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Coaching changes commence

Coaching changes commence

Coaching changes commence
By Brian Edwards

As expected, the coaching carousel has reached a full-blown sprint and the college hoops community hasn’t even made it to San Antonio yet. The dominos started to fall on April Fool’s Day with a slew of dramatic developments.

When Indiana sent Mike Davis packing two years ago, this space repeatedly suggested that Marquette’s Tom Crean was the choice to take over in Bloomington. Instead, AD Rick Greenspan made the super-sketchy decision to hire Kelvin Sampson, who had just been found guilty of NCAA rules violations at Oklahoma.

Two years later, Greenspan somehow still has a job, but Sampson has been sent packing with a $750,000 present and NCAA sanctions loom because – you guessed it – Sampson committed the exact same infractions at IU as he did at OU. Greenspan hired Crean on Tuesday, but he’s a couple of years late and only time will tell how much damage has been done to the Hoosiers program.

Crean spent nine seasons at Marquette, guiding the Golden Eagles to five NCAA Tournament appearances. He led Marquette to the Final Four in 2003 thanks to the outstanding play of Dwyane Wade.

Before looking to Crean, Greenspan was denied by Washington St. head coach Tony Bennett. According to several reports, Indiana was prepared to look at Wright St. coach Brad Brownell if Crean had opted to stay at Marquette.

With Crean on is way back to the Big 10 (he was previously an assistant for Tom Izzo at Michigan St.), a Big East job is available in Milwaukee. I would think Rick Majerus would crawl home to his alma mater where he was an assistant under Al McGuire, but that scenario is probably a fall-back option at best due to both Majerus’s age and health woes.

Don’t be surprised if Travis Ford of UMass emerges as a top candidate.

One coach that won’t be going to Marquette would be Kevin O’Neill, the former head man for the Golden Eagles, Tennessee, Northwestern and more recently on an interim basis, Arizona. However, Lute Olson made the obvious decision to send O’Neill packing after he spent the year as the Wildcats’ coach doing his thing.

What's his thing? His thing is being a jerk. I once sat behind UT’s bench at the SEC Tournament back in the early 1990s, and O’Neill made a lasting impression on yours truly.

Put it this way: He made Bobby Knight sound like a little school girl. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a coach talk in a more disrespectful and condescending fashion to his players.

The South Carolina job is off the board after the Gamecocks introduced Darrin Horn as its new coach Tuesday. Horn, who guided Western Kentucky to the Sweet 16, replaces Dave Odom.

The LSU job remains open and a decision doesn’t appear imminent. The Parker Executive Search firm has been hired by the university to conduct its search. Possible candidates include USC’s Tim Floyd (who is from the area), VCU’s Anthony Grant and Ford.

The most surprising development Tuesday was the resignation of Sean Sutton at Oklahoma St. Not a shock, but a surprise in the sense that you would think he’d get more than two years since replacing his father, Eddie Sutton.

But like Bobby Lowder at Auburn, most of the decisions involving OSU athletics are made by T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire who has donated more than $300 million to the school in recent years. In a recent feature on HBO’s Real Sports, Pickens had no qualms with indicating as much.

With that in mind, it’s a given that the Cowboys will hit the coaching market with not just the ability – but also the desire – to make their new coach the most well paid in America. In other words, everybody is in play, including Kansas coach Bill Self, who spent 11 years in Stillwater as both a player and coach.

Another possibility is Kentucky’s Billy Gillispie. Does it sound absolutely unfathomable for Gillispie – or any other coach – to leave Lexington by his own choosing after just one year? Yes, but again, we’re talking about T. Boone Pickens’ greenbacks, and lots of ‘em.

The possibilities are endless and we’re just getting started with the 2008 Coaching Carousel. Stay tuned…

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Montgomery likely to take Cal job

Mike Montgomery is headed back to college.

The former Stanford coach is expected to take the job across town and become the next Cal coach, according to sources close to the situation.

Montgomery, 61, led Stanford to a dozen NCAA tournament appearances in his tenure at Stanford from 1986-2004 — including a Final Four appearance in 1998.

