Friday, March 14, 2014

Marshall Basketball: Potential List of Candidates to Replace Tom Herrion

As Marshall searches for its next men's basketball coach, rumors are already swirling on potential replacements for Tom Herrion. Here are a few names that could make athletic director Mike Hamrick's short list.

Blaine Taylor - Taylor lead Old Dominion's basketball program for almost 19 seasons. During that time the Monarchs won 20 games eleven times and qualified for six NCAA Tournaments. He was fired at the tail end of the 2012-2013 season when ODU had a record of 2-20.

John Pelphrey - A Marshall assistant under Billy Donovan, Pelphrey has served as head coach at South Alabama and most recently Arkansas. In 2008 he lead the Razorbacks to the NCAA Tournament during his first year as head coach. Declining results the next three seasons including two 14 win campaigns contributed to his dismissal in 2011. He is currently an assistant coach at Florida.

Jeff Boals - Although he has never been a head coach, Boals might be an intriguing option. He spent five seasons on Marshall's bench under Greg White. Since then, Boals has served as an assistant coach at Charleston, Robert Morris, Akron, and most recently Ohio State. During his time with the Buckeyes, Ohio State has won three Big Ten regular season titles and appeared in the 2012 Final Four.

Mike D'Antoni - Would the former New York Knicks and current Los Angeles Lakers head coach be interested in returning home to West Virginia and leading his alma mater? According to ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, D'Antoni won't be brought back to the Lakers next year. Keep in mind D'Antoni has never coached in college basketball, even as an assistant. But the real question is, what would it take to bring him back to the Mountain State? D'Antoni has been involved with the athletic department recently, co-chairing Marshall's vision campaign with Chad Pennington.

Dan D'Antoni - Mike's older brother, Dan is a former Marshall point guard and member of the schools athletics Hall of Fame. After a brief stint on the Herd's coaching staff in the early 1970's, Dan spent 30 years as a high school coach in South Carolina. Since 2005, he has served as an assistant coach under Mike at the Phoenix Suns, Knicks, and Lakers.

Jeff Capel III - While Shaka Smart has taken VCU to new heights, you could argue that Capel put them on the map. From 2002-2006, Capel won 79 games and made a NCAA Tournament appearance with the Rams. Capel left for Oklahoma in 2009 and took the Sooners to the Elite Eight in his first season as head coach. He was fired two years later after consecutive sub 15 win seasons. Capel's a assistant coach at Duke.

Bruce Pearl - Now an ESPN analyst, Pearl is best know for his six seasons at Tennessee. During those six years, Pearl never failed to make the NCAA Tournament and never won less than 19 games. He was fired in 2011 amid an NCAA investigation into the recruiting of Aaron Craft. As a result of the investigation, Pearl was hit with a three year show-cause penalty that runs through this August.

Seth Greenberg - Another ESPN analyst, Greenberg coached at Virginia Tech from 2004 to 2012. Often the bridesmaid, the Hokies qualified for five NIT's during Greenberg's tenure and only one NCAA Tournament. That being said, his overall record at Virginia Tech was 167-117. He was also named the 2007-2008 ACC coach of the year.

Steve Henson - Could Hamrick turn to an old friends staff for Marshall's next coach? Hamrick hired Lon Kruger at UNLV in 2004 and was rewarded with four NCAA Tournament appearances. Now the head coach at Oklahoma, Henson is Kruger's top assistant.

John Brannen - A 1997 Marshall graduate, Brannen played two seasons with the Herd after transferring from Morehead State . He's held assistant coaching positions at Charleston, Eastern Kentucky, St. Bonaventure, VCU, and now Alabama. Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant promoted Brannen to associate head coach before the 2013-2014 season.

Bobby Lutz - From 1999 to 2005 few coaches were more successful in Conference USA than Lutz. Before the 49ers departed for the Atlantic 10 in 2006, Lutz won a C-USA title and appeared in four NCAA Tournaments. Fired by Charlotte following the 2010 season, he is now an assistant at NC State.

Jeff Neubauer - After taking Eastern Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament for the second time, Neubauer's name will be bantered about for a number of openings this off-season. A former West Virginia assistant, Neubauer has lead the Colonels for nine seasons, accumulating a record of 167-121.

Kevin Keatts - One year removed from a national championship, Keatts has been a assistant under Rick Pittio at Louisville since 2011. Prior to that, he served as head coach at Hargrave Military Academy for eight seasons. In July of 2013 Jeff Goodman of named Keatts the third most respected/feared assistant in college basketball after surveying over 200 collegiate coaches.

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