Self Staying at KU; Who Is OSU's Next Target?

Bill Self has turned down a chance to return to his alma mater Oklahoma State as head basketball coach of the Cowboys, and will remain at the University of Kansas. The 45-year-old Self was considered to be OSU's No. 1 target to replace Sean Sutton, and athletic director Mike Holder reportedly meet with Self on Wednesday night.

So who does Holder go after now? This is one person's list of possible candidates (although, to be perfectly honest, only a handful of people actually know who the short list includes).

Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh
The 42-year-old California native (he grew up in Burbank, Calif.) does have ties to Oklahoma State (in a roundabout way). Dixon played basketball at Texas Christian from 1983-87, earning All-Southwest Conference recognition as a senior playing for Jim Killingsworth, the former OSU head coach (1977-78 and 1978-79). He was an assistant coach at Cal-Santa Barbara, Hawaii, Northern Arizona, Hawaii (again), and Pittsburgh, before taking over as head coach at Pitt when Ben Howland took the UCLA head coaching job. Dixon's five-year coaching tenure at Pitt has seen the Panthers compiled a 132-40 record and earn five consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2003-04. This past season's team – which defeated OSU 85-68 on Dec. 15 – finished 27-10 after suffering a second round NCAA Tournament loss to Michigan State.
Odds that Dixon becomes OSU's next head coach: 5-1

John Calipari, Memphis
Reports indicate that the Memphis head coach had his agent contact an Oklahoma State representative late last week to say Calipari may be interested in visiting once the season is completed. Is Calipari really serious or is he attempting to use it as leverage for a better contract at Memphis? That's the question that Holder is going to have to ask himself each and every time someone contacts him with a new name. If he's really interested, Calipari's record speaks for itself. The Tigers enter Monday night's national championship game with a 38-1 record, and they've won more than 74 of their games during Calipari's seven years as head coach. In his 15 years as a Division I head coach (at Memphis and UMass), his teams have played in two Final Fours, five Elite Eights and made six Sweet 16 appearances. He was also head coach of the NBA's New Jersey Nets for two-plus seasons.
Odds that Calipari becomes OSU's next head coach: 10-1

Sean Miller, Xavier
The 38-year-old Miller led the Musketeers to a school-record 30 victories this past season, including victories over Georgia (SEC), Purdue (Big 10) and West Virginia (Big East) in the NCAA Tournament before losing to UCLA in the Elite Eight. Miller was an assistant to Thad Matta before he left to take over Ohio State, and Miller was promoted to head coach. Xavier has been to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments and won 93 games (with just 39 losses) during Miller's tenure as head coach.
Odds that Miller becomes OSU's next head coach: 20-1

Anthony Grant, Virginia Commonwealth
The 41-year-old Grant's stock may have fallen just a bit after the Rams were upset by William & Mary, 56-54, in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. VCU still finished with a 24-8 record after losing to Alabama-Birmingham in the first round of the NIT. He has just two years of head-coaching experience, taking over at VCU when Jeff Capel was hired at Oklahoma. Grant, however, spent 10 years as an assistant at Florida and was responsible for recruiting many of the players who helped the Gators win back-to-back national titles the past two years. He was prepared to leave VCU and head back to Florida after just one season when Billy Donovan was hired to coach the NBA's Orlando Magic, but Donovan eventually changed his mind and returned to Florida, and Grant stayed at VCU.
Odds that Grant becomes OSU's next head coach: 35-1

Bruce Pearl, Tennessee
The Tennessee head coach has no reason to be looking for a job after receiving a commitment from one of the nation's highest-rated shooting guards, Scottie Hopson of Hopkinsville, Ky.., last week. Tennessee is expected to rework his contract (he made $1.3 million this past year, and is scheduled to make $1.4 million during the 2008-09 season) after he led the Volunteers to a school record 31 victories and the first No. 1 ranking in the nation in school history.
Odds that Pearl becomes OSU's next head coach: 50-1

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