Almost every time a big name coaching gig becomes open, the first two names that come out of people’s mouths is Gregg Marshall of Wichita State and Shaka Smart of VCU.
And while most people (actually most UT fans on social media) believe the two aforementioned names would be great for Tennessee basketball program, you have to have a backup plan if you can’t get the hot name in the coaching world.
So I decided to come up with my four ideal candidates for the Tennessee job.
Donnie Tyndall, Southern Miss
The skinny:The world was introduced to Tyndall in 2012 when his Morehead State Eagles defeated the Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA Tournament. After the departure of Larry Eustachy to Colorado State, Tyndall would be tapped as the Golden Eagles’ head man. In 2014, Southern Miss won its second Conference USA regular season title and a school record 29 wins.
Why he’s on this list: Southern Miss is one of the worst jobs in all of college basketball (crappy arena, little fan support, etc) and for a coach to eke out 29 wins at a school like Southern Miss is nothing short of a miracle. Plus Tyndall’s salary is $500,000, with a buyout of the same amount.
Chris Mack, Xavier
The Skinny: One of my favorite coaches in all of college basketball, Mack has led his alma mater to two Sweet 16s and two additional Big Dance trips.
Why hes on the list: Unlike Martin,Mack has a personality that could win over Vol fans. And if you don’t believe me, check out his Twitter feed.
The Skinny: Howland took UCLA to three straight Final Fours, which included a berth in the national title game in 2006. While the last few seasons in Westwood weren’t kind to him, Howland also rebuilt the Pittsburgh program, where he took the Panthers to a Sweet 16 appearance and two regular season Big East title.
Why he’s on this list: Howland prior to his time in Pittsburgh had never coached outside the West Coast. Despite that red mark, he made basketball matter at Pittsburgh and the seeds he planted 15 years ago can be seen today with Jamie Dixon.
Michael White, Louisiana Tech
The Skinny: The son of Duke athletic director Kevin White, the younger White led Louisiana Tech to a share of the Conference USA regular season championship in 2014 as well as back-to-back 20-win seasons.
Why he’s on this list: A former player and assistant at Ole Miss, White understands the SEC. More importantly, during his time as an assistant with the Rebels, a stretch that saw the Rebels reach the NIT Final Four twice as well as four 20-win seasons and a litany of top recruiting classes, the 37 year-old would be a perfect fit for the Vols.