One of the best jobs in all of college basketball has opened — Indiana — now that the school has announced the firing of Tom Crean after nine seasons. Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement Thursday that he will not be hiring a search firm but rather he plans to “consult with basketball experts from around the country and throughout the State of Indiana, including many former Indiana University basketball players."
Here’s some (unsolicited) advice for Glass to look at:
1. Virginia’s Tony Bennett: Not sure if he’d leave because he’s got a great thing going in Charlottesville, but Bennett is one of the premier coaches in the nation — with such a unique and effective defensive system. In the past three seasons, he’s taken the Cavaliers to the Sweet 16, Round of 32 and the Elite Eight. Bennett has elevated Virginia back up to that of the nation’s elite, and he’d be a terrific choice for Indiana, which wants to do the same. Reports are that Illinois also is coming hard after Bennett.
2. UCLA’s Steve Alford: If former players are going to be consulted in this search, that means Indiana remains at least somewhat interested in staying inside the family for this hire. If that’s the case, Alford will likely get a long look. He took UCLA to two Sweet 16s in his first two seasons, and he has a national championship-caliber team headed into the NCAA tournament this year. We know he can handle the pressure that comes with a job like this, and he can recruit the caliber of players a school like Indiana needs. The big question here would be his sizable UCLA buyout.
3. Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall: Marshall’s name comes up every year whenever there are openings for bigger jobs, and so far, he’s stayed in Wichita every time — with a salary that reflects how in-demand he is. Marshall has taken the Shockers just about as high as they can go — to the Final Four, to an undefeated regular season. What’s left? Sure, there’s something to be said about being happy where you are and building something consistent and lasting. And Marshall is quite happy in Wichita. But if ever there was a time to leave … it’s for a blueblood, like Indiana.
4. Butler’s Chris Holtmann: He’s not as big a name as some of the others on this list, but he’s one of the best coaches in the game right now. He took the reins of the Butler program rather abruptly after former head coach Brandon Miller’s medical leave in 2014, and has kept the Bulldogs in the national conversation, building off what Brad Stevens did before he left for the NBA. Holtmann’s 2016-17 Butler team just finished off the greatest regular season in program history, which earned them a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament and included two wins against No. 1 overall seed and defending national champion Villanova.
5. Dayton’s Archie Miller: Another name that comes up on just about any coaching wish list you see these days. And it’s another coach that hasn’t left the mid-major level because he’s built something great, something sustainable, in a community he loves. But, again, this isn’t a random mid-level ACC or SEC job that’s open here. It’s Indiana.
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