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College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID’ing top candidates

While the college basketball coaching carousel hasn’t made its full transformation to the model of college football, which has a long history of firing coaches in the middle of the season, two big-time jobs opened much earlier than usual this season in Maryland and Louisville. So the carousel has been spinning since the first weeks of December and isn’t expected to slow down for another six weeks or so.

After fewer than 30 coaching changes were made during the coronavirus-impacted cycle in the spring of 2020, the sport saw 57 jobs change hands last season. There were landscape-shifting changes — Roy Williams retired and Mike Krzyzewski announced he was stepping down this spring — and 13 power-conference jobs changed coaches.

We’re likely to see a lighter couple of months in the big leagues, but dominoes are ready to fall.

To get you prepared for the next six weeks of coaching machinations — and rumors! — here’s a look at the biggest storylines, jobs and names to watch.


Big-picture storylines to watch

1. Are we headed for a quiet carousel?

I’m likely jinxing things, but right now it appears it could be a fairly quiet March and April at the top of the sport. Louisville and Maryland already being open might make it feel even less busy, but those two jobs could also create dominoes and get things spinning. Part of the reason it’s hard to imagine as wild a carousel as last spring is simply the fact that so many of the top-tier jobs in the country have already changed hands in recent years. Last spring alone we saw Duke, North Carolina, Indiana, Texas and Arizona make changes. UCLA hired Mick Cronin in 2019. Most of the other big programs are led by well-entrenched head coaches who are very secure in their jobs. Even if more than another handful of high-major jobs open, it’s unlikely to create too much of a ripple effect.

2. Retirement possibilities

Williams and Krzyzewski were retirement headliners last spring, with both seemingly coming out of nowhere. But don’t forget about Lon Kruger retiring as the head coach of Oklahoma. Will this year have any surprises? The league to watch for is the ACC. Miami’s Jim Larranaga and Notre Dame’s Mike Brey were both mentioned as retirement possibilities last spring, but both are likely to make the NCAA tournament this season. Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim doesn’t seem likely to end his career without another NCAA tournament appearance. There have been some very quiet whispers over the past few days about Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton, with the Seminoles struggling this season. But he looks like he’s got more than a few years left in him and has also been one of the most successful coaches in the country in recent years.

3. Who’s the next Tommy Lloyd?

The big trend in coaching last spring was for high-major programs to hire assistant coaches without previous head coaching experience. Arizona hiring Tommy Lloyd was an example; Lloyd had been an assistant at Gonzaga for 20 years before the Wildcats made him the face of their program. Penn State hired Purdue assistant Micah Shrewsberry, Minnesota hired Xavier assistant Ben Johnson and DePaul hired Oregon assistant Tony Stubblefield. North Carolina, Duke and Texas Tech all promoted from within, with only Mark Adams having Division I head coaching experience — albeit in the 1990s. Will that trend continue this season — and if so, who’s next? Baylor’s Jerome Tang could be a potential name. He has been alongside Scott Drew for 19 years in Waco, and is more than ready to make the jump.

4. Prolonged carousel with NBA opportunities

When the final high-major job gets filled in early-to-mid April, don’t celebrate just yet. The NBA regular season doesn’t end until April 10, meaning there could be a flurry of pro jobs opening in the days that follow. The last college-to-NBA move was John Beilein to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and that failed spectacularly. But there will always be rumors, especially given the trend of college programs hiring former players with primarily NBA coaching experience. Last summer saw Penny Hardaway interview with the Orlando Magic and emerge as a real candidate. And hey, you might even get the return of John Calipari-to-the-NBA rumors if the New York Knicks continue to struggle, given the franchise’s decision-makers and their ties to the Kentucky boss.


