Men's Basketball Potential Coaching Candidates Profiled

After the initial big discussion of who would be realistic candidates to replace JJ, I decided to go a little more in depth on each of the candidates. I am going to break these down into two groups. The first group will be what I would refer to as Premium Options, this is the group that I expect will take at least $2 million annually to hire as a coach. The second group will be the Realistic Options, those that we could hire in the $900,000 to $1.5mil range. All salaries are as best I could determine as publication is scarce on several of these candidates. This should give everyone a better idea of who these candidates are beyond the initial discussion and it will be right at the top for people to access the information rather than having to dig way down into that post. These coaches are all proven winners with clean programs that have brought mid major programs to the forefront and had success in developing talent with every day hard work. They are in no particular order inside either group.


Buzz Williams
Current Position: Head Coach, Marquette
Years as Head Coach: 7 Years (Marquette, New Orleans)
Record: 153-86 (78-49)
Last Four Years: 92-47 (46-27)
Current: 17-15 (9-9)
Years Coaching: 24 Years (Navarro CC, Oklahoma City, Texas-Arlington, Texas A&M Kingsville, Northwestern State, Colorado State, Texas A&M, New Orleans, Marquette)
Played at College/Pro Level: None
Tournament: 5 NCAA (1 Elite Eight)
Current Salary: $2.8 Million
Recruiting Focus: His focus seems to be the traditional basketball setup. Smaller, fast guards, lanky swing players for the small forward and big solid players for the four and five positions.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Williams focuses his offense on hard lane play by his big men. He expects all of his lane players to be able to create a shot once catching the ball with their back to the basket. This requires finding big men with the ball handling skills to be trusted to put it on the floor and guards capable of the outside shot to prevent teams from crashing the lane.
Defense: Williams uses quite a few zone sets to force opponents to take bad shots. It requires his guards to be extremely quick to the open man and transition well on screens. His other focus is playing transition defense to prevent easy fast break points for the opponents.

Anthony Grant
Current Position: Head Coach, Alabama
Years as Head Coach: 8 Years (Alabama, VCU)
Record: 170-83 (87-39)
Last Four Years: 86-52 (39-27)
Current: 9-10 (3-3)
Years Coaching: 20 Years (Stetson, Marshall, Florida,)
Played at College/Pro Level: Forward, Dayton
Tournament: 3 NCAA, 3 NIT
Current Salary: $1.9 Million
Recruiting Focus: He currently focuses almost entirely on the south, half of his roster is from the state of Alabama. Does not seem to have any local players on his current roster which is surprising with the time he spent at VCU. I would have expected him to have better in-roads in this area than he appears to.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Could not determine a set offense for Alabama under Grant
Defense: For the third time in as many years, Grant's squad displayed an aggressive, disruptive and disciplined style that resulted in one of the top defenses in the nation during 2012-13. Alabama led the SEC in conference games with 9. 1 steals per game while ranking second in the league and 18th nationally in scoring defense, holding the opposition to 58.4 points per game. The Tide held 24 of 36 opponents below 60 points during the 2012-13 season.
Academic: Grant's teams have been just as successful in the classroom, with his 2009-10 and 2011-12 teams posting a perfect 1,000 score in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR). Five of Grant's teams have achieved that feat and the program boasts an average APR score of 985 during his tenure.

Mike Lonergan
Current Position: Head Coach, George Washington
Years as Head Coach: 21 Years (GW, Vermont, Catholic University)
Record: 413-197 (214-81)
Last Four Years: GW: 23-38 (12-20) Vermont 48-19 (25-7)
Current: 15-3 (3-1)
Years Coaching: 25 Years (American International, Colgate, Maryland)
Played at College/Pro Level: Point Guard, Catholic University
Tournament: 1 NCAA, 2 NIT, 1 CBI, 9 NCAA Div III Playoffs (2000 Division III National Champion)
Current Salary: Undisclosed, Est. $1.5-$1.8 mil per year, Signed until 2016
Recruiting Focus: He played high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and has many ties to the DC area in regards recruiting. Now he is using it to recruit to a local team for a change. He also has brought in several high profile international players but the majority of his roster comes from Maryland, Virginia and the District.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Flex Offense, Almost run and gun, High focus on Big men rebounding on the offensive end.
Defense: High tempo, in your face defense looking to create mistakes

Greg McDermott
Current Position: Head Coach, Creighton
Years as Head Coach: 20 Years (Creighton, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State, Wayne State)
Record: 364-230
Last Four Years: Creighton: 80-30 (37-17) Iowa State 15-17 (4-12)
Current: 18-3 (8-1)
Years Coaching: 25 Years (North Dakota)
Played at College/Pro Level: Northern Iowa
Tournament: 5 NCAA, 1 CBI
Current Salary: $1,369,949 Signed until 2020
Recruiting Focus: His focus seems to be on Iowa as he spent quite some time there as a coach, so the Creighton roster is made up of five Iowa players. The rest of his current roster is scattered across the country so he appears to have the flexibility to go after the players he feels best fit his style of play.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Runs a strictly set play half court offense for the most part. Very methodical and clock consuming.
Defense: High pressure man to man defense, rarely if ever switches to a zone set. Creating turnovers and altering shots are a big focus.

Shaka Smart
Current Position: Head Coach, VCU
Years as Head Coach: 5 Years
Record: 127-41 (54-21)
Last Four Years: 110-37 (49-20)
Current: 17-4 (5-1)
Years Coaching: 14 Years (California (PA), Dayton, Akron, Clemson, Florida)
Played at College/Pro Level: Point Guard, Kenyon College
Tournament: 3 NCAA, CBI Champion 2010
Current Salary: $1.5 million, signed through 2028
Recruiting Focus: While VCU has benefited from recent runs in the NCAA, Shaka still recruits primarily close to home. Almost three quarters of the current roster comes from the District, Maryland and Virginia while the rest of the team is all from the East Coast. He focuses on lanky speed players that fit his system of play.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Transition offense when creating turnovers, set plays feature high guard screens allowing the ball handler to penetrate the lane to create layups or open shots for big men.
Defense: HAVOC, featuring full court press and press after made baskets, last two years they have ranked 1st nationally in Steals per game and turnover margin.

