Should he play the part of Archie Bunker and keep it "All in the Family?" Should he scour the mid-major circuit for an up-and-comer who might come with a little less fanfare, but also a little bit cheaper? Or, should be go after an established winner, someone with a proven track record but also a hefty price tag?
If Greenspan has the money in his coffers (or, more likely, has donors ready to do that for him) and opts for the latter, don't be surprised to see Texas head coach Rick Barnes surface as a legitimate possibility.
The 52-year-old Barnes is in his eighth year with the Longhorns and his 19th season as a head coach overall. A native of Hickory, N.C., (a unique tie-in considering the movie Hoosiers, isn't it?) Barnes has compiled a 365-195 record during a coaching career that also includes stops at George Mason, Providence and Clemson. His teams have been to the NCAA Tournament nine straight seasons (6 at Texas, 3 at Clemson) and with the Longhorns standing at 22-3 this season and ranked in the nation's top five, that streak will go to ten next month. In the last four years alone he's advanced to a pair of Sweet 16s (2002, 2004) and one Final Four (2003). Texas' trip to the national semifinals three years ago marked just the third time the Texas program had ever appeared in the Final Four and the first time since 1947.
There's no question Barnes has the Texas program on solid footing. He's proven himself more than capable to keeping most of the state's best high school players going to UT (LaMarcus Aldridge, Daniel Gibson, Brad Buckman, T.J. Ford, among others) and he has the Longhorn program to the point that it can recruit against the likes of North Carolina and UConn for marquee talent outside the Lone Star State (2006 signee Kevin Durant, a Maryland product who was the second-ranked prep in the nation). That's a very similar recipe for success that IU fans would like to see in Bloomington, with the Hoosiers keeping the state's best coming to IU, with a sprinkling of marquee out-of-state talent to boot.
Barnes is also a charismatic coach, someone who enjoys mingling with the fans in an effort to promote his program. While he had to do more of that during his pre-Texas days, it's a characteristic Greenspan would certainly like to see in the next IU head coach as well.
What Makes Him a Viable Candidate: One might wonder why the head coach at an established top-10 team would consider leaving, but no matter what Barnes does with the Longhorns, football is always going to be king on the Austin, Texas, campus. In the Longhorns' most recent home game against Baylor, there were just over 10,000 fans in attendance, meaning more than 6,000 seats were empty. Upcoming marquee home games against Kansas and Oklahoma still have plenty of tickets available. In Bloomington, IU basketball is king and there would be no such concern about what he had to do to generate fan support. His name was linked with the Virginia opening last spring, a job that ultimately went to Dave Leitao. The fact that his name was mentioned, though, suggests he's willing to look at other options. The options, meanwhile, don't get much better than Indiana.
What Makes Him a Longshot: If Texas wants to keep him, the Longhorns can unload a Brink's truck-worth of cash on his door step. After all, this is a school that pays its football coach, Mack Brown, more than $2.5 million annually. Texas would never throw that sort of money at its basketball coach, but it could certainly out-spend Indiana's cash-strapped athletics department if there was any sort of bidding war. Barnes is already making $1.3 million/season, which might already be more than IU is willing to pay. There were also rumors about Barnes getting a 10-year contract extension last fall, so Indiana would either need to really step forward with a huge contract offer, or Barnes would really have to want out of Austin. Neither party appears quite that desperate.
HoosierNation.com's Take: Barnes would be a great get for the Hoosiers, probably the most established coach on the potential wish list. But the financials don't make sense. Indiana isn't going to make a 10-year contract offer, and it isn't going to pony up $1.3-$1.5 million of guaranteed money annually for its basketball coach. Barnes is enjoying a great run at the Big 12 school, so there's probably no reason for him to take a significantly less attractive financial offer to jump to the Big 10. He'll probably hang around UT until a basketball school with deeper pockets comes calling, or even more likely, when an NBA team expresses some interest.
Year School Overall/League Postseason 1987-88 George Mason 20-10/9-5 (tie 2nd) -- Totals 1 year 20-10/9-5 (.643) Year School Overall/League Postseason 1988-89 Providence 18-11/7-9 (tie 6th) NCAA First Round 1989-90 Providence 17-12/8-8 (tie 6th) NCAA First Round 1990-91 Providence 19-13/7-9 (tie 7th) NIT Quarterfinals 1991-92 Providence 14-17/6-12 (9th) -- 1992-93 Providence 20-13/9-9 (tie 4th) NIT Fourth Place 1993-94 Providence 20-10/10-8 (tie 4th) NCAA First Round Totals 6 years 108-76/47-55 (.461) 3 NCAAs, 2 NITs Year School Overall/League Postseason 1994-95 Clemson 15-13/5-11 (tie 6th) NIT First Round 1995-96 Clemson 18-11/7-9 (6th) NCAA First Round 1996-97 Clemson 23-10/9-7 (4th) NCAA Sweet 16 1997-98 Clemson 18-14/7-9 (tie 4th) NCAA First Round Totals 4 years 74-48/28-36 (.438) 3 NCAAs, 1 NIT Year School Overall/League Postseason 1998-99 Texas 19-13/13-3 (1st) NCAA First Round 1999-00 Texas 24-9/13-3 (2nd) NCAA Second Round 2000-01 Texas 25-9/12-4 (tie 2nd) NCAA First Round 2001-02 Texas 22-12/10-6 (tie 3rd) NCAA Sweet 16 2002-03 Texas 26-7/13-3 (2nd) NCAA Final Four 2003-04 Texas 25-8/12-4 (tie 2nd) NCAA Sweet 16 2004-05 Texas 20-11/9-7 (tie 5th) NCAA First Round Totals 7 years 161-69/82-30 (.732) 7 NCAAs Overall 18 years Overall: 363-203 (.641) 13 NCAAs, 3 NITs Conference: 166-126 (.568)