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Home USC Hoops Coaching Candidate Big Board

The “Untouchables”

Note: The toughest catches in all of basketball

Brad Stevens, Head Coach, Butler

Brad StevensOverview: considered by many in basketball circles, the top overall coach in basketball, at any level, in any country, the 36-year-old Stevens is widely believed to be in line for the next opening at one of the legendary programs: Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, etc.  He very well may remain at Butler until Mike Krzyzewski retires.
Quality Scale: 10 out of 10
Negatives: Not Realistic.


Mark Few, Head Coach, Gonzaga

Mark FewOverview: Brad Stevens 1.0, Mark Few was the hottest name in coaching a decade ago. While Few has continued to churn out high quality programs years after year (making the NCAA Tourney all of his 14 seasons), his Gonzaga team has only advanced to the second weekend of the Tournament twice in the last dozen years, and never past the round of 16.
Quality Scale: 9 out of 10
Negatives: Not Realistic.

The Cream of the Crop

Note: The quality may be just as high, and these guys could be available

Shaka Smart, Head Coach, VCU

Shaka Smart 2Overview: the yang to Brad Stevens’s ying, Smart created a huge buzz in college basketball when he sent his Rams to the Final Four in 2011. Smart, who turns 36 in two months, and passed on a full wide to Harvard because they wouldn’t let him play basketball, is widely considered the best basketball coach in the world under the age 40 not named Brad Stevens.
Quality Scale: 10 out of 10
Negatives: Questionable how interested he’d be.
Note: turned down $2.5M/year offer from Illinois following 2012 season


Buzz Williams, Head Coach, Marquette

Buzz WilliamsOverview: following Tom Crean’s departure to Indiana, Buzz
Has kept the Golden Eagles Tournament-bound each of his four seasons on the job, and barring a complete collapse, Marquette looks to make it 5 in a row under Williams this season. Buzz also runs an exciting brand of basketball that may be the perfect anti-Howland fit in LA.
Quality Scale: 8 out of 10
Negatives: Uncertain how interested he’d be.


Gregg Marshall, Head Coach, Wichita State

Gregg WilliamsOverview: in 14 seasons of coaching at Winthrop and Wichita State, Gregg Marhsall had produced nine 20-win seasons and eight NCAA appearances – though 7 of those 8 came while leading Winthrop to automatic bids in the Big South. Marshall has the Shockers at 15-2 and on their way to an easy NCAA bid coming out of the competitive Missouri Valley Conference.
Quality Scale: 8 out of 10
Negatives: Marshall turns 50 next month.


Greg McDermott, Head Coach, Creighton

Greg McDermottOverview: with 4 NCAA appearances, and coming off a Sweet 16 appearance in 2012, Greg McDermott and his Creighton Bluejays are all the rage in college basketball.
Quality Scale: 8 out of 10
Negatives: McDermott was mostly a flop at his other BCS conference stop: Iowa State.

Jamie Dixon, Head Coach, Pittsburgh

Jamie DixonOverview: Ben Howland’s protégé remains one of the best coaches in basketball at any level. But he’s not the young, up and comer he used to be. Nor is he as easy to distinguish from the now highly unpopular Ben Howland across town. Dixon’s 8 NCAA appearances in his first 8 season at Pitt is a mark is high recognition; but his failure to reach the Final Four remains a monkey.
Quality Scale: 9 out of 10
Negatives: Will Dixon remind recruits of the unpopular Ben Howland?


Jay Wright, Head Coach, Villanova

Jay WrightOverview: following his Final 4 appearance in 2009, Jay Wright was – at that time – the next big thing: 7 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance at Villanova, and 9 overall. But Wright has fallen on tougher times, and hasn’t been to the Sweet 16 since 2008.
Quality Scale: 8 out of 10
Negatives: Wright’s deep roots in Philadelphia make him of questionable probability.


The Next Batch

Note: A step down in terms of perceived quality, these guys make for interesting candidates

Mark Gottfried, Head Coach, North Carolina State

Mark GottfriedOverview: the former, long-time UCLA assistant has proved a recruiting juggernaut in Raleigh. With Sendak having bolted N.C. St. for ASU, there is precedent for a move like this; and rumor persist that Gottfried would love to return to LA.
Quality Scale: 6 out of 10


Dave Rice, Head Coach, UNLV

Dave RiceOverview: Rice was somewhat of a surprise pick to succeed Lon Kruger in Las Vegas. Before bolting to Norman, Kruger had racked up 4 NCAA Tourney appearances in 5 season for the Rebels. Rice has continued the trend, and has the Rebels poised to finish in the top 20 after strong recruiting classes each of the last two seasons.
Quality Scale: 6 out of 10


Scott Drew, Head Coach, Baylor

Scott Drew 2Overview: Drew’s rocky road in Baylor obscures his near historic results at a program not known as a basketball power.
Quality Scale: 6 out of 10


Justin Hutson, Assistant Coach, UNLV

Justin HutsonOverview: Widely considered the best assistant coach on the west coast, Hutson is known particularly well for his recruiting efforts at SDSU and UNLV.
Quality Scale: 5 to 7 out of 10


Dan Monson, Head Coach, Long Beach State

Dan MonsonOverview: The one-time architect of the Gonzaga program, failed in his lone BCS conference effort at Minnesota; but has undergone a revival in Long Beach.
Quality Scale: 5 out of 10


