Rick Barnes time as Texas' basketball coach has come to an end. Steve Patterson has decided to move on, and now begins to look for the next head basketball coach at The University of Texas.
Let's look at a few potential candidates. I have compiled this list based on a handful of publicly available articles, and of course have liberally interjected my own opinions. I have no inside information or sources of any sort.
Gregg Marshall (Wichita State, Winthrop)
Do you want to hire a coach who has completely blown expectations out of the water at not one but two different universities? Gregg Marshall spent a decade as a D-I assistant coach, including eight seasons on the bench at the College of Charleston. When Marshall was named the head man at Winthrop he immediately transformed the program.
Prior to Marshall's arrival, Winthrop had not had a winning record in nine years, and hadn't ever made the NCAA tournament. In his first season, Marshall won 21 games and captured the Big South's NCAA tournament bid.
Marshall flat out dominated the Big South for close to a decade. During his nine seasons in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Marshall compiled a 277-194 record and went to the NCAA tournament seven times. In the eight years since he has left, Winthrop has only been back to the NCAA tournament twice.
His exploits in his eight seasons at Wichita State have received far more attention. While the Shockers had NCAA tournament success before his arrival (Mark Turgeon took the team to the Sweet 16 in 2006), Marshall has taken the program much further than previously thought possible. During his first four seasons, the Shockers racked up regular season wins, but couldn't draw an invite to the NCAA tournament. During season five, Wichita State broke through, and has been to the tournament every season since.
Of course one of those years the Shockers made the Final Four, while another year they went 35-1.
For these reasons, Gregg Marshall should be at the top of any reasonable list of coaching candidates. Including Alabama's; unless you have been living under a rock you have probably heard about Gary Parrish's report that the University of Alabama is willing to offer Marshall a bizillonty dollars to be its new head coach.
Marshall responded to these rumors by saying that he will certainly listen to Alabama, but it would take a "crazy offer" to get him to leave Wichita State.
My take is that the Alabama offer may very well turn out to be crazy enough to really test Marshall, who has generally been amazingly open and honest when it comes to discussing these issues. He likes Wichita State, he really does, but the money this time may be too much to pass on.
So if Texas wants to make a play for Marshall, it will likely involve a bidding war with Alabama. If this plays out, don't be surprised if the price gets to something in the range of $4-5MM per year.
That may sound like a lot to spend on a basketball coach for Texas fans. But if you want to make the deep pockets of the Texas Athletic Department an actual -- rather than simply a theoretical -- advantage, this is how you do it. When it comes to landing Marshall, one wonder's if Texas' best will be good enough.
Shaka Smart (VCU)
I have always been skeptical that there was a significant chance of Shaka Smart ending up at Texas. He has turned down so many jobs in recent seasons, including passing on the UCLA position two springs ago, a job which would have paid a substantial sum of money.
However, there is at least some buzz out there that I could be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time.
Texas top candidates are Gregg Marshall and Shaka Smart -- and both have heavy interest in the opening, sources told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 28, 2015
So I guess I cannot rule it out. However, this all feels somewhat familiar.
BREAKING: Media floats Shaka Smart for recently opened coaching job.— Jeff (BPredict) (@BPredict) March 28, 2015
Archie Miller (Dayton)
Let's say that Marshall isn't actually interested in leaving Wichita State. Or alternatively, let's say the price gets to high. There is no reason to panic, the 36 year old Archie Miller is a pretty good coach as well.
Being so young, Miller has only been a head coach for four seasons. If you want someone with a long track record, then Miller is probably not your guy. But if you are willing to look past that, then there is a lot to like about the Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania native.
Last season, Miller, who is the younger brother of Arizona head coach Sean Miller, and was a former assistant to both his brother and Ohio State's Thad Matta, claimed a spot in the Elite Eight. This season, he has honestly been even more impressive. After having to dismiss several players, he found himself coaching a team with no regulars taller than 6-6. That didn't stop the Flyers from winning 27 games and finishing in second place in the tough Atlantic Ten.
Miller's current contract with Dayton, which has been extended twice in the last 12 months, runs until 2022. I think the odds that he will still be coaching the Fliers in 2022 are remarkably low.
Chris Mack (Xavier)
If things don't work out with Miller, or you prefer your head coaches to be somewhat older and with substantially less hair, Chris Mack is a solid choice.
Mack is from Cincinnati, played at Xavier, and eventually became an assistant coach for the Musketeers, serving under the late Skip Prosser. When Prosser left for Wake Forest, Mack went with him. After several seasons at Wake, Mack returned home to join Sean Miller's staff at Xavier. When Miller left for Arizona, Mack was promoted to head coach.
In six seasons at Xavier, Mack has won 66 percent of his games, has five trips to the NCAA tournament, and has reached the Sweet 16 three times.
He won't be at the top of Texas' list, but the Longhorns could certainly do worse.
There is no Skyline Chili in Texas. He would get over it, I imagine(*).
(*Full disclosure: I think Skyline Chili is just OK. If I am going to eat something that unhealthy, it ought to look and taste better than it does.)
Larry Krystkowiak (Utah, Montana, Milwaukee Bucks)
Larry Krystkowiak spent 11 seasons playing professional basketball, including nine seasons in the NBA. After retiring from professional basketball, he spent several seasons as a college assistant before earning his first head coaching job with the Idaho Stampede in the CBA.
