Search Process Underway for New Coach

Cyclone Nation has learned that as many as 15 names are on a short list of potential candidates to take over for departed head coach Larry Eustachy, who resigned and accepted a contract buyout Monday afternoon.

The list is comprised of various Division I head coaches, assistant coaches and even a current NBA assistant with a proven track record as a college coach.

Here are eight of the most prominent names on that list, with bios for each.

Steve McClain – Wyoming head coach

This native of Orient, Iowa, has put together five stellar seasons at Wyoming in his first stint as a Division I head coach. He led his team into the postseason yet again in 2002-03, as the Cowboys made it to the second round of the NIT. Wyoming has a combined 100-52 record over that span. McClain has also showed the capability to recruit Iowa high schoolers since taking over as a head coach, and coached Alex Dunn (Sioux Rapids) and David Rottinghaus (Charles City) this season. Prior to taking over in Laramie, McClain spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Texas Christian.

Dana Altman – Creighton head coach

In eight seasons coaching the Bluejays, he has established them as a power within the Missouri Valley Conference. Altman is coming off a season in which he led Creighton to a school-record 29 wins and its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. He has posted a 175-100 record during his tenure. The native of Crete, Neb., also has experience coaching in the old Big Eight where his Kansas State team made three postseason appearances in four seasons, including a 19-11 run to the NCAA Tournament in 1992-93. Has had recruiting success in the state of Iowa, bringing in two-time Missouri Valley player of the year Kyle Korver. Interviewed for coaching vacancies at Georgia and Illinois this off-season.

Thad Matta – Xavier head coach

He has made quite an impact in his short time working with the Musketeers, going 26-6 overall in each of his first two season while compiling a remarkable 29-3 record in Atlantic-10 action. Matta led Xavier to first round victories in the NCAA Tournament in both seasons, losing to defending national champion Maryland in 2003. Coached prolific players in All-American David West and Romain Sato. The 35-year old Matta is the youngest coach in Xavier history and came to the school after spending one year at Butler and earning Midwestern Collegiate Coach of the year honors. Matta also spent three seasons at Butler as Barry Collier's understudy. Collier, of course, is currently head coach at Nebraska.

Mark Few – Gonzaga head coach

It might be difficult to pry Few away from a Gonzaga program he's been a part of since 1990. He has worked his way up the coaching ranks from graduate assistant in 1990-91 to eventually being named Dan Monson's (Minnesota) successor on July 26, 1999. Few compiled a record of 81-20 through his first three campaigns with the Zags – including two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances – before going 24-9 this season and losing out to Arizona in one of the best NCAA Tournament games in recent memory. The game went double overtime before Gonzaga succumbed to the Wildcats, 96-95. The 40-year old Few has roots in the Northwest and attained his bachelor's degree from Oregon and master's from Gonzaga.

Wayne Morgan – Iowa State assistant coach

One of the more prominent names on ISU's short list, Morgan could either take over as the next head coach or be retained by the new regime. The long-time Syracuse assistant coach under Jim Boeheim made numerous inroads this season recruiting the East Coast for Larry Eustachy. Morgan played a key role in the Cyclones' signing of preps Will Blalock, Curtis Stinson and Reggie George, and his remaining on board could help those three players make their way to Ames. Morgan also has head coaching experience, leading Long Beach State to a 91-84 record from 1996-2002. As an assistant at Syracuse from 1984-96, he coached in two national title games.

Johnny Dawkins – Duke assistant coach

Perhaps the biggest national name on this list, the 39-year old Dawkins just wrapped up his sixth season on the job at alma mater Duke, where he was named associate head coach following the 1998-99 season. A 1986 first-round draft selection, he began his coaching career after spending nine seasons in the NBA playing for San Antonio, Philadelphia and Detroit. Dawkins wrapped up his college career by becoming Duke's all-time leading scorer with 2,556 points, and still holds that honor. He led the Blue Devils to an 84-21 mark over his final three seasons.

Ray LopesFresno State head coach

After spending eight seasons as a top assistant at Oklahoma, Lopes moved on to Fresno State where he compiled a 20-8 overall record and won a WAC championship in 2002-03. The Bulldogs looked headed for yet another postseason bid, but the administration declared itself ineligible for the postseason after accusations of academic fraud. Pending repercussions to those charges could make Lopes an intriguing candidate for a Division I program. Lopes had taken over for departed coach Jerry Tarkanian. While an assistant in Norman, Lopes helped the Sooners to a 187-74 record. He also spent time as an assistant at Washington State, UC-Santa Barbara and Weber State.

P.J. Carlesimo – San Antonio Spurs assistant coach

Carlesimo's name had yet to circulate as a target for the Cyclones, but word has it that his interest has peaked in returning to the college game, where he gained much acclaim for leading Seton Hall to the 1989 national championship game. After spending time as a TV commentator, Spurs head coach Greg Popovich named him as an assistant last September. He spent 12 seasons as coach of the Pirates and earned the NCAA's national coach of the year award in '89. Carlesimo has a combined college coaching record of 291-272, and originally broke into the coaching ranks as an assistant coach at Fordham in 1971. He has NBA head coaching experience in Portland and Golden State.

News and Notes:

Among the noted ISU boosters that will help in the search for a new coach is Gary Thompson. Thompson will be asked to provide his input into the selection process. For many fans, ISU basketball begins and ends with Thompson, who obviously has an eye for coaching talent having helped land both Tim Floyd and Larry Eustachy.

Former Kansas State and Illinois Coach Lon Krueger has already been contacted by ISU. However, he has made it clear that he will remain in the NBA, which is apparently why he hasn't been a candidate for any of the big job openings this spring. Krueger has told ISU that he no longer has the fire in the belly where recruiting is concerned, and if he can't land another NBA head coaching position he'll stay in the league as an assistant.

Terry Carroll is not going to be the next coach at Iowa State. Neither is Utah State Coach Stew Morrill, whom Bruce Van De Velde hired to replace Larry Eustachy at Utah State.

Money will not be a consideration in the hiring process. ISU is prepared to pay upwards of $1 million per year for the right coach if it's necessary.


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