A Few Good Men

By now we've heard the names of the coaches on the University of Pittsburgh's unofficial wish list - Calipari, Prosser, Few, Crean, Dixon.<br><br> All have the qualities and makings of a coach poised to take over a budding national powerhouse. But who would really be the best and most likely candidate?


The Safe Pick
John Calipari - The current coach at Memphis took his program back to the NCAA tournament this year. While head coach at the University of Massachusetts, he saw the program thrive with 5 Sweet Sixteen, 2 Elite Eight, and 1 Final Four appearances. He was an assistant under Paul Evans during Pitt's golden years of the late 80's and is the unofficial pick of the boosters. That's all fine and dandy, but he's got baggage from his days at UMass. Also, he's graduating 0 players this year in Memphis. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

The Sexy Pick
Tom Crean - The flavor of the month right now in the NCAA tournament, Crean will surely get a hard look by Marc Boehm and other Pitt officials. But, would he want to come to Pitt? And is this year a fluke at Marquette? Crean might have a big run under his belt, but one big run does not make a career. Just ask Mike Jarvis.

The Underrated Pick
Jamie Dixon - Let's be honest. He'd make a solid Pitt coach. He knows the players and was Howland's top recruiter. He'd probably be able to retain all 4 incoming freshmen including Chris Taft. The question on Dixon will be if he's ready. Some say he is and others say he isn't. Some say that we deserve a big marquee name. The main reason I don't think it will be Dixon is the fact that Pitt's coaches the past 15 years have been head coaches at other programs (Paul Evans - Navy, Willard - Western Kentucky, Howland - Northern Arizona). It's just not in Pitt's nature to take assistant coaches in basketball and turn them into head coaches.

The Local Pick
Skip Prosser - He's led Wake Forest to an ACC regular season championship this year. He's also from Carnegie. He might want to come to a division where his team won't live in the shadow of Duke and UNC. He'd be my pick if it weren't for...

My Pick
Mark Few – Gonzaga, in my mind, has been one of the most consistent programs of the last 5 - 6 years. A mid-major powerhouse, the Zags routinely give great appearances (sans last season) in the NCAA tournament. Few also recruits gutsy, hard-nosed, smart players. He gets the most out of his talent much in the same way Ben Howland did at Pitt. If there was any one coach that I thought could lead Pitt in the same manner that Howland did, it would be Few. Besides, that jump from Mid-Major to Major would be a great career move.

John Biles
PittInsiders.com


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