Jobs already open

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Maryland

Turgeon stepped down in early December, but the Terrapins have taken their time with the search. There were early overtures made to Alabama’s Nate Oats, but his buyout was too big. Ed Cooley has been the name buzzing most recently, but indications are that he would prefer to stay at Providence rather than make the move to College Park. Two names that have been linked to the job since it opened are Andy Enfield (USC) and Kevin Willard (Seton Hall). Both appear to be interested in the job, but it’s unclear if there’s someone else ahead of them in the pecking order. There have been some whispers about Brey (Notre Dame), Rick Pitino (Iona) and Sean Miller (ex-Arizona), but all three seem unlikely for various reasons. Could there be a lesser known contender that hasn’t been mentioned yet?

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Louisville

After a tumultuous few weeks, Chris Mack and the Cardinals parted ways in January, leaving Mike Pegues in charge for the remainder of the season. After links to Bruce Pearl resulted in the Auburn coach becoming one of the highest-paid coaches in the sport, the real first name that emerged as the favorite for the job was New York Knicks assistant Kenny Payne, a U of L alumnus who spent a decade at Kentucky as an assistant coach under Calipari. There were even some rumors that a deal could be done sooner rather than later, but those have quieted in recent days. Though most of the buzz still centers around Payne as the likely favorite, the school did hire a search firm and is still exploring options. The one wild card in all this is UCLA’s Cronin, who is from Cincinnati and spent two years at Louisville under Pitino. If he’s interested, and it’s unclear whether he is, he would appear to be a no-brainer hire. For what it’s worth, interim AD Josh Heird went on plugged-in Louisville writer Jeff Greer’s podcast earlier this month and said that he would ideally like to have his coach in place not long after the end of Louisville’s season.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Illinois State

Long expected to open, the Redbirds announced — shortly before kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday, of course — that Dan Muller would be leaving at the end of the season. While they’ve struggled in recent years, the perception within the Missouri Valley is that this is a pretty good job — and there are plenty of coaches interested. Gonzaga assistant Roger Powell was perceived as the early favorite, but other names linked include former Iowa State coach Steve Prohm and Illinois assistant Chester Frazier. One rumor floating around is it could be an exit strategy for Northwestern’s Chris Collins, whose father, Doug, played at Illinois State before being the No. 1 pick in the 1973 NBA draft. But Collins is under contract through 2025 and is likely getting at least one more year with the Wildcats.

Others currently open or with an interim head coach: CSU Northridge, Lafayette, Maine, Sacramento State, Seattle


Jobs I’m watching

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Georgia

This one seems highly likely to open. Tom Crean is in Year 4 in Athens and the Bulldogs just dropped to 6-22 overall and 1-14 in the SEC after a 14-point loss to Texas A&M on Tuesday. They just haven’t been able to be consistently competitive over the last few years, even when they had overall No. 1 NBA draft pick Anthony Edwards back in 2019-20. Their best finish in the SEC was last season at 7-11. Georgia hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2015 and hasn’t won a game in the tournament since 2002, but there are people who think it has potential to move up in the league. Two names consistently mentioned with Georgia are Xavier assistant Jonas Hayes, who played and coached at Georgia and Cleveland State head coach Dennis Gates.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

South Carolina

Entering last season’s carousel, it looked like Frank Martin could be out the door — but the fact that he was owed around $6 million and the school had just paid football coach Will Muschamp $13 million to leave early helped keep him in Columbia for another season. In fact, Martin landed an extension through 2025, although his buyout is still manageable. South Carolina is once again competitive in the SEC — and 16-10 overall entering Wednesday night — but the Gamecocks have been to just one NCAA tournament in Martin’s 10 years. Granted, they also went to the Final Four that season. One thing to monitor is South Carolina making a push for top-10 recruit and Columbia native G.G. Jackson, who has been rumored to be strongly considering the Gamecocks and is a potential reclassification candidate. If the job does open, South Carolina could make a run at alum Mike Boynton (Oklahoma State), although his buyout is prohibitive, as well as Chattanooga’s Lamont Paris.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Mississippi State

