Gillispie's departure kicks off coaching carousel
Mar 28, 2009
Before today, arguably the highest profile job available in college basketball was at the University of Virginia. Now Billy Gillispie is out as head coach of Kentucky, one of the most storied programs in college history.
Let the fun begin.
Who will be tabbed the guy to turn these tradition rich programs around?
UVa has been rumored to be very interested in University of Minnesota and former Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith. Honestly, why would Smith want to leave the Twin Cities? Currently, the Gophers play in a mediocre Big Ten conference and there is a possibility to steal a conference title here and there. He can win 20 games a year, keep a clean program, and live comfortably with little pressure until he's ready to call it quits.
Cross him off the Cavaliers' wish list.
Number two on the list is current Oklahoma head coach and former Duke guard Jeff Capel. Would he leave Oklahoma? Blake Griffin is likely gone, but he does have the nation's 12th-ranked recruiting class coming in, with every player ranked in the top 145. He can come back to the region he grew up in at a school that eats and sleeps basketball in the toughest regular season conference in the country. It will be a tough decision if he is presented this opportunity.
If he turns down a Cavs offer, who do they court next?
Maybe former N.C. State assistant and current Xavier coach Sean Miller, who has done a great job keeping the Musketeers a constant Top 25 team.
There are plenty of good big name coaches that are champing at the bit to be at a school like Virginia and a conference like the ACC.
Kentucky has an even bigger dicision. Billy Donovan has already said he is not interested in leaving Florida minutes after Gillispie was shown the door.
Anthony Grant, who was an assistant to Donovan at Florida, was more than likely a target until he recently accepted the head coaching job at Alabama.
Former Wildcat guard Travis Ford did a masterful job bringing Oklahoma State back in the national fold, just missing out on the Sweet 16 this year.
Maybe Kentucky is just crazy enough to call across state to see if Rick Pitino might want to change venues.
Stranger things have happened.
Maybe the most intriguing name that could come out of all of this is current Texas coach Rick Barnes. Just a few years ago he was formally (or informally) courted by N.C. State to be it's head coach after Herb Sendek left, but elected to stay at Texas.
It was easy for Coach Barnes to pass on the Pack seeing that Texas was already in the top tier of college basketball. With superstar Kevin Durant on the way, his Longhorns were in position to compete for Final Fours.
Now Durant is in the NBA, and the Horns are a solid program, but maybe not the elite team they were.
So Kentucky comes knocking.
Come on up to Lexington, here's 2-4 million a year to coach one of the most, if not the most, storied program in college basketball history.
Now that might be an offer he couldn't refuse.
This could be a fun offseason.