Gregg Marshall
Current Position: Head Coach, Wichita State
Years as Head Coach: 16 Years (Winthrop)
Record: 355-153 (179-66)
Last Four Years: 111-33 (54-18)
Current: 22-0 (9-0)
Years Coaching: 28 Years (Randolph-Macon, Belmont Abbey, College of Charleston, Marshall)
Played at College/Pro Level: None
Tournament: 9 NCAA, 2 NIT, 1 CBI 2010 NIT Champion
Current Salary: $1.75 Million under contract until 2020
Recruiting Focus: Marshall recruits nationally and focuses a high amount of his effort on prep school prospects to bring in talented kids that dont get picked up at premier Division 1 schools.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Runs primarily all his plays using the Triangle stack originally created at UCLA. His offense requires precision passing and the ability to take the open shot.
Defense: 50 Gap Defense is designed to clog the middle of the court and force outside shots with a hand in their face.

All of these guys would be a big improvement but are going to cost about $2 mil to $2.5 mil a year to bring in, so if Babcock can swing that, then I am all for these guys getting interviewed.


Danny Manning
Current Position: Head Coach, Tulsa
Years as Head Coach: 2 Years
Record: 38-28 (21-11)
Last Four Years: 38-28 (21-11)
Current: 21-12 (13-3)
Years Coaching: 10 Years (Tulsa, Kansas)
Played at College/Pro Level: Power Forward, Kansas (1988 Natl Champ)/Seven NBA teams over fifteen years
Tournament: CBI, NCAA
Current Salary: Undetermined
Recruiting Focus: Manning has an advantage recruiting big men due to his career/coaching past. He seems to favor a fast paced team though in coaching Tulsa so far with a real focus on guards with the ability to shoot and pass. Seems to especially like slightly taller guards to allow 1-on-1 mismatch from the guard position.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Ball Screen Offense, very Guard play intensive
Mannings offense revolves around these points:
getting around the edge
splitting the defense
beating a trap
refusing a ball screen
two dribble finishes
Defense: Essentially a reverse of his offensive strategy, Manning expects his guards to play man to man defense with the ability to beat screens. High intensity defense that forces a significant number of turnovers leading to the fast break transition on offense.

Steve Pikiell
Current Position: Head Coach, Stony Brook
Years as Head Coach: 9 years
Record: 140-151
Last four years: 84-45 (49-15)
Currently: 15-6 (7-0)
Years Coaching: 22 years (UConn, Yale, Wesleyan, Central Connecticut, George Washington)
Played at College/Pro Level: Point Guard, UConn
Tournament: 3 NIT appearances in last four years.
Current Salary: Undisclosed, signed extension in 2012 to coach until 2017-18 season
Recruiting Focus: Most of his roster is second tier talent from the NY/NJ market which is where Stony Brook is located. He has some ties to the DC and Richmond area and pulled at least one guard out of there this last year. He also was in the mix for several of the big talents coming out of DC the last couple of years but ultimately couldn't steal them from some big name programs.
Basketball Style/Info:
Offense: Pikiell emphasizes the importance of key ideas like spacing, ball reversal, post touches and shot selection. He uses a specialty zone offense that puts players in constant motion and keeps the knockout player just one pass from the ball.
Defense: 2-2-1 defense, which features three simple components-no middle, no lay-ups, good defense. Teaching and practicing these key concepts eliminates game-day guesswork and over-thinking. In 2012 the Seawolves had the nation's sixth-best field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot only 37.8 percent, and the nation's 13th best scoring defense at 57.5 points allowed per game. Pikiell's squad held teams under 50 points seven times during the year, including allowing only 37 points to Hartford. He is also huge on his team being able to rebound the ball effectively, as they were 8th in the country in rebounding margin.

Derek Kellogg
Current Position: Head Coach, UMass
Years as Head Coach: 6 years
Record: 102-80 (41-45)
Last Four Years: 73-59 (30-34)
Current: 17-2 (4-1)
Years Coaching: 16 years (George Mason, Youngstown State, Memphis)
Played at College/Pro Level: Point Guard, UMass
Tournament: 2 NIT Appearances in last three years
Current Salary: $665,000 signed through 2017
Recruiting Focus: His current roster has kids from all over the country so it seems he goes after the talent that fits his system regardless of where they are as long as they contribute what he needs. Texas and the NY/NJ area seem to be his core but he has players from Seattle to Miami. He began coaching at George Mason so has ties to the DC market, he also took in Donte Clark, who committed to Tech before he failed to qualify, showing some similarity in player type between JJ and Kellogg. UMass currently have two players from the DC market on their roster.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Up Tempo, Dribble Drive Motion offense
Defense: P.A.I.N. Pressure Agitate Interrupt Neutralize, Diamond full court press

Randy Rahe
Current Position: Head Coach, Weber State
Years as Head Coach: 7 Years
Record: 155-78 (102-27)
Last Four Years: 98-36 (56-12)
Current: 10-6 (7-1)
Years Coaching: 25 Years
Played at College/Pro Level: Point Guard, Buena Vista
Tournament: 1 NCAA Appearance, 2 NIT Appearances, 1 CIT and 1 CBA
Current Salary: $275,000 (Private Money not included) signed deal in 2011 to stay until 2019
Recruiting Focus: mostly a West Coast/Texas guy so he would need to make in roads, but that's where your assistant coach hires become abundantly important. Half his current roster is from Texas.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Pick and Roll movement offense. In 2012, Wildcats were the best shooting team in the country, finishing first in the nation in field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage. The Cats also finished in the top 10 in the nation in four other categories and were one of just eight teams in the nation to win 30 games during the season.
Defense: "Be hard to score on and rebound the ball," said Rahe. effort, defense, rebounding Multiple look defenses

