I’m still kind of wrapping my head around this and these are the candidates that jump out to me. These are people that I’d call and at least gauge their interest. These are not in any particular order and not an exhaustive list, but coaches that I think should be considered.
- Mark Adams – Associate Head Coach: This is a given and Adams is the architect of the Texas Tech no-middle defense. The highest paid assistant in the country (I think). Adams is a Red Raider through and through, has ties to West Texas because he’s been a West Texas guy forever, including a 554-244 record as a head coach, mostly at West Texas JUCO’s.
- Joe Golding – Head Coach at Abilene Christian: Golding has essentially taken that program from a Division II program to Division I and been highly successful and a defensive coach through and through. Don’t look at his overall record, but in the last couple of years Golding has won with very little. The thing that bothers me the most? Golding is basically best friends with Beard and just wonder how that would work.
- Porter Moser – Head Coach at Loyola-Chicago: A stellar coach and previously coached at Texas A&M and Little Rock. Moser is also a candidate at Oklahoma and may be the leading candidate there.
- Kelvin Sampson – Head Coach at Houston: I think that Sampson is highly unlikely to leave Houston, but I’d still call. He’s a great coach and if he’s wanting to get back into a Power Five Conference, this is as good a place as any.
- Grant McCasland – Head Coach at North Texas: McCasland is a Baylor alum but spent a couple of years at Texas Tech, was a long-time assistant at Baylor, then went on to coach at Arkansas State and North Texas where he got the Mean Green to the round of 32. McCasland has been at UNT for the past 4 years an won 20 games 3 of those 4 years.
- Darvin Ham – Milwaukee Bucks Assistant Coach: Ham is a former player and has been an NBA assistant coach since his playing career ended. Hiring a former player with no college experience, but a staff of highly qualified coaches is a thing. Michigan has done this with Juwan Howard at Michigan, Patrick Ewing with Georgetown and Mike Woodson with Indiana (I’m sure there are other).
- Rick Pitino – Head Coach Iona: This is a guy that I would not hire, but Pitino is a winner. An absolute winner no matter where he goes. I see Pitino as an East Coast guy, but that probably doesn’t matter. All the stuff that happened at Louisville is not pleasant (just Google it and consider a meal at a nice Italian restaurant).
- Chris Jans – Head Coach New Mexico State: Jans is from the Midwest and was at Bowling Green and successful, but had some sort of weird situation , but was at a bar and being lewd towards women at a bar and Bowling Green fired him for violating his morals clause in the contract. At NMSU he went 43-3 in conference play at NMSU. This is also a hire that I would not want. Too much baggage.
My top options? I think a combination of Ham as head coach and Adams as a lead assistant with Scott Sutton there would be really appealing. Short of that, I think McCasland would be my next best/realistic option. Truthfully, Sampson should be at the top of the list, but don’t think he is realistic to leave Houston.