By Justin Albers (Associate Reporter Sean Bock contributed to this story)
Welcome to the coaching search, Indiana fans, a place you haven’t been for men’s basketball since 2008. How are you enjoying the rampant speculation so far?
Ever since Indiana parted ways with Tom Crean on Thursday, people have floated out names of potential replacements. Reporters have asked some of those potential replacements about the opening, and as you might expect from people trying to coach their current teams, the responses haven’t told us a whole heck of a lot.
Everybody seems to have an opinion about what direction Indiana athletic director Fred Glass should go in this coaching search, and it’s become increasingly evident that, regardless who Glass hires, it will be at least a somewhat polarizing decision.
There have been many differing opinions regarding UCLA’s Steve Alford over the last week, and when Virginia struggled in a 65-39 loss to Florida on Saturday night, we saw the same type of disagreement about Tony Bennett.
Fred, I certainly don’t envy you here. Best of luck.
Now that Illinois has hired former Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood (I nearly called him Frank), and N.C. State has hired former UNC Wilmington coach Kevin Keatts, here’s a look at an updated list of candidates.
They are listed in order as if I was tasked with doing the interviews and making the selection. Of course I am not tasked with such things, so the following is strictly my opinion and nothing more than that.
I do, of course, care what you think as well, so share your thoughts and your own personal wish list in the comments section of this post.
Many of you have already shared your opinion on Twitter, where I posted a poll on Saturday night. (Click here to vote.) Below is a look at the results as they stand as of Sunday afternoon.
[NOTE: Yes, I have adjusted my wish list a bit from my previous four, deciding to move Mike White and Sean Miller ahead of Archie Miller. I have also scratched Fred Hoiberg from my wish list after a closer examination of his recruiting history.
One more quick note: We have confirmed that Indiana has hired Parker Executive Search to assist in filling the open coaching vacancy (first reported by WDRB’s Rick Bozich). Glass said it was possible IU would hire a search firm, which can be helpful in keeping things from leaking out. But it could also signal that Glass wasn’t able to get the guy he initially wanted. Of note — IU also used Parker Executive during a search that resulted in the hiring of Kelvin Sampson.]
*= Still TBD in this year’s NCAA Tournament
1. Billy Donovan
- Age: 51
- Current Job: Oklahoma City Thunder
- Record with Thunder: 95-56
- Record as Head Coach: 597-262
- Record in NCAA Tournament: 35-12
- Sweet Sixteens: 8
- Elite Eights: 7
- Final Fours: 4
- National Championships: 2
- Previous Jobs: Florida (1996-2015), Marshall (1994-1996), Kentucky (Assistant, 1989-1994)
- Salary: $6 Million
- Current Contract: 5-year, $30 Million through 2020
- Current Status: Regular Season and likely Playoff bound with Thunder
Why It Makes Sense: Donovan is a terrific coach that had the highest level of success at the collegiate level when he won back-to-back national championships with Florida in 2006 and 2007. If he’s looking to get back into the college game — which I don’t know that he is — Indiana would be an opening that makes sense.
This of course all depends on whether Donovan is OK with coaching a player in Russell Westbrook that doesn’t really see the need for a coach. The Thunder are a good but not great team, and they have no real chance of competing with the best teams in the Western Conference for the foreseeable future unless they pull off some sort of major deal. Donovan took the Thunder job to coach Kevin Durant, and Durant currently resides in the Bay Area.