Donnie Tyndall
Current Position: Head Coach, Southern Miss
Years as Head Coach: 9 Years (Southern Miss, Morehead State, St Catharine College)
Record: 189-102 (87-45)
Last Four Years: Southern Miss: 27-10 (12-4) Morehead State: 57-35 (38-14)
Current: 18-3 (5-1)
Years Coaching: 24 Years (Iowa Central, Morehead State, St Catharine, LSU, Idaho, Middle Tennessee)
Played at College/Pro Level: Guard, Morehead State
Tournament: 2 NCAA, 1 NIT, 1 CBI, 1 National Junior College Tournament
Current Salary: $500,000 plus incentives. On contract until 2018
Recruiting Focus: has NYC on lock down, and draws almost half his roster from that talent rich environment which is hard to picture as he gets them to go down to Southern Miss, so I have to believe he could sell the same kids on Blacksburg if he needed to. He is also really good at identifying incoming foreign talent and getting them through the qualification challenges.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Mis-direction Double Set Plays. Slow, methodical offense.
Defense: You cant win if you cant score. In 2012, Southern Miss was top 10% of all schools in points allowed per game. So much of defense is just effort and toughness, and we demand that, Tyndall said. We dont have great size, but our depth and our press wears on teams. Defense is something you can control. Defense is effort, and youll find that our teams are always going to give great effort.

Tod Kowalczyk
Current Position: Head Coach, Toledo
Years as Head Coach: 12 Years (Toledo, Green Bay)
Record: 189-172 (94-92)
Last Four Years: Toledo: 38-58 (18-30) Green Bay 22-13 (11-7) Tough first year at Toledo going 4-28.
Current: 15-2 (3-1)
Years Coaching: 25 Years (Minnesota-Duluth, New Hampshire, Saint Anselm, Rider, Rutgers, Marquette)
Played at College/Pro Level: Guard, Minnesota-Duluth
Tournament: 2 CBI, 1 CIT
Current Salary: $370,000 signed through 2018
Recruiting Focus: focuses primarily on his talent rich backyard in Ohio, but has made some in roads in the last couple years to Maryland and DC.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Fusion Offense = Attacking Ball Screen Motion offense. His players are rarely standing around on the court which would be a welcome change from JJ.
Defense: Statistical analysis and preparation for every game but doesnt seem to have a preset defense Each point scored is assigned to a Toledo player, falling into categories such as mental discipline, transition, or poor position. Nine of Detroits 75 points were the result of well-executed offense rather than poor defense.
Academic: The Rockets also have displayed significant academic improvement under Kowalczyk. The teams most recent Academic Progress Rate figure was 959 with an expected mark of 981 for the 2012-13 season. The Rockets also posted a 2.982 team grade-point average in the 2013 spring semester.

Greg Lansing
Current Position: Head Coach, Indiana State
Years as Head Coach: 4 Years
Record: 72-48 (36-26)
Last Four Years: 56-44 (29-25)
Current: 16-4 (7-1)
Years Coaching: 23 Years (South Dakota, Indiana State, Iowa)
Played at College/Pro Level: Guard, South Dakota
Tournament: 1 NCAA, 1 NIT, and 1 CIT in four years.
Current Salary: $219,000 signed through 2017
Recruiting Focus: focuses on his backyard, bringing in Indiana and Illinois (Chicago) talent to bolster his roster but he does have kids from outside this zone, spread from Florida to Canada. Doesn't seem to have much in the way of local connections though.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Continuity ball screen offense to constantly have players in motion and exploit weaknesses in transition defense.
Defense: Shell Drill Defense or Box and One to protect the perimeter and make driving the basketball difficult.

Tommy Amaker
Current Position: Head Coach, Harvard
Years as Head Coach: 17 Years (Michigan, Seton Hall)
Record: 303-207 (131-119)
Last Four Years: 90-29 (45-11)
Current: 15-3 (2-0)
Years Coaching: 25 Years (Duke)
Played at College/Pro Level: Guard, Duke
Tournament: 3 NCAA, 7 NIT, and 1 CIT 2004 NIT Champions
Current Salary: $775,000 signed through 2018 (Turned down Miami $1.1 mil/5 Year offer in 2011)
Recruiting Focus: Recruits nationally, has a genuine challenge in finding athletes that are capable of meeting Harvards admission requirements as part of his recruiting needs. Focus is on extremely athletic players in the 1-3 spots and solid ball control and shooting skills in his 4-5 spots to run his offense. A native of Falls Church, Va., Amaker began his career in college basketball with a highly successful playing stint at Duke so he has plenty of local ties.
Basketball style/info:
Offense: Inside-Out Big Man Presence drives his offense, very focused on solid in the paint contributors to create opportunities on the floor.
Defense: Highly aggressive, extremely physical defense contesting every shot, his players are usually capable of defending multiple positions on the court.
Family: Married to Stephanie Pinder Amaker and I see no mention of children at this point.

As you can see from their profiles above, there are quite a few similarities between the coaches so I went ahead and placed them into a spreadsheet to make comparisons easier.

This first spreadsheet will show you how they stack up in career wins from top to bottom.

As you can see, Mike Lonergan has the most wins far and away, but he also has the most experience. Gregg Marshall this year has his team out to a 22-0 start but almost every candidate on this list has their team in a solid position to compete for an NCAA berth except for Alabama.

The second spreadsheet shows how these coaches stack up in terms of salary to get an idea of what its going to cost to bring our next coach in. Hopefully this summary is helpful. There are two salaries that say zero because I was unable to find a reliable source on what these gentlemen are making.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


Shaka can be stricken off this list in my opinion. I understand why his name comes up all the time, but there's no way we'd have the money for him. Regardless, Tech is a step down for him from VCU anyways. I don't see him as the type of coach to want a "project" and turn teams around. It's Duke/UNC/Kansas/etc. or bust for him.