This is a job that has risen up the potential openings list pretty quickly in recent days, with a number of industry sources indicating it could open whether it’s the school or Ben Howland making the decision. Howland hasn’t been able to get it going in Starkville the same way he did at UCLA and Pittsburgh, making just one NCAA tournament appearance in his six seasons at the helm. At 16-11 (7-7 SEC) entering Wednesday night, it’s unlikely to happen this year, either. Mississippi State is arguably the most difficult job in the SEC, so the candidate pool could be interesting if the job indeed opens. Expect the likes of Tang, North Texas’ Grant McCasland and Murray State’s Matt McMahon to be linked.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Clemson

It feels like Brad Brownell has been on the hot seat in some form for seven years, even though the Tigers made the Sweet 16 in 2018 and reached the NCAA tournament last season. Brownell also signed a contract extension in October through 2026. But the latest word coming out of Clemson is it could open, with the Tigers on a six-game losing streak and tied for last place in the ACC entering Wednesday night. New athletic director Graham Neff took over in December, but he’s worked at Clemson for nearly a decade so he knows and understands the landscape. Paris and Gates could be options for this job, as well as current Furman coach Bob Richey.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Kansas State

The Wildcats have exceeded expectations this season, although a 19-point loss at Kansas on Tuesday dropped them 14-13 overall and 6-9 in the Big 12. Bruce Weber hasn’t led Kansas State to the NCAA tournament since 2019, when the Wildcats won a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. They’re just 13-38 in league play since. Weber’s buyout is $1 million and it drops to $500,000 after April 1. Weber, 65, could also opt to step down on his own. In terms of potential names if the job opens, there could be a long list. McCasland, Drake’s Darian DeVries, Wyoming’s Jeff Linder, San Francisco’s Todd Golden, Missouri State’s Dana Ford, New Mexico State’s Chris Jans and some high-major assistants have all been mentioned as possibilities.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Georgetown

This feels like the biggest mystery of the coaching carousel, as nobody seems to have a real idea as to what will happen in the nation’s capital. Patrick Ewing is in his fifth year with the Hoyas and they’re awful, sitting at 6-20 overall and 0-15 in the Big East. They’re coming off an NCAA tournament appearance that reportedly led to Ewing earning a contract extension, but they were 9-12 before the Big East tournament run. Most of the latest talk has centered on Ewing being asked to make staff changes and getting one more year to right the ship, but it’s up in the air. It’s hard to imagine Georgetown actually firing Ewing, but what if the Hoyas end up 0-20 in the Big East?


One more year?

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Butler

Butler looking around has been a rumor buzzing in the past week, with the Bulldogs struggling despite some level of preseason expectations. They’re 6-11 in the Big East after going 8-12 last season. LaVall Jordan has been to just one NCAA tournament since taking over, back in his first season — but he’s one of the coaches hurt the most by the pandemic canceling the 2020 NCAA tournament, as Butler was 22-9 and would have ended up in the 5-seed range. Thad Matta (a six-year Butler assistant and the school’s head coach for one season back in 2000-01) would be a name hovering over this job, as would former Butler guys Ronald Nored (assistant coach with the NBA Indiana Pacers) and Ryan Pedon (Ohio State assistant).

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Ole Miss

I didn’t really buy this one at first, but a handful of well-placed industry sources mentioned it to me earlier this week — so it’s one that’s clearly been gathering steam in recent days. It’s only Year 4 for Kermit Davis, who came to Oxford in 2018 after 16 seasons at Middle Tennessee. The Rebels made the NCAA tournament in Year 1 in 2019, but haven’t returned to the dance. They’re 13-14 overall this season, but just 4-10 in SEC play. Could this be an exit route for Florida’s Mike White, an Ole Miss alum, if it opens? It’s a difficult job with virtually no history, but it’s also close to a couple of big cities and is in a great college town.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Pittsburgh

