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The Search For a Head Coach

The search is on to find a replacement for Ritchie McKay

Oregon State Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart has been doing preliminary interviews trying to gauge interest and get a feel for the candidates being considered.  He was at the Final Four and was reportedly on his phone constantly chatting with people about the position.  Barnhart is said to be taking his time in this matter, trying to make sure he makes the right decision.  Here is a look at the latest status of the candidates:

No Chance:

Mark Few, Gonzaga head coach – Few has taken his name out of consideration for the job at Washington and did not even want to talk to Barnhart about the opening at OSU.

Ray Lopes, Oklahoma assistant – Lopes will be introduced as the new coach at Fresno State, possibly as soon as tomorrow.

Not Likely:

Tim Floyd, former Chicago Bulls and Iowa State coach – Floyd has expressed a desire to take some time away from basketball.  This probably means that he isn't interested in the positions that are available now and would probably rather wait to see what positions open next year.

Steve McClain, Wyoming head coach – McClain has a good contract at Wyoming and would probably need to be overwhelmed to think about leaving.

Could Be: 

Lester Conner, Boston Celtics assistant – Conner would be a popular pick.  He would generate lots of excitement for the program.  He is a strong leader and did very well in his time in Corvallis as a player.  The downside for Conner is that it's not certain how well he could recruit.  Rumors are that Barnhart is looking for an experienced recruiter.

Bobby Braswell, Cal State Northridge head coach – Braswell was a finalist the last time Barnhart was searching for a new coach.  Braswell has strong recruiting ties, as he was the recruiting coordinator at Oregon under Jerry Green before heading to Northridge.  The downside is that the Corvallis Gazette-Times is reporting that Braswell would not be interested in accepting the position if offered.

Mark Turgeon, Wichita State head coach – He would be a strong pick, although he may be reluctant to leave Wichita.  He has strong ties to the state of Kansas and was said to be thrilled to return there when coming from Jacksonville State (Florida) two years ago.

Jim Shaw, Oklahoma assistant – Shaw was an assistant at Oregon State under Jimmy Anderson for two seasons.  He grew up in the Northwest and would accept the position if offered.  The down side is that his ability to recruit has been questioned.  He has a great basketball mind, but he may lack the ability to command respect.

Most Likely:

Michael Holton, Portland head coach – Holton has great recruiting ties all along the west coast.  He was the recruiting coordinator at UCLA, where he pulled in top-notch recruits.  Holton had a rough year at UP last season, finishing 6-24.  But one of those wins was against the Ducks, which is more than Ritchie McKay can say for his two years in Corvallis.  His first recruiting class was one of the best in the WCC, a conference that includes two very good teams in Gonzaga and Pepperdine. 

Mike Dunlap, head coach at Division II Metro State (Denver) – Dunlap has led his team to two National Championships in three years.  His offense has been characterized as being "up tempo."  This is slightly humorous because a stationary bike moved faster than Ritchie McKay's offense.  I'm ready for anything other than the "wait until there's a second on the shot clock and throw up a 30-footer" offense.  I don't really prefer that offense.

My Pick:

I like Lester Conner quite a bit.  I don't think he is a bad pick, but I have a feeling that Barnhart is looking for a proven recruiter.  Conner could be a great salesman, but it is difficult to tell as he does not really have any experience in that area.  I think Barnhart will shy away from Conner's lack of head coaching experience and go with Michael Holton.  Holton makes a whole bunch of sense.  He has Pac-10 experience.  He assisted at Oregon State for a season before going to UCLA and I think he has what it takes to be a Pac-10 coach.


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