Nebraska Coaching Hot Board 2.0

Many names will be throw out over the next few days for the opening at Nebraska, but here are a few of the hottest. Some might work, others not, but their names have all been mentioned.

Here is what Big Red Report does know right now. After athletic director Tom Osborne's press conference, he met with a group of reporters in the hallway.

Osborne said at this point they have not reached out to any hiring firms or individuals about helping with the coaching search, but that it is definitely not off the table. Osborne would not share any names of people he would call in the future for help.

When asked if he would have to hard sell the program to a coach, Osborne felt it would be a mistake.

"I think if you have to sell it, it's probably not a good fit," said the former legendary football coach. "You want to have somebody who wants to come here and is enthusiastic about doing it. If you have to twist their arm, it's probably not a good start."

Osborne was asked why the program has struggled for a long time now and what can be done to fix it.

"Maybe that's true, I don't know," the AD shared when talking about the lack of commitment to the basketball program – pointing out an old Devaney Center and before now a lack of a practice facility.

"The first thing that I wanted to do was the Student Life Center and the second was the practice facility. I think we have those two things in place," said Osborne. "Obviously Nebraska doesn't have a large number of Division One basketball players, but obviously the ones we do have we have to keep. That's important.

"I have done enough recruiting all over the country to realize you can get good athletes to come here."

One of the biggest questions marks when talking about a new possible coach has always been how much can Nebraska afford to pay?

Doc Sadler was earning $900,000, one of the lowest salaries in the Big Ten. To bring a high level coach to Lincoln, it will likely cost much more.

"We will certainly be competitive," said Osborne. "Where that will be will vary on the person and where they are at."

Nebraska Coaching Hot Board
Gregg Marshall
Currently: Wichita State HC (MVC)

Age: 49
Salary: $900,000
Career Record: 303-142 (109-59 at WSU)

Bio: Click Here

Notable: Marshall currently has the Shockers No. 14 in the country with a 27-5 record. He inherited a program that went 11-20 in his first year, but has improved in all five seasons. In 2009, they went to the second round of the CBI. In 2010, it was a first round loss in the NIT. Last year, the Shockers beat Alabama in the NIT Championship game to finish 29-8 overall. Marshall should be one of the most highly sought after mid-major coaches this offseason and is likely to get a run from South Carolina if the Gamecocks decide to fire current head coach Darrin Horn. Marshall is a native of Greenwood, South Carolina. Currently he makes as much as Doc Sadler, so a big pay raise would likely be in order.

Dana Altman
Currently: Oregon HC (Pac-12)

Age: 53
Salary: $1.8 million
Career Record: 453-269 (43-26 at Oregon)

Bio: Click Here

Notable: The former Creighton head coach has a good thing going in Eugene. In his second season, Oregon is currently on the bubble to make the NCAA tournament with a 22-8 record. While it's unknown if he would want to come back to the Midwest, his hire would definitely excite some and disappoint others. In addition, his buyout would be extremely large (over $1.5 million). Mix this in with his salary (would likely not take a payout) and Doc Sadler's $3.4 million dollar buyout, and it's unlikely Nebraska would be willing to spend that much money. Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne and Altman are friends, but it appears a deal couldn't get done.

John Groce
Currently: Ohio HC (MAAC)

Age: 40
Salary: $250,000 reportedly
Career Record: 82-55

Bio: Click Here

Notable: A former assistant in the ACC, Groce is known to be an up-and-comer in the mid-major world. The Indiana product has already taken the Bobcats to the NCAA tournament once and has a chance to do it again this season – after Ohio has won six of seven contests. Groce's teams are fast pace – currently averaging 70.9 points a game this year. This would be a welcome change from Sadler's defensive minded, slow pace squads. Illinois could likely make a run at Groce, if the names like Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart are not interested.

Scott Spinelli
Currently: Maryland assistant (ACC)

Age: 44
Salary: unknown

Bio: Click Here

Notable: An assistant for Mark Turgeon, Spinelli knows what it takes to recruit to Nebraska. He spent three seasons on Barry Collier's staff, helping land two nationally-ranked recruiting classes. "Scott is a bulldog recruiter with tremendous connection up and down the east coast," said Turgeon on Maryland's website. "He is also an excellent coach with a tremendous basketball mind." Spinelli was a strong candidate to replace Turgeon at Texas A&M last offseason, but the Aggies decided to hire Murray State's Bill Kennedy, so Spenelli followed his boss. He's often regarded by recruiting sites as one of the best recruiters in the country with strong ties to the east coast.

