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Who fills the last coaching spots?
We’ll run through who they have missed on, the names that have been tossed around and who we think they need to hire.
Former Coach: Ernie Kent
Days Open: 27
Roundup: The Ducks no longer have an athletic director now that Mike Bellotti is gone, so now it’s been up to former AD Pat Kilkenny and Nike czar Phil Knight, who have swung and missed on a few big names: Mark Few, Jamie Dixon, Billy Donovan and most recently, Brad Stevens.
This is a middle of the road Pac-10 job, despite the fact that the new coach will have the Nike ties and a brand-new facility. It’s not easy to get kids all the way out to Eugene, Ore.
Candidates: P.J. Carlesimo, Billy Gillispie, Terry Porter, Mike Dunlap — Carlesimo is 60 years old and hasn’t been in the college game since 1994, Porter has never been a college coach and Gillispie was a train wreck at Kentucky. Dunlap can certainly coach, but does he have enough juice to get the job?
My Pick: Mark Fox — He went to a trio of NCAA tournaments in five years at the helm at Nevada and has West Coast ties. The guy can coach, as further proven by taking a pitiful Georgia team to a 14-17 record this past season, and can also evaluate (i.e. JaValle McGee, Nick Fazekas, Ramon Sessions, Marcelus Kemp and Armon Johnson).
Other Options: Randy Bennett, Saint Mary’s — The Gaels' head man isn’t being considered because he’s not a big enough name, but the bottom line is that winning is more important than the press conference — and Bennett has won plenty of late.
Former coach: Fred Hill
Days Open: ?
Roundup: The two sides are still working out the legal details to part ways, but the divorce is inevitable. Hill won 44 games in four years, and 11 players transferred out of the program.
Hill was always regarded as a big-time recruiter from his days at Seton Hall and Villanova, but the questions surrounded his coaching ability. The next guy will likely be a proven coach.
Candidates: Fran Fraschilla, Jim O’Brien, Eddie Jordan, Jim Baron (Rhode Island), Mike Rice (Robert Morris).
My Pick: This is a tough one. I would go with either Fraschilla, who has a 175-100 record in coaching stints at Manhattan, St. John’s and New Mexico, or Rice, who has taken Robert Morris to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances. What separates Fraschilla from other “TV guys” is his willingness to work. Rice can coach, won’t be intimidated in the Big East and also has strong ties to the area.
Other Options: O’Brien has been out since 2004, when he was fired at Ohio State, Baron hasn’t been to the Big Dance in his nine-year tenure at URI and Jordan makes no sense at all.
Former coach: Jeff Bzdelik
Days Open: ?
Roundup: Bzdelik left for Wake Forest, primarily due to his relationship with athletic director Ron Wellman, but it’s not even official yet.
Is Saint Mary's Randy Bennett the right man for Colorado?
Buffaloes athletic director Mike Bohn wants to get into the Pac-10, so that may help attract a more high-profile candidate.
Candidates: Steve McClain (associate head coach at Colorado), Tad Boyle (Northern Colorado), Mike Dunlap (assistant at Oregon), Randy Bennett (Saint Mary’s).
My Pick: I’m not sure they could get him, but I’d go with Bennett. You win the press conference, and he’s also done a terrific job at Saint Mary’s. He also has that pipeline to Australia, which could help in a BCS league whether it’s the Big 12 or Pac-10.
Other Options: McClain was 157-115 in his tenure at Wyoming and would help to keep the current players, Boyle has done a tremendous job in his four seasons at Northern Colorado and Dunlap has local ties with the Denver Nuggets and also at Metro State.
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