After one season coaching minor league basketball, Krystkowiak was named the head coach at Montana, his alma matter. Two years later, he joined the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant, and not long after was named the Bucks' head coach when his boss was fired.
Krystkowiak only lasted a year as the head coach in Milwaukee before he, too, was fired in 2008. He eventually resurfaced as an assistant for the New Jersey Nets in 2010, and after one year there returned to college to try to rebuild the Utah Utes.
The Utah program had fallen on hard times when Krystokowiak took over. But in his four seasons in Salt Lake City, the Utes have improved every year. This season they finally broke through, going 26-8 and making their first NCAA tournament since 2009.
Krystokowiak's teams at Utah play tough defense, and play at an extraordinarily slow pace. My preference is that Texas pass on him, if only because I will have to learn how to spell his name.
Buzz Williams (Virginia Tech, Marquette, New Orleans)
Buzz Williams was widely considered the most likely candidate to replace Rick Barnes the last time we were discussion succession plans. Look how far down the list he is now. It just goes to show that we don't know anything about anything.
Since we last discussed him, Williams has left Marquette after seven total seasons, including six as the head coach. His departure surprised everyone when he took what apparently was a substantial pay cut to move to Virginia Tech. I would imagine he would move again for the right opportunity. He is from Texas, and would likely consider the Texas job very seriously. And just in terms of pure fun, he would probably be the second best guy on this list.
Buzz Williams would have to pay Virginia Tech $7M if he took the Texas job before May 11 (if offered). The buyout goes down to $3.5M after.— Brian Goodman (@BSGoodman) March 28, 2015
Tim Miles (Nebraska, Colorado State, North Dakota State)
The most fun guy on this list would surely be Tim Miles. Approachable and forward thinking, there is a lot to like about Miles. His teams really defend, and he has had success wherever he has coached.
I applied to be the Sports Director of our Student Group for Games... totally denied - sniff sniff http://t.co/eiZRGMWNj4— Tim Miles (@CoachMiles) November 4, 2014
Michael White (Louisiana Tech)
White is another young star who's ship hasn't quite come in yet, because he hasn't yet taken his team to the NCAA tournament. You shouldn't hold that against him; it is only a matter of time.
After spending time as an assistant at Jacksonville State and Ole Miss, where he was recognized as one of the best assistant coaches and recruiters in the game, White became the head coach of Louisiana Tech in 2011.
The 38 year old White has won 27 or more games in each of his last three seasons. His teams are long and athletic, and play an exciting and up tempo style. White's brand of basketball features an aggressive, full-court switching defense that attacks opposing offenses and forces mistakes, leading to chances to score in transition. It is exceptionally disruptive, and looks like nothing else I have seen in recent college basketball.
Michael White apparently passed on the Tennessee job last year, which was then offered to Donnie Tyndall.
Ben Jacobson (Northern Iowa)
Jacobson joined the staff at Northern Iowa in 2001, and in 2006 was promoted to the head spot when Greg McDermott moved to Iowa State. He has been to the NCAA tournament three times, and his teams make Krystkowiak's Utes look like Loyola Marymount in the late 80s / early 90s.
But while Jacobson likes his basketball slow, his teams are efficient on both ends of the floor, locking down the defensive boards and protecting the basketball.
Larry Eustachy (Colorado State, Southern Mississippi, Iowa State, Utah State, Idaho)
In the year 2000, Larry Eustachy took the Iowa State Cyclones to the Elite Eight. Three years later, he was fired.
Things started unravel on April 28, 2003, when the Des Moines Register published a photograph of Eustachy partying with college kids at the University of Missouri. Over the next several days, additional stories about Eustachy emerged. On May 6, Eustachy resigned.
''I don't think I'll ever be able to apologize enough. I have no excuses for my behavior.''
-- Larry Eustachy, The New York Times, May 1, 2003.
But Eustachy earned a second chance. And he made good, following up eight successful seasons at Southern Mississippi with three more at Colorado State.
He won't be Texas' next coach, of course, but he is a pretty good coach.
Tommy Amaker (Seton Hall, Michigan, Harvard)
Tommy Amaker was once a rising star, but after failing to rebuild the Michigan basketball program quickly enough, he and his wife moved to Harvard.
Amaker has done well at Harvard; I still can't quite figure out why things didn't go better for him at Michigan.
He is one of a handful of active coaches with Duke ties who will surely be considered as replacements for Mike Krzyzewski when he retires.
Josh Pastner (Memphis)
When Peter and I looked at potential replacements for Rick Barnes two years ago, we were pretty high on Pastner.
But Pastner's most recent season in Memphis has not gone well, and he has landed himself on the hot seat. Don't be surprised if he is job jumping this spring; his name seems to show up a lot in articles discussing the Arizona State opening.
Pastner would absolutely kill as a recruiter in the state of Texas, where his connection to Houston grassroots basketball goes way back.
If Josh Pastner is named the next head coach of Texas, I will be shocked. And Tom Penders will probably go on some sort of killing spree. I don't want that, and you don't want that.
This list is not exhaustive. For those that believe that Texas may pursue an NBA coach, I haven't mentioned any here.
But going to the NBA won't be necessary. College basketball is full of good coaches, and a handful of great ones who just haven't yet been given the chance to thrive at the highest levels.
I can't tell you that the next Texas coach is on this list. But I think there is a decent chance he is.