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|Craig Robinson would have been an intriguing hire for DePaul but a contract extension should keep him with Oregon State.|
Scratch Craig Robinson off DePaul’s coaching wish list.
Robinson agreed in principle to a two-year contract extension with Oregon State on Tuesday. Robinson will now be under contract through the 2015-2016 season with the Beavers.
Robinson was thought to be a top contender for the Blue Demons’ opening with him being from Chicago, having some success as a head coach and his proven ability as a recruiter in the area. The fact he is Michelle Obama’s brother may not have been a reason to hire him, but it would have been an added bonus for the program to be connected to President Barack Obama.
There are plenty of other candidates to consider.
DePaul interim coach Tracy Webster will surely get an interview. The Blue Demons have only won one game under Webster, but they have shown promise at times -- they nearly beat Syracuse -- and he continues to recruit Chicago heavily.
Former DePaul players Mark Aguirre, Tyrone Corbin and Rod Strickland have been mentioned. Aguirre, a former New York Knicks assistant coach, recently said on WGN Radio he was a partner in a construction/aviation company. Corbin is an assistant for the Utah Jazz. Strickland is an assistant at the University of Kentucky.
Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery is another name that has popped up. Lowery has struggled the past few seasons, but he has made three NCAA Tournaments and has recruited Chicago over the years. He may not be a hot enough commodity to be hired.
People have also called for Dayton coach Brian Gregory, but Gregory is the assumed heir apparent to Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. He likely wouldn’t risk that where Dayton is more of a secure position right now.
Illinois coach Bruce Weber recently said he thought assistant coach Wayne McClain could fill the position with his high school and college coaching background.
“He’s won at every level he’s coached at,” Weber said.
Weber also said he thought assistant coach Jerrance Howard would someday make a great head coach, and that his other assistant, Jay Price, could succeed in the right situation.
Nevada assistant coach Dennis Gates and Illinois State assistant Paris Parham, both of whom have local ties, have also been included in the discussion. Brooks High School coach Chris Head and Simeon coach Robert Smith are two other local names.
One recent suggestion by a fan was that DePaul should publicly express interest in Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. While Coach K is unlikely looking to return to his hometown to rebuild DePaul, it would bring attention to the program and position.
Of everyone, City/Suburban Hoops Report recruiting analyst Joe Henricksen thought Steve Lavin, a current ESPN analyst and former UCLA coach, was the best choice. Lavin did say last month he would be open to coaching at DePaul.
“My ideal hire? Steve Lavin as the head coach, who brings a face, name, image, experience and past success, along with a staff loaded with Chicago ties and familiarity as assistants,” Henricksen said. “That would be a pretty impressive combination -- a respected national figure with assistants who can get it done locally. Who knows if he would even consider leaving the great gig at ESPN he currently has, but that’s who I would go after.”
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.