It is the opinion of this blogger that most, if not all, of the pertinent 2011 coaching intrigue is behind us. The biggest programs with the best shots at luring top candidates away from other desirable schools have all made their moves, and none of those hires (Cunzo Martin at Tennessee, Brian Gregory at Georgia Tech, Frank Haith at Missouri, Lon Kruger at Oklahoma) is likely to spark the national game of musical chairs we tend to see every time an even semi-decent opening comes available.
That said, there are still two semi-decent openings left. They are UNLV and Miami. As UNLV looks set on its four remaining coaching candidates, the most intriguing of the two is Miami, and not just because the Hurricanes didn't issue a news release listing their four targets. It's intriguing because of whom Miami would be able to hire. Specifically, Kansas State coach Frank Martin.
Martin is a Miami native, the first American-born son of Cuban immigrants. He graduated from Florida International. His first coaching job was at Miami Senior High School. In other words, the ties are obvious.
But would the fiery K-State coach be willing to leave the program he helped rebuild in Manhattan for another rebuilding project in Coral Gables, Fla.? According to CBS's Gary Parrish, he would be -- if Miami is willing to pony up the dough:
But multiple sources told CBSSports.com that the Miami native, though happy in Manhattan, wouldn't pass on the opportunity to return to his hometown if Miami wanted him and committed to being a program that can realistically expect to compete in the top half of the ACC -- meaning Miami would have to pay Martin and his assistants competitive salaries and increase its basketball budget. Whether Miami is interested in doing that remains unclear. But all things even close to equal, Martin would definitely leave Kansas State for Miami. Anybody telling you otherwise should not be believed.
Gary calls this a "defining moment for Miami basketball," and he's right. The Hurricanes are an essentially irrelevant ACC program with nary a winning conference record in the past nine seasons. Some of that is just life in the ACC, but much of it is choice; for Miami to be good at basketball, Miami must first care about basketball, and when has Miami cared about basketball, exactly?
So, yeah, hiring Martin would be a sign -- a blinking, bright-neon sign -- that Miami is ready to be a winner in areas outside of football. It would also leave the Kansas State job open, and create some measure of coaching gossip to bandy about for the next few weeks. The carousel is mostly done spinning, but Miami could push us along for at least one more turn.