3/21 UPDATE: Pack Pride's Big Board

NC State's coaching search began last Wednesday, and the Wolfpack formed a search committee and hired a search firm on Thursday. Today we update Pack Pride's Big Board following the first week of postseason play.

NC State's coaching search began last Wednesday, and the Wolfpack formed a search committee and hired a search firm on Thursday. Today we update Pack Pride's Big Board following the first week of postseason play.

The board is now broken into three categories: coaches who are no longer involved in postseason play, coaches that have their teams in the Sweet Sixteen, and a trio of potential candidates who remain in the NIT.

NOTE: Sources have indicated that NC State could be looking to spend between $2-3 million annually for a head coach, which would make every coach on this list attainable financially.

However, that doesn't mean that each coach will be in the mix and a legitimate candidate as the process materializes, but this is a list to follow potential candidates through the search. We will continue to update the board, removing and adding potential candidates.

WAITING ON A CALL?
These coaches are free to talk with NC State and other programs after losing in the NCAA Tournament.

Rick Barnes - Texas
AGE: 56
CURRENT SALARY: $2.1 Million
BUYOUT: None

If NC State is interested in Rick Barnes there may not be a better time than now to throw everything they have at him.

He just lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and isn't in as strong a position as he was five years ago when the Wolfpack came calling.

He's a North Carolina native (as is his wife), he has ACC coaching experience (Clemson), he's proven he can win at a high national level, and (something most endearing to State fans) he has no love for Chapel Hill. Since he was hired in 1998, he has taken Texas to 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Final Four run in 2002.

Maybe Barnes believes the time is now for him to recharge his batteries and move on to another program. What better place to do that than on Tobacco Road?

Stat Tracker: Barnes has won three Big 12 titles at Texas and has led the program to two Sweet Sixteens, two Elite Eights, and a Final Four appearance in 2003.

Jay Wright - Villanova
AGE:49
CURRENT SALARY: $1.9 Million
BUYOUT:Unknown

Rumored to be a coaching favorite of Debbie Yow, Jay Wright and Villanova are back in Philly after losing their opening round game to George Mason.

It's been a tough season for Wright and the Wildcats. Nova began the season with a 16-1 start, but was just 5-11 over the final 16 games, ending the year on a six-game losing streak.

With seniors Corey Stokes, Corey Fisher, and Antonio Pena graduating, it could be time for Wright to evaluate his situation. He's been at Villanova ten years... maybe now is the time for him to make a move?

Financially, NC State could make a serious run at Wright, if interested. The Pack can offer big bucks, and Wright might have the ego it takes to succeed at a program like NC State.

Stat Tracker: Villanova has made it to the NCAA Tournament 7 straight years... Pittsburgh is the only other Big East team to accomplish the feat.

Mark Turgeon - Texas A&M
AGE: 46
CURRENT SALARY: $1.5 Million BUYOUT: $1 Million

One of the top young coaches in college basketball, Turgeon should have options this offseason.

He has A&M's program in great shape after its fourth straight NCAA appearance, and despite losing to Florida State in the opening round he should still be considered for all coaching vacancies.

However, he has reportedly has a $1 million buyout, and that could be a concern for some programs. Regardless, given his pedigree as a player and coach, he remains a potential candidate.

Stat Tracker: As a player, assistant coach and head coach, Turgeon has compiled a 26-13 NCAA Tournament record (8-4 as a player, 13-4 as an assistant, 5-5 as a head coach). Turgeon is the only active Big 12 head coach to play and coach in an NCAA Final Four.

Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh
CURRENT SALARY: $1.5 Million
BUYOUT: $1 Million

Financially, he is definite candidate for State, but he has turned down several jobs in the past few years, making it unlikely that he is looking to move on.

However, the Panthers were just upset in the second round of the NCAAs by Butler, and Dixon is developing a reputation for not reaching expectations in the NCAA Tournament.

He is done with the season, so NC State could certainly check in with his representatives. Dixon is considered one of the top coaches in the profession... it can't hurt to see if he's willing to listen.

Stat Tracker: Dixon has won three titles in eight years at Pittsburgh, leading the Panthers to two Sweet Sixteens and an Elite Eight appearance in 2009.

Mike Brey - Notre Dame
AGE: 52
CURRENT SALARY: $1.3 Million
BUYOUT: Unknown

This was supposed to be the year for Mike Brey and Notre Dame. With a starting lineup that featured five seniors, the Fighting Irish were ranked in the top ten much of the season and Brey has already won a couple of National Coach of the Year Awards.