I agree with you completely that he is highly unlikely. I included him and the other premium guys on the list because they were brought up by multiple people on the other thread. Just giving people more info to work with. Shaka may not even leave for one of those jobs unless he can recreate the VCU magic run around the time one of those jobs is opening up. The darling tag only lasts for so long before people want you to prove it again

I'm not so sure it would be total rebuild for Shaka at VT. I think JJ has recruited a lot of guys that could fit his system. Van Zegren and Thompson are tall lanky centers that can run well. Emelogu and Devin Wilson are both tall and quick guys, Wilson fitting almost perfectly. Smart would have a lot of work to do on teaching defense, we don't seem to know what that is at this point.

That being said, I can't imagine we could get him. Would be great though.

Do you believe it was true that Weaver "interviewed" Shaka in 2011? (I know interviewed could mean that we spoke to his agent and he expressed interest)

I think interviewed might be a stretch of that word. Do I believe Weaver probably at least called to ask? Sure, but that may be as far as it went.

Great read! I know we won't have the next Coach K coming to Tech, but out of all of the coaches listed, who has the best fit/ could create the best turn around?

VT 2016
Go Hokies

For immediate results, I think Kellogg has the coaching style most likely to maximize our current roster and bring excitement back to Cassell. Long term if they could get Tyndall or Lonergan I think they are probably the best coaches on this list.

If the Hokies could get Shaka Smart to come to Blacksburg, I would personally cut down all of the 300 yr old trees in Stadium Woods and use them to build a glorious house for him to live in on the Drill Field.

Leonard. Duh.

I will supply him with hot turkey legs for each meal.

ill help in the design


i nominate ltrepeter2000 as our official hoops columnist. great research, great write up, and great effort. i got nothing to add besides great work!

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

I agree. Lt. Peter has the desire, interest and knowledge of the game-and our team to become a great point person for men's bball. This forum topic took some time and planning. Thanks for the read! However, I will add my two cents; I don't think a coaching change will happen in 2014. I really think Babcock gives him a full yr to prove himself. That being said, the coaching landscape will change dramatically between now and then, and who knows where we'll be. I do like the Marshall hire though...he graduated from Cave Spring in Roanoke, and I think this job would be a huge attraction for him--and us.

If it ain't orange, it better be maroon...and if it ain't maroon, it better be soon!

Thanks for the positive feedback guys, I believe there already is an official basketball guy for TKP, but that wont keep me from continuing to contribute pieces like this.

The one thing that makes me lean towards JJ going this year as opposed to next is the failure to compete in conference. In my look at the candidates above, I was surprised to see that several of them struggled early on (first two years) at their schools overall. The big difference for many of them was that they struggled in their non conference schedule, where as mid majors they had to play all their "get paid" games versus Top 25 opponents. They did however seem to be able to compete in their conference right from the beginning. Now the talent level of their conferences versus the ACC is dramatically different so I didn't expect JJ to beat Duke, North Carolina, Pitt, or Syracuse. I do however expect this team to keep games against the bottom half of the conference competitive, which they have not necessarily been able to do.

I think having Eric Green last year really hurt the team as a whole, because they had the ultimate out on the offensive side of the ball, rather than being forced to develop their own shot and consistently run an actual team offense. That setback can be seen in how poorly JVZ is on the block, Marshall Wood is at the 15 foot jumper and even in how inconsistent Jarell Eddie and Cadarian Raines play is. None of these guys were ever forced to work team basketball and all find a way to consistently contribute because they knew Green was going to go for 25 points every night.

Will it kill me if Babcock decides to bring JJ back for another year? No, we have survived worse in both the football program (Newsome) and basketball in general. JJ isn't a bad guy and in all his other positions seemed like a rising star but the burden of replacing the talent that left this program (ten players at last count in the last two years), missing out on two of his guys he recruited for this year (Mueller sitting out and Clark going to UMass when he didn't qualify) and then the massive injury bug he has dealt with this year has proven too much to overcome.

Is it a lot to ask of a second year head coach in the ACC? Absolutely, but that's why the ACC is so good at basketball. You have to be able to at least remain remotely competitive even through this adversity. The finer point of how he has managed players and the lack of preparation for certain games, no matter who is going to be on the court really put the stamp on it for me. I hope that Babcock looks it over and makes what he thinks is the right decision for Tech. I will give Babcock the benefit of the doubt whichever way he decides to go.

I agree. I realize the position that Babcock is in right now, and he has to toe the "we're not changing just for change's sake" line here, but if there was ever a time to change for the sake of change, it is now with this team.
When you look at their last 4-5 games, there is NOTHING on the film that points positive. Shooting is poor, shot selection is poor, no off-ball movement on offense, and the defense is timid at best. Psychologically, this team is whipped. The bench looks like a funeral parlor from start to finish at every game. That part kills me the most. When I go to games I want to see these kids having or lose.

Leonard. Duh.

Everything you said here is spot on. I can remember Deron Washington jumping over a chair on the bench back in the heyday when the team hit a big three. Hardly ever see these guys bouncing around or looking anxious to get in the game. As was suggested in another post, the team might need a week off from the grind to try to find some mojo because right now there isn't much working.

All I can say is great work, that takes a lot of time and effort to put that together. Good research no matter what happens.

Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hy!
Tech, Tech, VPI

What about some VT Assistant Coaches? Any of those guys good enough to replace JJ? I kid.

Gregg Marshall is from Greenwood SC (near Clemson), and attended Roanoke (HS), Randolph-Macon, and Richmond. He probably has local family and ties that could make VT "stay-put" draw.


This was a really great read, thank you.

I think all of your "reach" candidates are exceptionally unlikely to come here. We can't afford them, and we can't really offer them a better situation than what they have where they're at.

Out of the realistic candidates, I like the GW guy and the SMU guy.

That's why they're a "reach". Fun to speculate about, but definitely unrealistic.

I think its hard to say what we can and can't afford because we have a new sherriff in town.

Step 1 could/should be saying: "We're going to pay a basketball coach around the median for ACC coaches." That's probably $1.7M per by the time 2014/15 rolls around.

Any of those reach guys are going to require $2m+ to come here. Shaka turned down $2m from Illinois.

Frank Beamer makes $2.3m, We're not going to pay any basketball coach that close to what we pay frank beamer. Not right out of the gate, it's just not going to happen.

