Meet The Candidates (Part 2)

Part 2 of the GoJackets.com review of potential head coaching candidates continues again today. Keep in mind that these lists are to look at all possible candidates. Later, there will be additional focus on the candidates that seem to be most viable and that seem to have interest.

Part 1 can be found HERE .

Name: Chris Mooney
Position: Head Coach – University of Richmond
Biographical Link
Record at current job: (110-86, 54-42 Atlantic 10)
Record at all jobs: (128-98, 9-5 Mountain West, 54-42 Atlantic 10)
Likelihood of hire: Good. Mooney's resume is very close to the ideal candidate in terms of what is believed to be the qualification set. He is only 38 years of age, has 7 years of head coaching experience, currently coaches at a mid-major (meaning that finances won't be an issue), and he clearly has east coast connections (from coaching at Richmond). Perhaps the only area where Mooney is lacking is that his pedigree is non-existent at major conference schools – coaching at Beaver College, Air Force, and Richmond. The cut-throat world of the big-time ACC basketball might be something new. Many folks are also concerned about recruiting – since he runs a variant of the Princeton offense. However, it's important to note that he has an offense that has averaged over 70 points per game and ranks in the upper 1/3 of all NCAA programs. The concern over recruiting may be valid. But, it won't be because of the offense he runs.

Name: Mark Turgeon
Position: Head Coach – Texas A&M
Biographical Link
Record at current job: (96–38, 38–26 Big 12)
Record at all jobs: (248–156, 38–26 Big 12, 71–55 MVC, 15–19 TAAC)
Likelihood of hire: Low based on salary concerns. Turgeon (46 years old) has tons of head coaching experience and lots of recent success with the Texas A&M. The Aggies are heading to the NCAA's for their fourth straight year (out of four) with Coach Turgeon. In each of the first three seasons they made it to the second round before losing. Turgeon spent seven years before that with Wichita State and two with Jacksonville State. In 2006 he took the Wichita State team to the Sweet Sixteen. He currently makes $1,500,000 which could be a difficult obstacle for Tech to lure him away. That contract was bumped up from $1,200,000 just a year ago when his contract was extended. This could mean a tough hurdle on the buyout as well. He could be off the market.

Name: Brad Stevens
Position: Head Coach – Butler University
Biographical Link
Record at current job: (112-24, 62-10 Horizon)
Record at all jobs: (112-24, 62-10 Horizon)
Likelihood of hire: Low. With every opening that comes up at a major school, Stevens name is usually one of the first coaches mentioned by fans. And why not? He wins – at Butler of all places – and he's young and energetic. All in all, he's just about any college hoops fan's wet dream of a coach for their program. But, hiring Stevens will come at a very steep price. Following Butler's run to the national championship last spring, Stevens signed an extension that makes him coach at Butler through the 2021-22 season. That's a LONG time and surely carries with it a huge buyout (although the terms of the contract have not been disclosed). Additionally, Stevens seems to be very content at this point to continue his career at Butler.

Name: Buzz Williams
Position: Head Coach – Marquette
Biographical Link
Record at current job: (65-32, 32-20 Big East)
Record at all jobs: (79–49, 32-20 Big East, 9-9 Sun Belt)
Likelihood of hire: Good. At 38 years old, Williams fits as an up-and-comer who could head a program for years to come. Tech fans also have to like the name. Buzz has a lot to be proud of in his Marquette squad. They've been very good in the three years he's been their head coach, winning 20 or more games every year and being in the NCAA tournament every season. They'll be a #11 seed in this year's tournament. The 32-20 record in the treacherous Big East conference over three year also really stands out. Williams is half way through a six-year contract for an undisclosed annual salary (was reportedly paid $841,160 in his first season). It's not known what it would take to draw him away but it is probably feasible if that's the direction Tech really wants to go. Buzz has been described by analyst Jay Bilas as detail oriented and a creator of great team chemistry and teamwork. Buzz will be a hot name this off-season as Arkansas is expected to make a run at him if Mike Anderson doesn't work out.

Name: Craig Neal
Position: Assistant Coach – Univesity of New Mexico
Biographical Link
Record at current job: NA
Record at all jobs: NA
Likelihood of hire: Medium. Neal is probably only being considered because he is a Georgia Tech alumnus. Despite no head coaching experience, Neal has been at Steve Alford's side at both Iowa and New Mexico and certainly understands what is required to be a successful coach at a major program. The issue is that he may understand it. But, can he do it? We don't know as he has no experience. Additionally, his tenure with Alford at Iowa was not noted for a high degree of success. However, that pattern seems to have been reversed at New Mexico. On the plus side, its typically a challenge for most coaches to come to the Institute and understand the culture of the academics. Neal would not have that to worry about. Additionally, in a recent interview, Neal stated that he would definitely hire someone that had been a head coach previously to be an assistant. He's making a good case.

Name: Mike Anderson
Position: Head Coach – Missouri
Biographical Link
Record at current job: (111-55, 43–37 Big 12)
Record at all jobs: (200–96, 43–37 Big 12, 42-20 Conf USA)
Likelihood of hire: Unlikely due to financial considerations and competition. Mike Anderson (51 years old) would certainly be a great head coaching option for any school who likes a coach familiar with strong seasons, exciting brand of basketball and frequent exciting runs in the NCAA tournament. In a four year stint at his first coaching gig at UAB, Anderson took his team to the NIT quarterfinals then three straight NCAA appearances including three wins. In the 2004 tourney Anderson led the Blazers (at-large berth) to the Sweet Sixteen by beating a high-powered Washington team 102-100 and then toppled the overall #1 seed Kentucky. Only a loss in a meeting to Kansas kept UAB from facing Paul Hewitt's Yellow Jackets in his best season at Tech. In his five years at Missouri, Anderson took two seasons to get going but has them in the NCAA's for the past three seasons now (they'll be a #11 seed in this year's tourney). Missouri made an Elite Eight run two years ago and also won one in last year's tourney. His squad is always a tough out. The problem with Anderson is that it would be costly to hire when GT is about to fork out a lot of money to see off the coach from the past 11 years. Georgia went after him two years ago and couldn't entice him with a reported $2 million per year offer. He received a seven-year extension after that 2009 season that pays a base salary of $1.6 million and has incentives worth as much as $2.2 million per year. If he does decide to look around, one school that is in the market and would want him badly enough to pay the high price to get him away is Arkansas. Anderson was an assistant there for the legendary Nolan Richardson for 17 seasons – including as NCAA champs in 1994.


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