When Pittsburgh hired Jeff Capel, I thought it made a lot of sense: He had success as a head coach at VCU and Oklahoma, and was maybe the best recruiter in the country as an assistant at Duke. But it hasn’t clicked with the Panthers. He was just 15-39 in ACC play in his first three seasons, and Pitt is 11-18 overall and 6-12 in the league this season. But he received a contract extension early in his tenure through 2027 and his buyout is huge (a report Wednesday placed it at $15 million after this season and $5 million after next season).. There doesn’t seem to be a huge desire on athletic director Heather Lyke’s part to make a move, and deputy AD Christian Spears just left for Marshall. One other wrinkle: If Pitt gives Capel one more year, it could also allow it to wait for the fallout on the NCAA decision concerning Sean Miller. Miller, a Pitt alum who spent a year as an assistant with the Panthers, could be the top candidate if the job opened next spring.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Arizona State

It looked like Bobby Hurley was going to be in real trouble this season, coming off an 11-14 campaign and starting this season 7-15. But all recent indications are that Hurley received a vote of confidence from athletic director Ray Anderson and is expecting to return to Tempe next season. Could he look to get out and land something else? Potentially, but there might not be many options in this cycle.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Missouri

It’s been an up-and-down five seasons in Columbia for Cuonzo Martin, but things are trending toward one more year under new athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois. The Tigers have been on a downward trajectory since the middle of last season, when they started 13-3 before losing seven of their final 10 games. And now they’re 10-18 overall and 4-11 in the SEC this season. But he’s been to two NCAA tournaments in his first four seasons. Martin’s buyout is $3 million, although it reportedly drops to $1 million on May 1.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Northwestern

After Chris Collins led Northwestern to its first NCAA tournament in 2017, he received an extension through the end of the 2024-25 season — and the Wildcats haven’t been able to get back to the dance. There have been flashes of potential, like 6-1 and 8-2 starts the past two seasons, but the excitement has consistently faded in Big Ten play. That said, Collins is still under contract for three more years and it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t think he will be back in Evanston next season.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Washington

This one seemed certain to open before the season, but looks very unlikely at this point. Mike Hopkins had a strong first two seasons in Seattle, including an NCAA tournament win over Utah State in 2019, then went 9-29 in Pac-12 play over his next two campaigns. But the Huskies have been competitive this season, starting 8-4 in league play before losing their next three games to Arizona, USC and UCLA. Hopkins has a fully guaranteed contract through 2025 and would be owed more than $9 million. For a school that just paid football coach Jimmy Lake nearly $10 million to go away, that’s significant.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

NC State

Sitting at last place in the ACC entering Wednesday night and then losing at home to Boston College, things are not going well for Kevin Keatts in Raleigh. But the injury issues in Raleigh were real this season, and this is the first time the Wolfpack will finish below .500 in the league under Keatts. They made the NCAA tournament in 2018 and would have likely made it in 2020. He’ll likely get one more year to turn it around, but the pressure is starting to mount and the buyout is considered manageable. He could also look for a soft landing at another opening.

College basketball hot seat 2022: A busy carousel possible in the SEC, and ID'ing top candidates

Stanford

Jerod Haase is about to wrap up his sixth season in Palo Alto — and his sixth season without an NCAA tournament appearance. The Cardinal haven’t been particularly bad in any season, and you can probably throw out last season due to the team playing away from home for weeks on end. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of buzz about a change being made, but still, a high-major program going six years without hearing its name on Selection Sunday is worth monitoring.


Others to keep an eye on

AAC: There’s a few jobs worth monitoring in the American. South Florida’s Brian Gregory just received an extension, although the Bulls are 16-32 overall the past two seasons, 6-22 in conference play. Frank Haith seems to constantly be on the hot seat at Tulsa, but this is his first legitimately bad season since taking over the Golden Hurricane. The Mike Anderson-to-Tulsa rumors never seem to go away, though — the St. John’s coach is a Tulsa alum who was an assistant there under Nolan Richardson. Then there’s Joe Dooley at East Carolina; the Pirates are just 14-48 in the AAC since he took over in 2018. Tim Jankovich was on the hot seat entering the season, but SMU has a real shot at making the NCAA tournament.