The good news is most of those secondary coaches should probably jump at the chance to make 750k to 1 mil.

Nice work Rob. I hope you don't mind me using your first name from your signature.
With my link restrictions at work I can't see the spreadsheets, so I'm commenting based on the verbiage for each coach you listed.

From this list here's what I see:

If we are willing to spend #2M annually:

If were only willing to spend about $800k to $1M:

So, the next question is: Would any of these guys leave their present job if VT offered the money? Yes the ACC is a draw, but what's their family situation? Is the situation in five years with Cassell a negative? Other intangibles?

You're the man that may know some of this as well. Thanks!!

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Lonergan and his wife, Maggie have five children (Jack, Margaret, Michael Jr., Robert (Moe) and Regina) but I cant verify the ages. He is 48, so they are likely high school/college age but its tough to guess on a coach's schedule. George Washington was reportedly a dream job because it put him back around the capital where he played high school ball. He is originally from Bowie, MD. He has strong ties to the area and is currently just enjoying the success of turning around GW this year, so I think it would need to be a significant offer to get him to move.

Marshall and his wife, Lynn have a son Kellen, 18 and daughter Maggie, 15. Marshall has turned down quite a few DI programs in the last three years, continuing to bump up his pay at Wichita State each time it happens. He basically "owns" a small US city, so barring an exceptional set of circumstances, even with his ties to Roanoke, I do not see him coming to Virginia Tech but Whit might be the right man to sell "coming home" to him.

Kellogg and his wife Nicole have one son, Maximus, who is five. UMass is his alma mater, and while I am not sure as a Calipari guy that means he wont leave for better offers, I think he is currently content where he is and unless our offer was high enough to overcome a UMass counter, would be difficult to get him to leave what he has going on as he also is just coming into the success of his hard work there. His parents also live in Massachusetts so being near additional family might also be a snag.

Tyndall and his wife, Christi Taylor have two daughters Elise, 11, and Grace Elizabeth, 8. He is originally from Michigan and has already coached and left his alma mater in Morehead State so I imagine he would be the easiest of this group to convince to move again.

Wow! That didn't take long! Nicely done. You, sir, were ready.

So it seems to me that this list is a tough sell. I was including at a high weighting their connections to the middle-Atlantic area from a recruiting perspective (the ability to recruit for VT) since its obvious they can all coach.

If we are limited to an $800k to $1M salary, whom do you think it could be.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

at $800K I think they target Kellogg or someone similar

at $1.2 to $1.3 mil I think they go after Tyndall, because I cant see that guy leaving Southern Miss to make less than what we paid Seth back in the day.

Wow, great read. Thanks. Personally I think Lonergan will be the guy but I would be happy with any of the guys you listed.

In Sam Rogers we trust.

I actually prefer a new coach a little younger than Lonergan. I want somebody that is still up and coming a bit.

I also would love Lonergan and don't think he is really all that old when it comes to head coaches. He is 48 and to put it in perspective JJ is 42 or 43. Most of these coaches go into their 60's so Lonergan could come in and have a good decade of time. He seems older because of how established he is and how many years he has already been a head coach. I for one envy the stability that Coach K or Williams bring to Duke and UNC and would love to have someone similar to that mold. That said, I think it takes Beamer type money to get Lonergan here so not likely to happen unless Whit is wildly successful with growing the Hokie Club (to give Frank a big raise and pay a new BB Coach).

Growing the hokie club to raise an additional 1-1.5 million a year is the only reason why JJ might be around next year. They might want him to have the money first.

The problem we have right now is that, even though we'd all love to have the next hottest coach on the market, why would anyone WANT to come to Virginia Tech? Yes, we have new Presidential and AD leadership, but we have historically, going back over several AD's and Presidents, shown that we are not willing to spend the money in regards to basketball to keep a coach competitive with his peers. Yes, we just got a new practice facility, but in the end, that just got us up to the standards of the rest of the ACC after having far and away the worst practice facilities in the league for the first 8 years we were there. We are now paying our head coach a salary that is just under 2/3 the cost of the next lowest paid coach in the conference. Even when Greenberg was getting us in the NIT every year and had us in the discussion about being a bubble team, he was still only getting paid in the lower third of ACC coaches. This is during the time he won 2 ACC Coach of the Year awards. Heck, we fired our last head coach with just about 2 weeks to go in the recruiting year. We just historically don't get it in regards to the sport.

What have we shown to the basketball world over time that would make us an attractive destination to a basketball coach? When your biggest selling point to a coach as to why he should take the job is the conference in which you play, thats a BIG problem that Babcock is going to need to fix during his tenure.

All points correct. Cassell is no spring chicken either to try to sell recruits on. Babcock is going to have to prove more to a coach on the support they will get from him in the first hire. Legitimately a concern that could allow JJ to stay on until Babcock can raise the money to shore up the indoor facility for the football program, raises for the football program and then address the basketball problem in general although based on the bonuses in the contract document that was posted he might want to focus on the Olympic sports winning ACC championships rather than on basketball.

"If" he can fix BB, it can turn into another revenue stream for VT athletics to in turn help promote the traditional Olympic sports.

As for Cassell, I think it is still in the top third of ACC school for size capacity, etc. Just cause it is old doesn't mean it is broke.

Cassell has a certain charm to it and it is not likely to be replaced anytime soon. Seats just under 10,000 and if filled with about 7,000 or more (and sometimes less) it can get pretty loud in there. Even sports like wrestling and volleyball that only draw about a thousand or so can get loud occasionally. If they want to show recruits flash, all they have to do is take them to the practice facility.

For me, I think a major overhaul of the interior lighting would do wonders to improve Cassell. After that, the entrances could really use a refurb. ....that and get another 2500 people regularly in the seats

Lighting I believe is being done this summer. They are going to get some instant on lights and hopefully improve the overall lighting. I agree on the entrances, but I don't see that happening any time soon.
A big thing that needs to be done is sound, but they can't put up a new system because there isn't a way they can tell how much the roof can hold since OSHA won't let anyone up there since there isn't railing on the roof.
Getting butts in the seats is as easy as restructuring the ticket prices as well as fielding a more competitive team. If everyone emailed Jeremy Wells or Sandy Smith enough, along with Whit, I'd say something could be done about prices to get fans in the seats.