However, he, like Dixon, has a reputation for flaming out in the tournament, and Notre Dame did that again. The Fighting Irish were blown out by Florida State in the second round, leaving Brey with just one Sweet Sixteen appearance in 11 years at the school.

On paper he has a lot of the qualities that Yow is looking for in a coach, but at this point would Mike Brey be the type of hire that would inspire the fanbase?

Stat Tracker: Notre Dame had a 45-game home winning streak between February 2006 and February 2009 - the second longest in school history. By completing the 2007–2008 regular season 18–0 at home, Brey coached the first team in Big East history to have consecutive undefeated seasons at home.


STILL CHASING THE DREAM
Don't expect to hear much on these coaches, at least for another week, as they have led their teams to the Sweet 16.

Sean Miller - Arizona
AGE: 42
CURRENT SALARY: $2 Million
BUYOUT: $500,000

Sean Miller has quickly become the people's choice for the position, and rightfully so as he is arguably the hottest young coach in college basketball.

Just 42 years old, Miller has won five titles in seven years as a head coach, and he has already turned around Arizona, winning a regular season Pac-10 title this season. He now has the Wildcats in the Sweet Sixteen after defeating Memphis and Texas over the weekend.

IF he is the top choice for NC State, it won't be easy luring him away from the Wildcats. With each win, his price tag likely goes up, and Arizona would probably be willing to match any offer at this point.

For Miller to leave Arizona for NC State is would need to be a decision based on non-financial reasons. A native of Pittsburgh, Miller's family is from the east coast as is his entire staff. Reasons like those could play a role in his decision, if the Wolfpack comes calling.

Stat Tracker: With five NCAA bids under his belt, Miller now has two Sweet Sixteens and an Elite Eight. He has a reputation for being a good tournament coach.

Brad Stevens - Butler
AGE: 34
CURRENT SALARY: $1 million
BUYOUT: Unknown

If Miller isn't the top young coach in college basketball than it is Brad Stevens.

Just 34 years old, Stevens has an incredibly strong resume. In four seasons he has won seven titles at Butler, and has an astounding 62-10 mark in the Horizon League. Last year he took Butler to the NCAA finals, losing after a last-second shot by star Gordon Hayward banged off the rim. This year he has them back in the Sweet 16.

Stevens was rewarded with a huge raise after last year, and even though programs like Oregon, Clemson, and Wake Forest came calling he remained loyal to Butler. The question is, just how long will he stay at Butler? Some think he is waiting on Indiana or Purdue to open up, but if they don't he might be looking to cash in on his success at some point.

He has a lot of the qualities NC State is certainly looking for, and the Wolfpack almost have to check in and see if he is interested. A basketball junkie, Stevens could be intrigued by the possibility of coaching on Tobacco Road.

Stat Tracker: Butler finished 2009-2010 ranked #2 in the Coaches' Poll, the highest ranking in school history. The school was ranked for 19 consecutive weeks, tying the school record.

Chris Mooney - Richmond
AGE: 38
CURRENT SALARY: Unknown
BUYOUT: Unknown

With each win Mooney is earning more money, and he has the Richmond Spiders in the Sweet Sixteen after knocking off Vanderbilt and Morehead State.

Mooney started his tenure slow at Richmond, winning just 21 total games his first two years, but has won 20+ games in each of his past three seasons.

This year he led the Spiders to a 27-7 record and a 13-3 mark in league play, winning the Atlantic 10 Tournament title to earn a bid in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

With coaching stops at Air Force and Richmond and a senior-laden roster, the time is now for him to move up to the high-major level. Programs such as NC State and Georgia Tech should be interested.

Stat Tracker: Has been a part of setting the school record for single-season wins at every stop in his playing and coaching career since high school, including setting the single-season for wins at Richmond this year (29).

Buzz Williams - Marquette
AGE: 38
CURRENT SALARY: $1.5 million
BUYOUT: Unknown

Considered a dynamic recruiter as an assistant for Billy Gillispie (Texas A&M) and Tom Crean (Marquette), Buzz Williams got his chance to be the lead man when Crean left for Indiana in 2008.

Endorsed by Marquette legend Doc Rivers, Williams was promoted to head coach a week after Crean departed, and it was viewed as a move that could keep incoming recruits and current players pleased with the state of the program... a move that paid off.

