IU Coaching Stock Report

It's been three weeks since Kelvin Sampson resigned and IU began thinking about a long-term replacement. Since then, coaches have been calling and university officials have been looking to see who might be a good fit. HoosierNation.com sorts through the rumors – both fact and fiction – and puts together a list of which candidates are seeing their stock rise, and which ones are falling…

Who's Stock is Climbing:
Brad Brownell, Wright State – Brownell doesn't have a national name, but he has a lot going for him in terms of his in-state ties and references. He'll have a host of people with plenty of clout calling on his behalf, most notably former teammate Calbert Cheaney and former bosses Royce Waltman and Jim Crews. That figures to carry some weight. IU Athletic Director Rick Greenspan knows Waltman when both were in the Missouri Valley Conference, and he hired Crews when he was at Army. Cheaney, meanwhile, has plenty of influence as well thanks to his All-America career in Bloomington. Brownell would likely be well received by some of those "IU family" types, and could be viewed as someone who could heal some of the wounds that remain from Bob Knight's departure eight years ago.

Bruce Pearl, Tennessee – While the Volunteer coach seemed like a stretch to me when the job first opened, I've heard from reliable sources that he would be interested in at least talking about the opening. If that's the case, it's hard to imagine IU wouldn't be interested in at least having a dialogue. He's done a remarkable job at Tennessee and has the Volunteers positioned for a No. 1 seed in this year's NCAA tourney. He also has Indiana ties thanks to his time at Southern Indiana, and has charisma galore that would be a big hit with the IU fan base. Rick Greenspan probably needs to hit a home run with this hire to appease a perturbed IU fan base, and convincing Pearl to come to Bloomington would be a 500-foot moon shot over deep center field.

Tony Bennett, Washington State – From day one Bennett's name surfaced as a candidate for the IU vacancy, and he's drawn ringing endorsements from both ESPN.com's Pat Forde and The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy for the job. While an athletic director isn't about to go on a media member's recommendation when filling a high-profile coaching vacancy, their columns shouldn't be discarded. Both have been around college basketball for a long time, are well connected within the coaching ranks, and are undoubtedly seeing good things from Bennett and hearing them as well from his coaching counterparts. Bennett's stock is extremely high after a National Coach of the Year honor last season and another 20-win season this year, so the timing appears right to make a move.

Who's Stock is Slipping:
John Calipari, Memphis – Like Pearl, I've heard from multiple sources that the highly-successful Conference USA coach would be interested in talking about the IU job. As good as his Memphis teams have been, Indiana would offer the opportunity to play at a storied program and in a state that worships the game, IU's team, and its coaches. Calipari could also likely utilize the services of his former New Jersey Nets' player – Brian Evans – as a go-between with Greenspan and other IU higher-ups. Those are all positives for Calipari, but he has some things working against him as well. He isn't the most beloved coach in the coaching fraternity, and that will hurt. Greenspan will undoubtedly talk with Vandy Coach Kevin Stallings (who recruits in the same state) and Army Coach Jim Crews, and if they don't give a ringing endorsement, Calipari won't get very far.

Dan Dakich, Indiana Interim Coach - While there are plenty of former players and long-time IU supporters who have supported Dakich as a potential full-time replacement, his chances are likely contingent on a successful postseason run. That appears unlikely when looking at how the team has played as of late. That's not Dakich's fault, as he was asked to step in and pick up the pieces from the mess that Kelvin Sampson created. He still has the Big Ten and the NCAA Tournaments to turn things around and build some sort of momentum to stay on a full-time basis, but chances of that happening appear remote.

Steve Alford, New Mexico – I've heard Alford's representatives have been trying to get their foot in the door with IU once again, and it's clear he'd still love to return to his alma mater. While he might have interest, I simply can't imagine that a "Greenspan Hires Alford" headline is ever going to appear on your doorstep. Greenspan snubbed Alford the last time around, and it's been well chronicled that they don't have much of a relationship from their days in the Missouri Valley Conference. I honestly could see Alford returning to IU as its head coach…if someone else was making the decision. Greenspan doesn't appear to be going anywhere, so I can't see Alford's candidacy gaining a whole lot of traction.

Bob Knight, former Texas Tech coach – Forget about everything that Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale say - he doesn't appear likely to win his first-round HoosierNation.com IU Coaching Bracket match-up against former Hoosier Mike Woodson! If the all-time winningest coach in college basketball doesn't have the IU fans' support against one of his former players who's never coached in college, then there isn't the sort of interest in his return that others might suggest.

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