson and really 2 years since he coached in Tucson, making his shadow a little less grand.


Anonymous said...

Actually, Few took over at Gonzaga after Monson left for Minnesota following their run through to the Elite Eight in 99. He didn't build it from scratch, though he's kept it at an elite level since.

Anonymous said...

Two words will bring U of A right back into the top ten - Steve Lavin. Ex-UCLA coach who would absolutely kill it.