NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Texas Tech had received permission to interview Milwaukee Bucks top assistant coach Darvin Ham.
Texas Tech has received permission and plans to interview Milwaukee Bucks top assistant and alumnus Darvin Ham this weekend, sources tell ESPN. Ham led Tech to its first Sweet 16 in 1996. Ham has risen into a serious head coaching candidate in NBA in last few years.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 3, 2021
I think the general consensus of candidates thus far is Ham, Mark Adams, Joe Golding, and Grant McCasland.
Again, this is just “thus far” as I would expect there to be others that are included as well, but we’ll see. This made me think of the why a coach might be chosen, other than coaching acumen so I’m grouping these coaches into categories with the thought that they might make more sense about what you might get with one or another.
The Red Raider
There are two thus far, Adams and Ham. Both are graduates of Texas Tech and although they have made their way around the country or state, they are ultimately, alums. With Adams, he graduated Texas Tech in 1979, was a junior college and small college coach from the early 80’s up until 2013 when he became Texas Tech’s director of basketball operations under Tubby Smith and eventually moved into the role of assistant coach and associate head coach with Chris Beard.
Adams has a record of 554-244 over 23 seasons and won a national championship in 2010 with Jae Crowder at Howard College.
Ham graduated from Texas Tech in 1996 (same year as me!) and started off at Otero Junior College. Ham played from 1996 through 2008 and started coaching as soon as his playing career was over and is currently with the Milwaukee Bucks as the top assistant coach.
With both Adams and Ham being alums, you really don’t have to worry about them leaving for another college program. I would think that Adams would be a lifer for Texas Tech as much as he possibly could. And with Ham, the only concern would be if the NBA came calling as a head coach. I don’t think that Ham leaves for an assistant possibility with an NBA team, but you never know. The point here is that you likely don’t have to worry about their loyalty to Texas Tech. They aren’t going to jump to another collegiate program. This is it for them.
The Mid Major Coach
I’m throwing McCasland and Golding in this group.
McCasland played at Baylor, a point guard, and a couple of years at Texas Tech where he was a graduate assistant (I believe he has a degree at Texas Tech, hence the graduate assistant label). McCasland entered into the coaching world where he was an assistant and them went up against Adams (who was at Howard) and McCasland was at Midland. Eventually McCasland ended up at Baylor as an assistant coach from 2011 through 2016 where he got a shot at Arkansas State where he immediately won 20 games, then moved to North Texas starting at the 2017 season where he won 20, 21, 20, and 18 games thus far.
Golding also played at Abilene Christian from 1994 through 1998 after a few years after playing started coaching, initially at the high school level and then a couple of junior colleges before being an assistant at ACU from 2005 through 2008, and then an assistant at Little Rock from 2008 through 2011, and then became the head coach at ACU in 2011. Golding had a tough job, which was to take ACU from Division II to Division I, so the first few years of his head coaching years were rough, winning 11, 10, 13, 13, and 16 games before things really started to click in 2018-19. The past three years, Golding won 27, 20, and 24 games.
The problem with both McCasland and Golding is that they both very well may jump at another opportunity. McCasland would maybe jump to take over a Baylor program if Scott Drew would ever leave (and who would have thought that a head coach would leave a program after taking them to the National Championship Game?). Golding may very well decide to be exactly like Beard and look for the next best thing if his coaching loyalty really lies with ACU. After leaving there, he might not care what happens. Not only that, but with Golding being really good friends with Beard, who knows what they’ve shared.
There’s an inherent risk with this type of hire. And truthfully, you could lump any sort of mid-major coach in this group, they may always leave to upgrade. As long as you are comfortable with that, this might not be a bad possibility. If they did upgrade then it would likely mean they’ve continued to upgrade the program.
The Power Five Coach
I’m going to lump in Illinois’ Brad Underwood, Arkansas’ Eric Musselman, Alabama’s Nate Oats, and Oregon’s Dana Altman in this group. These are all very successful head coaches. they have won at their respective programs at a relatively high level. They all recruit really well and they are very good at their jobs. The problem with this type of coach is that they’ll always (most likely) chase the paycheck and what they perceive to be the better job. Which they have every right and prerogative to do. That’s not to say that Texas Tech can’t make it difficult to leave, but that didn’t stop Beard.
I won’t brush these guys with the same brush as Beard, but the idea is that these guys are coaches and they sell themselves of basically winning wherever they go. The benefit of that is that the winning would likely continue and you’ll need to continue the salary demands of $4 to $5 million for each one of these guys.
The NBA Coach
Right now, that’s only Darvin Ham, and that’s a real selling point and it’s one worth considering. Ham’s existence in the NBA-sphere for a decade-plus. He can certainly sell that NBA experience to recruits, but Ham has to be more than that. Ham’s connection with Texas Tech makes this a bit of a no-brainer and most NBA guys don’t make the jump to the college level so I wouldn’t expect another NBA Coach to be considered.
I’d love your thoughts, for you to tell me if you think this is somewhat accurate in terms of classification. And if so, is there a particular category that you prefer?