Friday, March 9, 2012
More candidates for Illinois job
By Scott Powers
Illinois’ coaching search should begin with these seven coaches , but there are more names that could be of interest to Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas in his search to replace Bruce Weber.
Here’s a look at more coaches who could be on Illinois’ radar:
Harvard coach Tommy Amaker: He has gotten a shot at the Big Ten before and failed at Michigan, but he may get another chance again down the road after coaching Harvard to the NCAA tournament this season for the first time since 1946. He’s in his fifth season at Harvard.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett: He has turned around Virginia in three years. The Cavaliers are 22-8 and fourth in the ACC this season. He is the son of former Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett.
Chris Collins has learned under Mike Krzyzewski but is he ready for a high-profile job such as Illinois?
Duke assistant coach Chris Collins: There’s an assumption Collins will eventually be a head coach someday. Illinois might be too high of a job for his first gig. He is originally from the Chicago area and has recruited Illinois for Duke.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant: He had success at VCU and now at Alabama. The Crimson Tide finished fifth in the SEC this season. He went to two NCAA tournaments at VCU.
Illinois assistant coach Jerrance Howard: He is a long shot. Howard has been key to Illinois’ recent recruiting success, which included a nationally-ranked No. 11 class in 2011 and No. 13 in 2010. He has time remaining on his contract, so he could also stick around under a new coach. A number of other programs have tried to steal him away as an assistant in recent years.
Detroit coach Ray McCallum: He has recruited high-major talent to mid-major Detroit. His teams haven’t always performed to expectations, but this year’s team showed its upside recently by winning the Horizon League championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament. Detroit is 22-13 this season. His son, Ray McCallum, is a sophomore and starting guard for Detroit.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar: He has been at Washington for 10 years and has compiled a 216-111 overall record and 109-72 Pac-12 record. Washington won the Pac-12 regular-season title this season with a 14-4 conference record and will be headed to the NCAA tournament. Washington has been to six NCAA tournaments and made it to the Sweet 16 three times under Romar. Romar played with Jabari Parker’s dad Sonny in the NBA. Romar signed a 10-year extension in 2010.
Simeon high school coach Robert Smith: He isn’t a likely candidate being a high school coach, but he could give Illinois the best shot at getting Parker, the nation’s No. 1 junior. Smith coaches Parker and also had Derrick Rose. Smith has a 227-37 record and four state championships in eight years at Simeon. The Wolverines are nationally-ranked this season with a 30-1 record and are the favorite to the Class 4A state title.
Reggie Theus: He interviewed for DePaul’s opening a few years ago. He coached at New Mexico State for two seasons and quickly turned the program in the right direction. He went 41-23 overall and led the Aggies to the NCAA tournament. He left New Mexico State to coach the Sacramento Kings and was fired midway through his second season.