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What to Expect for the 2011 College Coaching Changes

Category: College Basketball Coaching News, Editorial

If you’ve been keeping track of the 2011 College Basketball Coaching Carousel, it is as it is each year, a case of a number of coaches peacocking for the next head job.

For this year, here are a few things to keep an eye on:

* Billy Gillispie: after leaving UK, this will be the year he will be back. Despite talk of Arkansas and Oklahoma, expect BCG to sign-on at Texas Tech as early as this week. Oklahoma and Arkansas both want/need clean image coaches and sadly, that would exclude Gillispie right now in the public eye.

* NC State Aiming High: You’ll find a number of coaches listed for the NC State position. And most of those are big names. I’ve been told from a reliable source that it’s a virtual lock that one of the coaches we have listed will be the next NC State coach.

* Todd Lickliter will likely make a return this year. He’s already reached out to Florida Gulf Coast University. But you can expect him to also aim higher for jobs in his old Horizon footprint such as Bradley, Northern Illinois and Loyola.

* Mid-West Openings: You’ll likely find over the next week or two, that many of the same candidates for Bradley, NIU and Loyola jobs, will also be speaking with representatives from the other schools. in the end, don’t be surprised to see the same names for say, the Bradley job, all in new head coach positions at Bradley, NIU and Loyola. Ray Giacoletti is a name to watch too. The current Gonzaga assistant might be in play for his old job at EWU, but as a Peoria native, his next head coaching job could come at Bradley or NIU. If a guy like Dana Fife, the head coach at IPFW got one of the jobs, then those same candidates would trickle down for the IPFW job.

* Florida Openings: FGCU has already discussed their position with a number of candidates. And a large number have already reached out to FGCU about their interest. One real interesting name is Richard Pitino, a Florida assistant. Each aspiring head coach needs that first opportunity…for his father, it was Boston University. With Pitino already working in Florida, FGCU could get a gem in Pitino. Stetson is the other Florida job right now. Expect the same candidates interested in FGCU to show interest in Stetson.

* The Buzz on Buzz Williams: Buzz is a hot commodity this year. He’ll be in play either as a top option or a fall-back for a number of jobs, seemingly in the Southwest. He’d be an option for Texas Tech after Gillispie, but Buzz can do better. If Arkansas can’t land the big fish they want (Mike Anderson, Tubby Smith), Buzz could be the next option. He will likely be even higher on the list at Oklahoma which could be facing secondary sanctions.

* Mike Dunlap looks to have some opportunities to be a head coach again. After a stellar year at St. Johns, as part of the coaching “dream team” (Lavin, Keady, Dunlap), Dunlap is on the radar for some MWC jobs. Right now it appears that departing school, Utah, will go after higher profile names like Randy Bennett, Trent Johnson (current at LSU), but if both were to pass, Dunlap could join a group with coaches like Blaine Taylor or ODU. But Dunlap should be a favorite for the Frenso St. and Wyoming jobs in the MWC. The right coach could build a quality program to replace the departing BYU.

* Georgia St.: There’s a lot of buzz on this job. It might not seem ideal as Georgia St. has a reputation as a “commuter school”. But it’s location in Altanta and membership in the CAA make it an attractive option. High profile coaches like John Calipari have recently praised the job as a great opportunity. Perhaps the school will use that recommendation to approach some current or former Calipari assistants to interview.

* Time to Take a Dip: There are 3 jobs open right now in Georgia with Georgia Tech, Georgia St. and Kennesaw St. Georgia Tech will likely aim high with it’s eyes on some high profile coaches. But Georgia St. and especially Kennesaw St. would be wise to give current Augusta St. coach Dip Metress some serious consideration. Metress has been on the radar before for D1 jobs. The guy knows the state, knows how to win, and is ready to make the jump to Division 1.

* Tales of Tubby: Yes, he’s happy at Minnesota. Yes, he’d stay there forever. But there are a number of schools with some level of interest in Tubby Smith right now. You couldn’t blame him for leaving for NC State, Georgia Tech or Arkansas. One could argue that even Oklahoma would be worth exploring.

* Northeast Mid-Majors: And by Northeast, I mean the region. A number of interesting openings. You have Monmouth in the talent rich state of New Jersey. There’s already a long list of coaches interested in the job. Manhattan is another one that has proven to be good job. A number of coaches there have parlayed a strong Manhattan job into a high major gig (Steve Lappas to Villanova, Bobby Gonzalez to Seton Hall). Colgate of the Patriot League is another job that has opened up recently.

* Not Cool on Cooley: in past years, a coach like Ed Cooley would have a few options in the northeast. But with so many coaching changes made just last year (BC, St. Johns, Seton Hall, Rutgers), Providence is the only real option for Ed Cooley. He’s speaking with them and is presumably the top candidate.

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