Atlantic 10: The A-10 job that seems to have the most buzz of late is Rhode Island, with the Rams losing nine of their past 10 games with zero NCAA tournament appearances since David Cox took over in 2018. Matt McCall at UMass is likely in trouble as well, as the Minutemen are just 5-8 in league play entering Wednesday night. One surprising opening to monitor could be Duquesne, where the whispers surrounding Keith Dambrot potentially stepping down continue to grow. The Dukes are 1-12 in conference play.

Western Kentucky: Since Rick Stansbury took over in 2016, the Hilltoppers have consistently entered seasons with plenty of talent — and expectations. But they haven’t reached the NCAA tournament in six years under Stansbury and are tied for the fifth-best record in Conference USA this season. As a result, there has been some talk about a change possibly coming to Western Kentucky. Industry sources think it’s a very good job, and there will be a long list of coaches interested in taking it over if it moves.

Marshall: Staying in Conference USA, 74-year-old Dan D’Antoni could be on retirement watch. He guided one of the most exciting teams in the country in 2018, leading the Thundering Herd to an NCAA tournament win. But they’ve steadily declined since then, dropping to 11-17 overall and 4-11 in conference play this season. Eastern Kentucky’s A.W. Hamilton, who played three seasons at Marshall in the early 2000s, is considered the favorite to take over.

Others: American, Charleston Southern, Columbia, Evansville, Incarnate Word, Lehigh, Miami (Ohio), Milwaukee, NJIT, North Florida, Omaha, UTSA, Valparaiso


High-profile names to watch

Mick Cronin, UCLA: Cronin is the wild card for Louisville. If he has real interest in the job, he should be a no-brainer hire. But he’s already led the Bruins to a Final Four, is making $4 million a year and enjoys the West Coast, by all accounts. Cronin taking Louisville could really set in motion a wild carousel.

Andy Enfield, USC: Enfield was linked very quickly with the Maryland job, given his ties to the area and his time spent in College Park getting his MBA. His name has continued to linger for the opening, too, and he’s very much a legitimate candidate.

Ed Cooley, Providence: Cooley is a national coach of the year candidate after leading the Friars to the top 10 and a potential Big East regular-season title. He’s also near the top of Maryland’s list, although most indications point to him preferring to stay at Providence — and possibly signing a lucrative deal.

Kevin Willard, Seton Hall: Willard has been mentioned with jobs for the past few cycles, but Maryland could really have some legs. He, like Enfield, was linked to the opening almost immediately and has remained in the mix. If he doesn’t get the job, could Seton Hall look to give him a new deal?

Steve Forbes, Wake Forest: Wake Forest won six games in Forbes’ first season in Winston-Salem — and the Demon Deacons are now 21-7 in his second season, squarely in the mix for the NCAA tournament. He’s won everywhere he’s been, both as an assistant and head coach, and could be a sneaky option for bigger jobs that open.

Nate Oats, Alabama: As mentioned, Maryland made overtures early in the process — and it wouldn’t be a surprise if other programs do too, given his success at Buffalo and the way he’s turned around Alabama. But his buyout is still $10.4 million and drops to $9.8 million in a few weeks.

Mike Boynton, Oklahoma State: Boynton did one of the best coaching jobs in the country last season, guiding the Cowboys to a 4-seed in the NCAA tournament led by No. 1 draft pick Cade Cunningham. They’ve fallen back to the pack this season, just 13-14 overall and 6-9 in the Big 12, but he could still be a name at South Carolina. However, his buyout is still very high after signing a lucrative new deal last April.

Rick Pitino, Iona: Pitino rumors will never die. He’s already been mentioned with the Maryland job, and he will 100% be connected to at least one or two more jobs before the carousel stops spinning. In two years at Iona, he went to the NCAA tournament and won a regular-season title and is clearly one of the best coaches of his generation. But it’s hard to take the majority of Pitino rumors too seriously.

