Who Will Replace McKay?

Ritchie McKay has left Corvallis to become the head basketball coach at the University of New Mexico. Speculation has immediately begun as to who the new coach will be.

The early list of potential candidates includes former Oregon State player Lester Conner, Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few, University of Portland Head Coach Michael Holton, Wichita State Heach Coach Mark Turgeon, and Cal State-Northridge Head Coach Bobby Braswell.

Conner is in his fourth year as an assistant for the Boston Celtics. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the first round (14th overall) in the 1982 NBA draft after being selected as a consensus All-American and the Pac-10 Player of the Year. Oregon State had a record of 52-6 over Conner's Junior and Senior seasons. He was inducted into the Oregon State Hall of Fame in 1994.

Few recently completed his third season as the head coach at Gonzaga. He is also a candidate for the same position at Washington, although it is rumored that Quin Snyder will accept that spot. Few has led Gonzaga to a 29-4 record this season. His career record of 81-20 gives him the best record ever for a third year coach. His team reached the Sweet Sixteen in his first two years as head coach. He was an assistant for 10 years in Spokane before being named Dan Monson's successor in 1999. Before moving to Gonzaga, Few was an assistant coach at Sheldon High in Eugene and at his alma mater, Creswell High before that. Few received a degree in Physical Education from the University of Oregon in 1987.

Holton recently completed his first year as the head coach at Portland. The Pilots were just 6-24 in his first season, although Holton did beat Oregon, which is something Ritchie McKay cannot say after two years in Corvallis. Before coaching at UP, he was an assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator at UCLA for five seasons and helped the Bruins consistently rank among the nation's best in recruiting. Holton served as an assistant at Oregon State for one season (1995-1996) and also assisted at Portland and Pasadena City College. Holton played nine years professionally, including two years with the Blazers from 1986 to 1988. Holton played four seasons at UCLA, being named the team's best player as a junior and again as a senior.

Turgeon recently completed his second year as head coach at Wichita State University. Turgeon led the Shockers to a 15-15 record this past year, which was an improvement over the 9-19 record in his first season. Before coming to Wichita State, Turgeon was head coach at Jacksonville State for two seasons and an assistant under Larry Brown for the Philadelphia 76ers. Immediately after his four year playing career at Kansas, in which he played in three final fours and won an NCAA championship, Turgeon was hired as an assistant by KU. He remained there for four seasons before joining another former Kansas assistant, Jerry Green, at Oregon.

Braswell has been head coach at Cal State Northridge for six seasons, compiling a 97-79 record. Braswell served as a top assistant and recruiting coordinator under Jerry Green at Oregon from 1992-1996 and also as an assistant at Long Beach State for three seasons from 1989-1992. Braswell played collegiate basketball at Northridge.

Although those are the most likely candidates, we are also hearing A.C. Green, Bob Bender, Tim Floyd, and Nolan Richardson. Although those candidates would be stretches, it is believed that Mitch Barnhart will take his time with the search and investigate every possible lead.

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