Couldn't we just get David Wilson on the roof again to test it?

"Hokie religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Han Solo

Great work, sir. Very well researched and thought out.

I don't necessarily see Cassell as a liability - we just need to get the excitement back in the program. The old lady can rock when you have 8,000+ and excitement in the air. We just need to recapture the magic.

I am surprised not to see Tommy Amaker on the list. Is there a particular reason why he was left off that has been made public?

He is from VA, played in the ACC, and has found a way to win at Harvard and is only making $700k now. He coached at Michigan for 6 years and never made the tournament, but had multiple 20+ win seasons.

The list is not exclusive by any means. Amaker was discussed in the last thread and you are correct, he has done pretty amazing things at Harvard. I put together a sampling of coaches from different background/school size to give folks an idea of what it will take to get a new school. That said, keep in mind that Amaker turned down a $1.1 mil/5 Year offer from Miami and was able to renogiate with Harvard for quite a few perks and stuff from the Harvard Booster group.

***Amaker Summary Profile has been added***

I'm trying to think of who could be the "Tommy Tuberville" of college basketball hires for Whit. Some ideas:

Trent Johnson, current coach of TCU, former coach at Stanford and LSU
Andy Kennedy, current coach of Ole Miss, former coach at Cinncy
Oliver Purnell, current coach of DePaul, former coach at Clemson and Radford
Larry Eustachy, current Colorado St coach, former Iowa State coach
Herb Sendek, current Arizona St coach, former NCSU coach

I would say none of those guys have Tuberville's charisma, but many have had some very successful seasons and are currently in a less-than-glamorous job.

While I appreciate all the research that went in to this, a list of potential candidates for a coach who hasn't lost his job yet seems premature to me.

I remember reading comments on here before the season started about how we'd be "lucky to win 10 games" and "may get swept in conference play." We knew this was going to be a rough year. What's happening now seems almost exactly aligned with preseason expectations.

If the new administration chooses to go in another direction, I'll be fine with that decision, but personally, I don't think there's a coach anywhere in the country that could have had significantly more success given the circumstances.

Not the bagman VT deserves, but the bagman VT needs right now.

Yes most of us that follow the program knew this was going to be a bad year. My only stipulation on JJ staying was that the team appear to continue improving and give top effort regardless of outcomes.
In my opinion they have done neither. The young players in several cases appear to have regressed. We consistently fail to seem to have a game plan for our opposition on either end of the court and the last two weeks the effort has precipitiously fallen.

As far as speculating on the need for a new coach, the news media is openly discussing the issue so it can't hurt us to be well informed as a fan base as to the possibilities especially in light of how far behind we are as a school when it comes to fundraising.

Unfortunately true in every point.

They're literally losing every game by 20 points...

I would have agreed with you two weeks ago, but things have taken a turn. Just like last year, if anything they're getting worse as the season progresses...again.

The writing's on the wall, I'll be shocked if JJ is employed here 6 weeks from now.

Again, I am a football guy first, especially at a school where VT has a culture and plays in a conference where there is an easier road to success and more money in football. When I look at most of these guys salary ($1 million plus), I would rather Babcock look at keeping a young, inexpensive coach and try to strike gold, and the reinvest the half million in cost savings back into football. You could get the best guys on this list (which I regard as Smart and Marshall) and given their branding and the recruiting grounds VT lies in, you are still lucky to get into the top four or five in the ACC, and a fifth place ACC team isn't packing Cassell.


Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I don't necessarily disagree that prioritizing money to the football program needs to be Babcocks first instinct, I do think that if he could bring in a Kellogg for $800k and have him bring winning back to Cassell it would likely pay for the difference between his salary and the roughly $695k that Johnson is currently making. A new coach with Babcocks support in changing the pricing structure of basketball tickets would need to regularly bring in 500-700 more people per game to cover the increased costs to the program. As far as recruiting gies, we are as limited in that respect as we make ourselves. Are we going to beat Duke and UNC, not often, but as we have seen with the new football coaches, we aim higher we have a chance at five star QBs, so hopefully we find someone willing to battle for top forwards and point guards.

I don't contest that the $100k might have kept Grimes here but Searles seems to be settling in quick and appears to have kept four out of five linemen and already has new potential recruits giving us a look. Either way Babcock has a challenge in front of him and I hope we all are ready to respond when he comes calling.

here's a crazy idea: instead of speculating about who is going to replace our current coach, who probably won't even be fired this year, we actually support the program and try and understand how hard his situation is?

Yes, we have given two of the other program wreckers (Allen and Stokes) 4 years. He deserves a couple of more years to really drive this baby in the ground. FYI, JW gave Hussey 2 but then hired Stokes (0 for 2). This will set the JJ legacy. Will he be like Allen and Stokes or will he match Hussey. Bet he will get the extra 2 years

I like JJ as a coach, he is a great guy and took over in a poor situation. I think it is way to early to can him as he has only had the opportunity to bring in one recruiting class. Especially since when he took over as HC and some of our previous recruits decommited. It's tough to win with a team of freshman with no star player in the ACC

So JJ just got fired, this list becomes very relevant. I'm not going to stop putting out this name: Dave Smart from Carleton University in Canada has won 15 straight CIS national championships. Add in Mike Cronin, Whit's hire at Cincy. I think the coach will probably come from the A-10 or AAC.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Cronin strikes me as a whiny wannabe tough guy, plus dude is from Cincy, not sure we have the pull to lure him away.

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

Just let coach Bud Foster take the helm for now. Put Sam Rogers on the team. Then hire a good legal team to handle subsequent personal injury suits.

Fortune Favors the Bold

Off my list above, I still hold to going after Kellogg or Lonergan depending on the available budget.

Yeah, those two stick out to me as well.