He left Stanford and spent two seasons in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, where he was 68-96. Mongtomery has been out of coaching since — and has been a fixture at Stanford games.

The other candidates to replace Ben Braun were Denver Nuggets assistant Mike Dunlap, Saint Mary's head coach Randy Bennett and Nevada's Mark Fox.

Braun spent the past 12 years at Cal and compiled a 219-154 mark. The Bears were 17-16 this past season and 6-12 in the Pac-10.

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Loyola Marymount hires Bill Bayno
April 4, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) -Former UNLV basketball coach Bill Bayno took over the Loyola Marymount program Friday, leaving his position as an assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The 46-year-old Bayno will be introduced Wednesday at a news conference on campus as the successor to Rodney Tention, who resigned March 12 after guiding the Lions to a 30-61 record over three seasons. Loyola went 5-26 last season, including a 2-12 mark in the West Coast Conference.

Bayno guided UNLV to a 95-65 record and two NCAA tournament appearances as the Rebels' coach from 1995-2000. He was fired during the 2000-2001 season after allegations that he had broken rules in the recruiting of Lamar Odom in 1996 and 1997, but the NCAA cleared him of wrongdoing. He later filed a wrongful termination lawsuit and received a settlement from UNLV.

Before coaching at UNLV, Bayno spent seven years as an assistant on John Calipari's staff at Massachusetts.

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Hilltoppers set to hire McDonald

Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Western Kentucky is expected to introduce Texas assistant Ken McDonald as its new head coach Sunday afternoon, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The school has scheduled a 3 p.m. (et) news conference to announce the hiring.

The 38-year-old McDonald spent the past four seasons as an assistant at Texas and was also an assistant under Dennis Felton at Western Kentucky for five years.

McDonald replaces Darrin Horn, who led Western Kentucky to a 29-7 record this season, a Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and an appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years.Horn left WKU to take over at South Carolina.

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LSU intends to hire Stanford's Trent Johnson as basketball coach
April 10, 2008

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -LSU was expected to introduce Stanford's Trent Johnson, who led the Cardinal to the round of 16 in this year's NCAA tournament, as its new coach Thursday - the day he had been scheduled to meet with Stanford's athletic director to discuss a new contract.

The university scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference Thursday ``for a major announcement concerning the future of the LSU men's basketball program.''

Several people at LSU familiar with the selection process said Wednesday that the choice was Johnson, who is 80-48 in four seasons at Stanford. They asked to remain anonymous because the hiring was not yet official.

Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby was not immediately available for comment.

Bowlsby said Wednesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press that Johnson received permission earlier in the day to talk to LSU, but had not yet resigned.

``The position probably pays twice what ours does so I expect he feels he has to listen,'' Bowlsby wrote.

Johnson had said recently he hoped to remain at Stanford, which lost to Texas in the NCAA tournament regional semifinals, and had been slated to meet with Bowlsby on Thursday to discuss a new contract.

Stanford hired Johnson in 2004 to replace Mike Montgomery, who left for the NBA's Golden State Warriors for two seasons and last week was hired by Stanford's Bay Area rival California.

Johnson was an assistant at Stanford before going to Nevada and then returning to the Cardinal.

Stanford's twin 7-footers, Brook and Robin Lopez, announced last week they would hire agents and enter the NBA draft, forgoing their final two seasons of eligibility.

LSU went to the Final Four only three seasons ago, but failed to make the NCAA tournament in each of the past two years. The Tigers went 13-18 this season, and coach John Brady was fired during the year.

Assistant Butch Pierre took over Feb. 8 and led LSU to victories in five of its last nine games, but the Tigers lost in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

This week, LSU also likely lost one of its best players when 6-foot-10 freshman forward Anthony Randolph announced he intended to enter the NBA draft. Randolph did not immediately hire an agent, however, leaving open the possibility he could return for his sophomore season.

LSU considered a range of candidates, including Travis Ford at Massachusetts, Anthony Grant at Virginia Commonwealth and Oliver Purnell at Clemson. Ford and Purnell both withdrew from consideration Tuesday.

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