Mike White, Florida: I honestly think White gets a bit of a bad rap from Florida fans simply because he’s not Billy Donovan. He hasn’t led the Gators to the heights of the previous regime, but he’s gone to four straight NCAA tournaments — and won at least one game in all four appearances, including the Elite Eight run in 2017. That said, Tuesday’s loss to Arkansas leaves them on the wrong side of the bubble and he’ll likely be feeling some heat next season. Could he look to get out early?

Jason Hart, G-League Ignite: Hart developed a reputation as one of the best assistant coaches on the West Coast during his time under Enfield at USC, but couldn’t land a head-coaching job. So he left to take over the G League Ignite team, and he’s impressed people who have been around the club this season. If a job opens out West this spring — or if Enfield leaves for another job — Hart will be near the top of the list.


Mid-major names to monitor

Dennis Gates, Cleveland State: Gates was linked to nearly every high-major job available last spring after guiding Cleveland State to the NCAA tournament, but returned to the Vikings and promptly won the Horizon League title again. He has high-major experience as an assistant coach under Leonard Hamilton at Florida State and will be involved with a slew of jobs again.

Niko Medved, Colorado State: Medved has had plenty of regular season success at Furman, Drake and now Colorado State — but the one thing that’s been missing from his résumé is an NCAA tournament appearance. That should change this season, as the Rams are 21-4 overall and 11-4 in the Mountain West. He’s from Minnesota, but spent a significant amount of time in the Southeast.

Matt McMahon, Murray State: The Racers have been maybe the best mid-major team in the country this season, sitting inside the top 25 at 26-2 overall and 16-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference with two games remaining. McMahon has been to two NCAA tournaments in his seven seasons, including a win over Marquette in 2019 with Ja Morant running the show.

Lamont Paris, Chattanooga: Paris’ name started buzzing among industry sources last summer as someone who could really boost his stock and get involved in high-major jobs this spring — and he now has Chattanooga atop the Southern Conference heading down the stretch. He’s been at Chattanooga for five seasons, but his seven seasons as an assistant at Wisconsin are crucial, too.

Grant McCasland, North Texas: McCasland has done a tremendous job with North Texas this season, after the Mean Green were picked sixth in the preseason Conference USA poll. They’re going to win the league after going to the NCAA tournament and beating Purdue there last season. McCasland also has high-major experience from his time at Baylor, where he was an assistant under Scott Drew from 2011 to 2016.

Mark Pope, BYU: The Cougars are struggling down the stretch of the season and will need to win some games in the WCC tournament to hear their name on Selection Sunday — but Pope’s reputation is good enough to get him in the mix regardless. He’s won at least 20 games in each of the past four seasons and he’s on track to do it again this season.

Drew Valentine, Loyola Chicago: He’s only been at Loyola Chicago for one season, but the Ramblers would be in the NCAA tournament if the season ended today. Valentine was an assistant under Porter Moser at Loyola the past four seasons and also spent time under Greg Kampe as an assistant and under Tom Izzo as a GA.

Eric Henderson, South Dakota State: Henderson has quietly been one of the most successful mid-major coaches over the past three years, winning at least a share of three consecutive Summit League regular-season titles — and now leading the Jackrabbits to a 16-0 record in conference play. He’s missing an NCAA tournament appearance, though, which could change very soon.

Todd Golden, San Francisco: Golden has a reputation in the industry as a really sharp, young coach — and after struggling last season, bounced back with 22 wins so far this season. The Dons seem poised for the NCAA tournament, too. Only 36 years old, Golden also spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Auburn.

Bashir Mason, Wagner: Mason was one of the hottest coaches in the country early in his tenure at Wagner, but then went through a couple of down seasons — before bouncing back with a 13-5 NEC record last season and a 13-1 campaign this season. Despite being in charge of the Seahawks for 10 seasons, he’s still only 38 years old.