I'm also expecting the unexpected. Someone who we don't know isn't happy in their current position.

Mick Cronin*. More names to watch for: Danny Manning (Tulsa), Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss), one of the Hurley brothers, Fran Dunphy (Temple),

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

List of guys that could be considered but haven't been mentioned (some reasons more obvious than others) :

1) Jeff Capel (Duke AC, former VCU coach)
2) Hubert Davis (UNC AC, grew up in VA)
3) Adrian Autry (Syracuse AC, ties to VT)
4) Orlando Early (NC State AC, grew up in VA)

These guys weren't on my list because in all the discussions on this topic the main sticking point was that the fan base wanted someone that had proven Head Coach experience. These guys don't deliver that.

wasn't capel the head coach at oklahoma?

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

and VCU before that. But he went from success at VCU to not doing well at Oklahoma a football school (like Tech) with decent basketball history

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Autry is right where he wants to be. He is a former player there and I doubt wants to go anywhere, let alone to Blacksburg. He was one of the many Greenberg run outs.

Rob: Your great work on this before comes to the forefront on the TKP Tracker, relevance is yours.
My bet is Whit goes after an existing head coach or a guy who's had head coach experience. Otherwise, why fire JJ?

The key points to that are:
1. This is the ACC, We have already seen what bringing an AC in to the ACC as an HC gets you - he does not want to repeat that.
2. You want all your players and recruits to WANT to play for whomever comes in.
3. You want to send a message that VT is going to rebuild our Basketball team as fast as can be and generate some buzz and revenue! By announcing JJs release the day after the ACC tournament is over, Whit made the statement that is what he is going to do. So, your in this with both feet, no reason to stop now.
4. You must set a precedence for recruiting in 2015 and beyond. Face it, for teams like VTs - our season is over and recruiting starts immediately (well if we are in an NCAA quiet time it starts immediately after that is over).

Funding might limit our available choices, but there are some good coaches out there with middle Atlantic pasts and resume's that want to coach in the ACC. Bring 'em in for interviews and let's get this train rolling!! No where to go but up!

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

If you are going to make this move now, I think that there might be some thought to taking out a loan. If Whit has in his mind that he is going to make the best move for this program then he has to have the checkbook open this year. He will just have to account for that open checkbook when he goes to balance the bills when he is fundraising.

You might be right. To me that is refreshing. We are investing in a revenue positive future, you just have to make a solid coaching choice with that debt.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

I really hope that Whit's background in fundraising really comes to bloom here soon. I think having $$$ will work wonders for VT Athletics..I'm looking forward to WB pulling in some significant dough and elevating our whole department

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Just to update this post a little, Anthony Grant was given another year so we can remove him from the list.

All of these coaches are currently on contracts so potential possibilities if they really are Whit's target. Grant was only initially added at the request of one of the commenters. He would have been the bottom of my target list in this group.

Oh ok - I was just thinking that the Grant logic was if Pearl went to Bama. Sounds like he might be going to Auburn now though.

Without giving this too much thought, my list is:
1. Mick Cronin (because why the hell not)
2. Mike Lonergan
3. Steve Pikiell
Dark Horse: WoJo. Yeah, similar lack of experience as JJ, but he's f*&#ing WoJo and every Dookie would crap their pants if he was in O&M. Plus, he was quoted in an article around Christmas that although he had turned down numerous HC jobs before, he feels as though the time is coming to move on from Durham.

I've been thinking about this more. How come Mick Cronin hasn't been mentioned? It looks like he makes in the $1.25M range, he's a Babcock coach, has had success at Cincy, and is in a dying conference. Is there something in his contract that would prevent Tech from thinking of him as a decent candidate.

*I don't have enough turkey legs to upvote or downvote.

Most of this list was put together when we were approaching this from the cost effective, hard to convince a coach to come here pool of candidates. I mentally blocked out coaches in the big six conferences in making the list. I focused more on the mid majors that would see Tech as a step up to the big leagues. Cronin has a lot of good qualities and I wouldn't be against him being here. He has done pretty solid work at Cincy.

You should consider the A-10 a major conference. It's better than the Big East and AAC where there are a lot of commuter schools. The A-10 is on the rise while the other two seem to be trending down. May be harder to convince a coach to leave the A-10 than the AAC.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

Fair points, particularly the one about seeing "Tech as a step up." There are a lot of coaches out there, and I imagine many aren't in the market to make a switch particularly if it is lateral. But with Cronin's connection to Babcock it seems like a possibility. He wasn't even on my radar either until PhillyHokie007 was down in Blacksburg this past weekend and mentioned it.

I'm gonna keep pushing this, and people might start getting annoyed by it, but Danny Manning is my choice. He's a big name that is still young and knows what power conference coaching is about (spent 10 years back at KU after he retired from the NBA).

Rip his freaking head off!

Mine too, he would be a fun hire. The only knock on him is that he is coaching players he didn't recruit but come on I don't see many recruits saying no to Danny Manning with his amazing history as a player and coach.

In Sam Rogers we trust.

I wouldn't have a problem with Danny Manning. I just don't know if Whit will have him on the short list.

I have a good feeling that Whit would consider him seriously. Obviously this is just pure speculation but he would be a great hire.

In Sam Rogers we trust.

So I only mildly skimmed the comments. How much did JJ make? I know you posted what you think would be realistic, but is that what you think we will pay?

Live for 32. Ut Prosim. Let's Go, Hokies.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think around 600k.

Many have probably seen this already, but David Teel threw out a few random names in his JJ firing article today:

Among the many names likely to be linked to the job are Woffords Mike Young, a Radford High graduate, George Washingtons Mike Lonergan, Daytons Archie Miller, Tulsa's Danny Manning and Xaviers Chris Mack, all of whom are preparing their teams for the NCAA tournament.


Sounds like David Teel reads TKP from that list...

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

what about Fred Hoiberg


No way, Hoiberg was born and raised in Ames. That is his dream job.

need a coach to dream about ?

why not hoiberg?

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

Why not!


If we hire anyone else, I will be disapointed now.