In three seasons he has led Marquette to three straight NCAA appearances and a 69-36 record overall. He has his team in the Sweet Sixteen after knocking off Syracuse last night.

Williams is believed to be a top target for Oklahoma, and should be under consideration at NC State as well.

Stat Tracker: A terrific recruiter, Williams landed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country in 2008-2009 according to HoopScoopOnline.com.

Williams also replaced Monte Towe at New Orleans in 2006, spending one year at the school before leaving to be an assistant at Marquette.

Shaka Smart - VCU
AGE: 33
CURRENT SALARY: $325,000
BUYOUT: $300,000

What a difference a week makes.

Last Monday, the talk around VCU was that they shouldn't even be in the NCAA Tournament. VCU earned a No. 11 seed and a play-in game invite, and took full advantage, defeating USC. Two wins later VCU is in the Sweet Sixteen and everyone is talking about their 33-year old head coach, Shaka Smart.

Smart, who started three-years at point guard a Kenyon College in Ohio, earned his stripes a top recruiter for Billy Donovan (Florida) and Oliver Purnell (Clemson) before taking over for Anthony Grant at VCU last year.

In his first season he led the team to 27 wins and the CBI Title, and he followed it up with a Sweet Sixteen appearance.

A terrific recruiter, he is certainly on the radar of colleges with coaching vacancies. With each win he adds to his resume the more likely it is that he will be somewhere besides Richmond, Virginia this summer.

Stat Tracker: Smart is now 8-0 in postseason play as a head coach.


NIT OPTIONS
These coaches may not have reached the Big Dance, but they are still coaching their teams in postseason play.

Greg Marshall - Wichita State
AGE: 48
CURRENT SALARY: $1 million
BUYOUT: Unknown

One of the top mid-major coaches in the country, Marshall will likely make the move to the next level at some point in the near future.

He completely built the Winthrop program into a frequent member of the NCAA Tournament, and in four years at Wichita State he has seen his team's wins increase each season (11, 17, 25, 26).

While he has yet to make the NCAAs at Wichita State, he narrowly missed this year and is winning games in the NIT, having defeated Virginia Tech at Virginia Tech over the weekend.

Marshall, who coaches with a lot of passion, will likely be under consideration for vacancies at NC State, Oklahoma, and Georgia Tech.

Stat Tracker: Gregg Marshall won 13 titles at Winthrop, but he is just 1-7 in NCAA Tournament games.

Steve Alford - New Mexico
AGE: 46
CURRENT SALARY: $1.1 million
BUYOUT: $400,000

Steve Alford was the Big Ten player of the year during his senior season in 1986-1987 and was also named a first team All-American. Alford competed in the LA Olympics in 1984, helping the United States secure a gold medal under college coach, Bobby Knight.

As a coach, he has won at every stop he's been. Since becoming a coach in 1991, Alford has had winning seasons 17 times and amassed a 404-220 overall record. While at Iowa, Alford made three NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the second round in 2001.

Alford led New Mexico to a 30-5 mark in 2009-2010 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Alford is fiery and regarded as a player's coach. He coaches with a lot of passion, and given his playing and coaching career he wouldn't be intimidated at all by the spotlight of the ACC.

He could be one to watch. Few realistic candidates will have a resume that includes conference titles at three different programs and NCAA victories at three different schools.

Stat Tracker: Alford won the Big Ten Tournament Championship in 2001 and 2006 at Iowa, and he won the Mountain West Conference regular season in 2009 and 2010 at New Mexico.

Anthony Grant - Alabama
AGE: 43
CURRENT SALARY: $1.8 million
BUYOUT: $1 million-plus

Grant's Alabama team probably should have been playing in the NCAA Tournament, but a bad nonconference slate damaged their resume, and now they are trying to win the NIT.

Grant, who was one of the country's top assistants at Florida prior to landing his first head coaching gig at VCU, has a lot of strong qualities.

He coached three seasons at VCU, leading the team to three consecutive regular season CAA Titles and two tournament titles.

In 2009 he signed a lucrative contract at Alabama, and led the Crimson Tide to a SEC West Division title in his second year.

Grant is a young coach who can recruit and is highly regarded in the coaching profession. It's unknown as to if he is looking to leave Alabama, but teams like Georgia Tech and NC State, schools with better basketball tradition, will likely inquire.

Stat Tracker: Despite leading Alabama to a 12-4 SEC record, Grant's team was left off the NCAA invite list last week.



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