Jeff Linder, Wyoming: Before last week’s loss at New Mexico, Linder had Wyoming inside the top 25 and on track for the Mountain West regular-season title. Given that the Cowboys were picked eighth in the preseason, that’s a wildly impressive feat. Linder has turned things around quickly in Laramie, just as he did in four seasons at Northern Colorado.

James Jones, Yale: All Jones does is win, even if he’s rarely linked to bigger jobs — with the exception of St. John’s a few years back. But Yale has a half-game lead on Princeton in the Ivy standings with two games remaining. If the Bulldogs win their final two games, it will be Jones’ fifth conference title in the past seven Ivy seasons and potentially their fourth NCAA tournament appearance over that stretch.

Bob Richey, Furman: The one thing keeping Richey below some of the other names on this list is his lack of a title, either regular season or postseason. But he won 73 games his first three seasons at Furman, finished near the top of the SoCon last season and is just behind Chattanooga in the league again this season. If he gets to the NCAA tournament, his stock could skyrocket.

Jeff Boals, Ohio: Boals was involved at Penn State last season after leading the Bobcats to the NCAA tournament and then upsetting Virginia in the first round. He has Ohio back in the conference title hunt this season, tied for first with Toledo with three games remaining. Boals has achieved head-coaching success at two different mid-majors and also has loads of experience as an assistant under Thad Matta at Ohio State.

John Becker, Vermont: At some point, Becker has to get a bigger job, right? He’s been linked with jobs for years, given his outrageous levels of success with the Catamounts. Becker has won at least a share of six straight regular-season titles in the America East and has also won four conference tournaments during his tenure.

Jared Grasso, Bryant: After developing a reputation as a terrific recruiter during his time as an assistant coach under Tim Cluess at Iona, Grasso struggled for a couple seasons as the head coach at Bryant. But he’s found his footing and has the Bulldogs on Wagner’s heels in the NEC. He’s recruiting transfers at a high level and is well-connected in the Northeast.

Others who could move: Casey Alexander, Belmont; Matt Langel, Colgate; Darian DeVries, Drake; Chris Jans, New Mexico State; Dustin Kerns, Appalachian State; Dana Ford, Missouri State; Ritchie McKay, Liberty; Preston Spradlin, Morehead State; Robert Jones, Norfolk State; Austin Claunch, Nicholls


Getting back in?

Archie Miller: Miller was one of the hottest coaches in the country after four straight NCAA tournaments at Dayton, but he didn’t get to the tournament in any of his four seasons at Indiana and was sacked last spring. His name was briefly linked to Cincinnati when it opened and it will likely be mentioned several times again this spring.

Sean Miller: As mentioned, Archie’s older brother is likely going to be the top candidate whenever Pittsburgh opens — but he’s also been linked to the Maryland job. He had plenty of success at Arizona and Xavier, but it’s unclear if any school will hire him before the NCAA reaches a decision on any potential punishments stemming from its investigation into Arizona.

Thad Matta: Matta’s name has been floating around a few coaching cycles now, including last season when he was linked to Penn State and Indiana before he became Indiana’s associate athletic director for men’s basketball administration. If he does want to get back into coaching, Butler could be a potential opening.

Steve Wojciechowski: After seven seasons with Marquette, Wojciechowski was fired last spring. He went to a pair of NCAA tournaments with the Golden Eagles, and has 15 years as an assistant at Duke under his belt. I don’t imagine he would take a job just to take a job, but his name could pop up around openings.

Steve Prohm: Prohm was fired by Iowa State last season after an 0-18 Big 12 campaign, but he did go to three NCAA tournaments in his six seasons in Ames. Before that, he was highly successful in four seasons at Murray State. He’s already been linked to Illinois State and potentially East Carolina if it opens.

Paul Hewitt: Hewitt hasn’t coached in college since 2015, when he was let go by George Mason, but there’s been some talk he’s looking to get back in. He was linked to the St. John’s job before they hired Mike Anderson. Hewitt spent 18 years as a head coach at Siena, Georgia Tech and George Mason, then joined the LA Clippers organization as a scout. He also coached their G League team last year.

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