Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm may have the ‘hottest seat’ in the Big 12, when it comes to whether or not he’ll be back next season.
I wrote a piece earlier this season asking just how ‘hot’ Prohm’s seat is. As the Cyclones’ season heads toward another losing record, I took stock of the coaches that COULD replace Prohm, if the Cyclones decide to make a move. The list is made up of current head coaches, current Big 12 assistants, and assistants from other programs.
I’m not saying that Prohm is a goner. But, if he is fired, these are names you COULD hear connected to the job (but, of course, by no means the only ones).
These are coaches at Mid-Major programs who, like Prohm was at Murray State, have been successful at that level and would seem logical candidates.
Kyle Keller, Stephen F. Austin: You know, the ‘We Beat Duke’ coach? Yes, Keller authored last year’s unbelievable upset, but he’s a five-year vet at SFA now. Along with the success at SFA, he has ties to Oklahoma State (Eddie Sutton) and Kansas (Bill Self) as an assistant. He ‘gets’ the Big 12. Could Iowa State get him?
Darian DeVries, Drake: Yes, Drake’s undefeated season is done. But he’s on the verge of his third straight 20-win season with the Bulldogs. He’s local — Drake is in Des Moines. Plus, he did a long stint with Creighton, which is in Nebraska, so he gets the recruiting scene on the plains.
Casey Alexander, Belmont: Remember which team Texas beat in the NIT championship a couple of seasons ago? It was Lipscomb. Remember Lipscomb’s coach? It was Alexander. He had coached four straight winning seasons (three at Lipscomb and one at Belmont) going into this season. He’s never been an assistant at a Power 5 program, but he can coach.
Porter Moser, Loyola-Chicago: The ‘House of Gryffindor’ probably wants you to stay the heck away from its coach. He led the Ramblers to the Final Four a few years ago and his program is near at the top of the Missouri Valley with … Drake. Moser’s Chicagoland recruiting ties would be a boon for the Cyclones. He’ll be hard to pry away.
Pat Kelsey, Winthrop: He’s closing in on 200 career wins in less than a decade at Winthrop, and has taken the program to the NCAA Tournament. As an assistant at Wake Forest and Xavier he helped develop Chris Paul and Jeff Teague. He’s a future Power 5 coach looking for his opportunity.
BIG 12 ASSISTANTS
You watch a coach that ‘gets’ the Big 12, then poach a current Big 12 assistant. There are a few that are have the right stuff for a new job.
Jerome Tang, Baylor: There may be no better time for Scott Drew’s top assistant to take over his own program. Drew brought in Tang from Texas high schools, where he was also successful. He’s involved in every aspect of Baylor’s program, and his interim stint earlier this season saw Baylor win both games.
Ulric Malagi, Texas Tech: One of the game’s up-and-coming assistants. But he’s already logged 13 years in college basketball and has a great reputation as a recruiter at both Texas A&M and Texas Tech, as he helped secure last year’s incredible class. He’s worked his way into position to lead a program.
Jerrance Howard, Kansas: Wanna really hurt Kansas? Hire away their best recruiter. His reputation is that of one of the best in the country. But he also did a one-year stint under Larry Brown at SMU and he has head-coaching experience, albeit as an interim at Illinois.
FORMER BIG 12 ASSISTANTS
These are assistants who did their time in the Big 12 and are at other programs, but considering them for the job makes some sense.
Matt Abdelmassih, Nebraska: Fred Hoiberg’s top lieutenant at Nebraska held the same position at Iowa State when ‘The Mayor’ led the program. But in between Ames and Lincoln, Abdelmassih was on the St. John’s staff for four years, so he brings strong recruiting ties to the Midwest and the New York City areas.
Kevin Kruger, UNLV: You know the last name, right? Yep, he’s Lon’s son. Kevin spent three years on Lon’s bench in Norman, and then returned to his alma mater, UNLV, where he played point guard for … Lon Kruger. Something tells me the younger Kruger may be ready for a head-coaching job. And who doesn’t want a ‘Kruger Bowl’ twice a year (well, aside from Lon)?
Jai Lucas, Kentucky: The former McDonald’s All-American, the former Texas player, and the former Texas assistant coach is now on John Calipari’s staff with the Wildcats. He has a great reputation as a recruiter and he’s serving as the recruiting coordinator at Kentucky. Smart put him to good use at Texas, too.
TOP NON-BIG 12 ASSISTANTS
There are a few assistants out there that have no Big 12 connections, but they are ready for the big move, if they’re interested.
David Velasquez, San Diego State: I know what you’re thinking — how do you get a guy who has been at SDSU for 19 years to come to Ames? You offer him the head-coaching job. SDSU has been one of the best mid-major programs in the country and Velasquez handles everything from recruiting to player development.
Micah Shrewsberry, Purdue: Now the associate head coach at Purdue, Shrewsberry is poised to get his own program. He’s worked his way up from being a D-3 assistant at Wabash and DePauw to stints with Brad Stevens at Butler and with the Boston Celtics, along with two stints with Painter and Purdue.
Jordan Mincy, Florida: He’s done his apprenticeship with Mike White at both Louisiana Tech and Florida. He’s been a fundamental part of the Gators’ success under White. He has Memphis recruiting ties as a native of that city, and he understands the Midwest thanks to a previous stint at Toledo and his playing days at Kent State. Someone is going to hire this guy soon.
Brian Michaelson, Gonzaga: He’s a Gonzaga lifer. He played there, he’s coached there, and he’s worked his way into a key role for the No. 1 team in the nation. Yes, naturally, you go after the best team’s staff when you’re trying to get better. Question is does Michaelson want to get his own job or wait until head coach Mark Few retires (and Few is only 58).
Have your own candidate? Let me know about it @PostinsPostcard on Twitter.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard. Send him a tweet with your question to be included in this week’s Big 12 Basketball Mailbag, which appears each Friday during the conference season.
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