Dave Rose, Head Coach, BYU

Dave RoseOverview: the former co-captain of the “Phi Slama Jama” team the University of Houston, Rose has lead BYU to the NCAA Tourney 6 straight seasons; though the 55-year-old has only advanced to the second weekend of play once.
Quality Scale: 7 out of 10


Josh Pastner, Head Coach, Memphis

Josh PastnerOverview: it remains to be seen if the baby-faced, former Arizona Wildcat is the next John Calipari, or the next Steve Lavin.
Quality Scale: 4 to 6 out of 10


Mike Hopkins, Ass’t Coach, Syracuse

Frank DunphyOverview: rumored to be the coaching-in-waiting should Jim Boeheim retire, Hopkins has garnered a first rate reputation not only for his recruiting prowess, but also for his involvement in Team USA basketball.
Quality Scale: 4 to 7 out of 10


Frank Dunphy, Head Coach, Temple

Frank DunphyOverview: the long-time Penn coach is now in his mid 60s, but is now leading Temple to NCAA appearances every year.
Quality Scale: 7 out of 10


Lorenzo Romar, Head Coach, Washington

Lorenzo RomarOverview: the former UCLA assistant, who may have interests in returning to LA, plays a fast-paced brand of ball and recruits well; but no one will confuse his teams for Coach K’s in terms of fundamentals.
Quality Scale: 6 out of 10


Steve Lavin, Head Coach, St. John’s

Steve LavinOverview: the former Bruin head coach is one of the most recognized names in basketball in the region. Sidetracked by cancer last season, it’s tough to tell if Lavin can prove himself more than just a great recruiter.
Quality Scale: 5 out of 10


Tommy Amaker, Head Coach, Harvard

Tommy AmakerOverview: Amaker was essentially a failure at two prior BCS level stints: at Seton Hall and at Michigan, making the NCAA Tournament just once in 10 season. But now Amaker has revitalized a dormant Harvard program, proving to be the best Harvard head coach maybe ever.
Quality Scale: 6 out of 10


Other Names to Consider

Note: Not the top names on the list, but these guys may end up running successful programs

Randy Bennett, Head Coach, St. Mary’s     Steve Alford, Head Coach, New Mexico

Andy Kennedy, Head Coach, Ole Miss     Tim Cluess, Head Coach, Iona

Robert Pack, Ass’t Coach, L.A. Clippers     Mike Dunlap, Head Coach, Charlotte Bobcats

Bacari Alexander, Ass’t Coach, Michigan St.     Steven McClain, Ass’t Coach, Indiana


The Do NOT Hire List

Note: The names you will hear early, usually because they are desperate for a better job

Kurt Rambis, TV commentator

Kurt RambisThe ESPN personality and former Laker fan favorite is nearly 100 games under .500 with a sub-.300 winning percentage as an NBA head coach; his college record in nonexistent with no discernible college ties for 33 years.


Reggie Theus, Head Coach, LA D-Fenders

Reggie TheusUnlike most NBA types on this list, Theus actually has extension college experience; unfortunately, he also has extensive experience dealing with the NCAA Infractions Committee.


Seth Greenberg, TV commentator

Seth GreenbergSince leaving Long Beach St. in the ’90s, Greenberg spent 16 seasons at South Florida and Virginia Tech. Total number of NCAA Tourney appearances in 16 season: ONE. There is a reason he’s a TV analyst now.


Brian Shaw, Assistant Coach, Indiana Pacers

Brian ShawBrian Shaw may one day end up that great NBA head coach that so many have speculated about for years; but with zero college experience since he left Santa Barbara as a student 25 years ago, there is no indication that Shaw is ready to identify, recruit and develop high school talent — i.e., 90% of what college coaching is about.


Mike Brown, Head Coach, Long Beach State

Mike BrownWhile also lacking any college coaching experience, Brown at least has proven at times to be a successful NBA coach. Unfortunately, that’s not going to mean a whole lot when he’s trying to develop 17 and 18 year old kids, to say nothing of recruit them.


Tony Bennett, Head Coach, Virginia

Tony BennettBennett’s is the only name of the list who has proven to be a truly successful college head coach. He’s also known for having very boring teams, which is not what USC needs right now.


Michael Cooper, Head Coach, Women of Troy

Michael CooperWhile his name may appear absurd now, just a few years ago many southern Californians would have been clamoring to make him SC’s head coach, for the simple reason that he was a Laker great now in coaching. Well, we can see just how meaningless that has proved to be for coaching in college.


Eric Musselman, Assistant Coach, Arizona State

Eric MusselmanThe son of a famous coach, Eric Musselman has the type of international coaching experience that might make him intriguing. But he’s better suited to an assistant job at this point. Maybe in a couple years.


Ernie Kent, TV commentator

Ernie KentKent’s teams lit up the conference for several years during the last decade. But he was fired after two poor seasons and personal scandals. Probably not the type of guy SC needs right now.


Herb Sendek, Head Coach, Arizona State

Herb SendekSendek is an above average coach who also plays a very boring brand of basketball. If SC doesn’t need Tony Bennett right now, it really doesn’t need a poor man’s Tony Bennett.

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