Archie Miller at Dayton is a candidate tht I really like, and doesn't seem to be getting thrown around a whole lot. Think he would be great fit.

Lifelong Hokie. Football enthusiast. Hoo Hater.

Agree. I'd be ecstatic with that hire.

35 years old, coached under Thad Matta at OSU and his brother Sean Miller at Arizona. 60-37 in his first three years at Dayton with an 11 seed this year. Supposedly a good recruiter and game strategist. Played at NC State and his dad has 657 career wins at the HS level (not that HS wins matter, but BLOODLINES ZOMG).


Updated thread to include Buzz Williams in Premium Candidates and Danny Manning in the Realistic Candidates

Guess there is one more reason now to be extremely happy that we got Buzz Williams, as Southern Miss announced today a self imposed post season ban for violations committed by Donnie Tyndall. Have to wonder what effect this might have on Tennessee if Tyndall gets a show cause penalty from this issue.

The speculation I've seen involves a lengthy suspension for Tyndall. That will cool the hot start his team has thus far. Tyndall seems like a talented coach, but obviously with baggage that we do not need. Regardless, the guy we got - Buzz - is a much better coach, and doesn't have that baggage. We got the right guy for us, one we (Hokie fan base) never thought we deserved. Thanks to Whit for that.

The Vols just fired Tyndall. So glad he didn't end up at VT. Would have set us back even further.

I looked up Peter's great list again. Thankful we have Whit. There is a lot of underwhelming on this list. Marshall is probably the knoynine to our perform Buzz and hecprovably did it would have turned us down if we offered.

Longergan, I had to look up, was fired for verbal and emotional abuse of his players by GW


ME Class of '16
Facts don't care about your feelings

Part of that is in secret DOD code

Most of what was alleged against Lonergan was later recanted but the damage was already done. He had an enemy in an Athletic Director that he tried to get fired for inappropriate behavior and a couple disgruntled players and a former player that used todays hypersensitive environment to take advantage and get him fired. See the Deadspin story here....its a really in depth writeup of everything that went down

Deadspin link

I read that a while back, it is something.

If you were going to make a new list, who might be on it?

Once a decision has been announced about Buzz I will put something like this together again if needed.

Any chance Buzz sits at a table with two hats and makes a decision such as a kid would on signing day?

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

Considering how well that usually goes for Virginia Tech, I certainly hope not.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Buzz to FSU confirmed

Donnie Tyndall

Recruiting Focus: has NYC on lock down, and draws almost half his roster from that talent rich environment which is hard to picture as he gets them to go down to Southern Miss

I think the NCAA wondered how he got all of that talent to Southern Miss too; then they figured it out.

The coaches on this list were reasonable choices to look at for the head coach for VT hoops. In looking at their success rate over the past 4-5 seasons, it solidifies my belief that the hiring process is extremely difficult.

This makes me think that every school should include longevity as an important attribute too.

The top 1/3 programs in the ACC (Duke, UNC, UVA, Notre Dame, FSU & Miami) all have coaches that decided to stay at their school. Duke and UNC are blue-bloods but the others are a step below and have had to "keep" their coach.

I wonder if we could make a serious push for Gregg Marshall?

Is it basketball season yet?

Gregg Marshall would be a slightly bigger financial commitment for us, but we'd have Buzz's buyout to cover Marshall's surprisingly reasonable buyout. If Whit is serious about continuing to shell out for a top flight basketball team then Marshall is definitely on his list.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Marshall's personality is a lot like Greenberg's. That seemed to not work well at VT.

I think Greenberg was popular amongst fans. Deron, Vassallo, Dowdell, Collins, Dowdell, and the other guys from that era liked him. The Delaney-Allen guys not so much, but those guys didn't even like each other. I was okay with the Greenberg era in hindsight.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Aside from abysmal free throw shooting, it wasn't bad.
The free throws didn't improve under Johnson.

I think you get that with teams that plays such physical and aggressive defense because their legs are shot. Also why the halfcourt offense was so abysmal at times. See WVU since they took on "Press Virginia" as their identity.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

well, that and the inability to coach offense

I find it hard to trust Greg spelled with an extra G

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Is it basketball season yet?

Marshall May be a tougher get than it appears. I was in Wichita the last time somebody made a serious run at him a couple of years ago... he is loyal to the school and community, but even more importantly, he is locked in with Koch Brothers $$$.

While I really hope we can keep Buzz, Whit has proven himself as an AD that goes out and gets the good coaches he wants. In Whit I trust.

How about Chris Beard? seems to play an up tempo style and has been pretty successful at Texas Tech. I would think he would be itching to get out of the awful Big12.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

ok everyone, can we all calm down and only start thinking of new coaches if Buzz leaves

As a Virginia Tech sports fan I have learned to always mentally prepare myself for the worst possible outcome. It has saved me a lot of pain over the years.

"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

Yet it also causes plenty of pain, as we endlessly discuss the worst case scenario.

"Hey, what if we stick a fork in our eye?"

"Hey, what do we do if we step on a rusty nail tomorrow?"

"Hey, what if someone steals our dog?"

The list goes on, but with VT sports as the subject.

If you don't want to read about possible coaching candidates if Buzz leaves, then maybe don't click on any of the threads discussing possible coaching candidates if Buzz leaves.

"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

Weren't there some rumors when Seth was fired that Jay Wright was interested? Granted, that was back before his most recent hot streak but that would be awesome just based on his resume. Doubt he'd want to live Nova, but we said the same thing about Buzz.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Yep, there was. But that was time when the Big East was in serious flux and some Nova alum were getting irked with him because he kept flaming out early in the tournament. Since then, Wright has won TWO national championships.

Yeah but you know how fans are, if he doesnt win this year he'll be on the hot seat.

If Nova's fans want to put Wright on the hot seat after winning two national championships they deserve basketball purgatory.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

There's probably less than 10 schools that wouldn't trade their coach for Jay Wright in a heartbeat.

Right now VT is one of the 10 or fewer.

Watch mentioning that name. I did the other day and I thought I was on TSL.