Shaka Smart
Currently: VCU HC (CAA)

Age: 34
Salary: $1.2 million
Career Record: 83-27

Bio: Click Here

Notable: Smart can be classified in the long-shot category. The Rams will be dancing for the second straight year, after stealing America's hearts last year with a run to the Final Four. No name might be hotter than Smart's right now, as the coach is listed as a candidate in almost every opening. Last year, he reportedly turned down the job at NC State, a job that would have put him around $2 million. Not only is he currently making more than Sadler, but to get him to Lincoln would cost a pretty penny. Throw in the fact that he can probably have any job opening he wants this offseason and his name is very unlikely.

Bruce Weber
Currently: unemployed

Age: 55
Career Record: 313–155 (Illinois & Southern Illinois)

Bio: Click Here

Notable: The question will become, is former Illinois assistant ready to jump back into coaching after getting fired on Friday – especially in the same conference. Weber was the AP's National Coach of the Year in 2005, after going 37-2 and finishing the National Runner-up. In nine seasons, the Illini never finished with less than 16 wins and collected over 20 a total of seven times. With strong recruiting ties in the Chicago area, Weber could help Nebraska's transition to the Big Ten.

Larry Eustachy
Currently: Southern Miss (C-USA)

Age: 56
Salary: unknown
Career Record: 402-257 (142-112 at Southern Miss)

Bio: Click Here

Notable: It's been nearly nine years since Larry Eustachy resigned at Iowa State for violating moral clauses in his contract. The head coach apologized and checked himself into an alcohol rehab program after photos were taken of him with college aged girls in Columbia partying. In a recent interview with Yahoo's Pat Forde, the now Southern Miss coach says he has not had a drop in eight years and overall his career is viewed as resurrected by many in the college basketball world. Winning was never a problem for Eustachy during his time with the Cyclones. In five seasons he made the NCAA tournament twice, including an Elite Eight appearance. Since taking over Southern Miss, the Golden Eagles have had four 20+ win seasons. This year they are 25-8 and are likely going to be dancing according to most Bracketlogists. In 2009, he made headlines when he gave the Southern Miss $25,000 dollars back, saying his 14-14 record on the season wasn't good enough. Would Osborne give Eustachy a second chance at the BCS level? If he keeps winning somebody is likely to.

Ben Howland
Currently: UCLA (Pac-12)

Age: 54
Salary: $2 million
Career Record: 361–191 (205-96 at UCLA)

Bio: Click Here

Notable: Many Husker fans will read this and think of the negative headlines associated with UCLA over the last few weeks. To read about those click here. But it's hard to ignore the accomplishments by Howland during his career. He was the National Coach of the Year in 2002 and five times in his career has taken his team to the Sweet Sixteen or better – including three straight Final Four appearances. So why Nebraska? Before his time at UCLA, Howland was the coach at Pittsburgh for four seasons (1999-2003). During that same time, Nebraska Executive Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm held the same position with the Panthers. Boehm will have input on the next hire, along with Tom Osborne. It's unlikely, but the past connection should not be ignored.

Bruce Pearl
Currently: unemployed

Age: 51
Salary: unknown
Career Record: 231–99 (Milwaukee and Tennessee)

Bio: Click Here

Notable: Pearl's name will likely be mentioned, but it's unrealistic to think Nebraska would be willing to deal with the restrictions put on Pearl by the NCAA. It turns out, the NCAA doesn't appreciate be lying to. The former coach invited a recruit to a family cookout in 2008, but told the NCAA a different story when first asked. After finding about other NCAA violations, Tennessee fired Pearl. On August 23, 2011, Pearl was given a three-year-show cause penalty. Meaning his major rule viloations will follow him to another college as well. As a coach, he's found success on the court, taking the Vols to the NCAA Tournament every year he was there, including two Sweet Sixteen and an Elite Eight appearance. Everyone can dismiss this name, it's not going to happen.

Tommy Amaker
Currently: Harvard (IVY)

Age: 46
Salary: unknown
Career Record: 268-193 (92-54 at Harvard)

Bio: Click Here

Notable: Previous stops at Michigan and Seton Hall didn't exactly workout the best, but Tommy Amaker is a respected coach in the college basketball world and in his fifth season Amaker has Harvard going somewhere they have never been before – the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson went 26-4 this year. Think about how great of a hire this could be for Osborne and Nebraska. Doing the "right thing" has been mentioned before by the administration - Amaker is known to be a high character coach. He won two NCAA championships and advanced to five Final Fours as an assistant at Duke before starting his own journey as a head coach. As a player, he was a four-year starter at Duke and made the 1986 USA team that participated in the World Championships and won gold. Amaker also would be Nebraska's first African-American head coach. While the Huskers are likely ready to open up the checkbook for the right fit, Amaker wouldn't require the same money that most on this list would want. He was rumored for jobs last year, but didn't take the bait after boosters helped boost his salary.

*** Only records as a D-1 head coach were included in this report.***

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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