The big board

Gamecock Anthem provides you with an early list of coaching candidates to watch as South Carolina looks to hire a new men's basketball coach.

While the search for South Carolina's new basketball coach is in its infancy, here's a list of a number of coaches that COULD be considered by South Carolina. Some of them are on for obvious reasons. Others because they have a backing in the Carolina community. And others are on the list simply because they're names that any school with a vacancy would have to at least consider.

Accompanying each coach is his official bio from his current school. Anthem will be updating the board with reasons why each candidate is on the list.

The Big Board
Gregg Marshall - Wichita State - 5 years
Bio: Gregg Marshall, whose teams have gone to the NCAA tournament seven of the last 13 seasons, was named the 25th head men's basketball coach at Wichita State on April 14, 2007. With five seasons behind him at WSU, the enthusiastic and energetic coach has the Shockers on the brink of making noise on the national scene after taking WSU back to the postseason for the first time since 2006, and winning the 2011 NIT Postseason Tournament.

The veteran coach brought WSU from 11 wins his first season to a school-record 29 wins in 2011 and the NIT Title, a first for the Shockers. He now carries a 276-138 career record in 15 seasons as head coach.

His 2009-10 team also played in the postseason NIT, received votes in the AP poll and advanced to the MVC Tournament title game, while the 2009-10 team played in the CBI.

WSU is 54-18 the last two seasons, as well.

Marshall, who is closing on 300 career wins, came to WSU after completing his ninth year at the Winthrop helm, as he led the Eagles to their finest year with a third-straight Big South Conference championship, a seventh NCAA appearance and the school's first win in the NCAA tournament.

The Eagles were ranked No. 22 in the AP and USA Today Top 25 polls. Marshall was named the 2007 Mid-Major Coach of the Year for his efforts, and also received the Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year Award.

Under Marshall's leadership, Winthrop had six 20-win seasons and averaged more than 20 victories per year. He led the Eagles to seven NCAA tournament appearances during his nine seasons, including four consecutive trips during his first four years at the helm. His 2006-07 team established new Big South Conference and school records for victories with the 29-5 record. The 2005-06 team compiled a 23-7 record and came within a basket of capturing its first victory in the NCAA tournament.

(Full Bio)
Shaka Smart - VCU - 3 Years
Bio: Shaka Smart's 11th-seeded Rams scored a series of NCAA Tournament upsets, five in all, to reach the Final Four for the first time in school history. Many have called it the greatest run to the Final Four ever. Along the way, VCU dispatched "BCS Conference" schools Southern California, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and finally, mighty Kansas, the Southwest Region's No. 1 seed. The Rams' 71-61 victory over the Jayhawks sent shockwaves through the sports world. It was later named the "Best Upset" of 2011 at ESPN's annual ESPY Awards.

Along the way, VCU tied a school-record with 28 wins, while Smart received the Fritz Pollard and Clarence Gaines National Coach of the Year Awards. The Rams finished the year ranked sixth in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, the highest in school and conference history.

VCU's 2010-11 was so incredible it managed to completely overshadowed Smart's 27-win, CBI Championship season in 2009-10. That squad produced Larry Sanders, who was selected in 15th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, the highest draft pick ever from VCU and highest from the CAA since the Rams joined the conference in 1995-96.

Employing a philosophy he calls "Havoc", part aggressive, full court offense and defense and part psychological warfare, Smart has led VCU to 55 wins in his first two seasons, the most victories over any two-year span in school history.

Smart's Havoc philosophy took shape while working with notable coaches Billy Donovan (Florida), Oliver Purnell (Clemson, Dayton) and Keith Dambrot (Akron) early in his career and is clearly paying dividends at VCU.

Smart was introduced as VCU's 10th head coach on April 2, 2009. Two years later, to the day, Smart led the Rams onto floor at Reliant Stadium, in front of a crowd of more than 75,000 for a Final Four matchup with Butler.

(Full Bio)
Tommy Amaker - Harvard - 5 Years
Bio: Nichols Family Director of Athletics Bob Scalise formally introduced Tommy Amaker as the head coach of men's basketball at Harvard April 13, 2007. He begins his fifth season at the helm in 2011-12.

Amaker, who brings a 242-190 career head coaching record into his fifth season at Harvard, posted a 108-84 ledger at Michigan and a 68-55 record at Seton Hall. Amaker, who has guided the Crimson to the postseason in each of the last two seasons, is 66-51 at the helm of Harvard.

Amaker, who won two NCAA championships and advanced to five Final Fours as an assistant at Duke before embarking on a successful head coaching career at Seton Hall and Michigan, has been quick to adapt to his new surroundings as a member of the nation's most prestigious university.

That support, along with Amaker's already notable reputation as a people's person, helped the Crimson land some of the country's top student-athletes in his first few years on the recruiting trails.

In 2010-11, Harvard established several program records, including wins (23), conference victories (12) and home wins (14). The Crimson defeated an opponent from the Big XII for the first time (Colorado) and bested Boston College for the third straight season. Harvard also earned a share of its first Ivy title, doing so in front of its home crowd at Lavietes Pavilion by topping Princeton, 79-67. The Crimson also participated in the NIT for the first time in program history, facing Oklahoma State in the first round. Following the season, Amaker was honored as an NABC All-District Coach of the Year, as well as the Ivy Coach of the Year. He was also named a finalist for the Ben Jobe and Hugh Durham coaching awards.

(Full Bio)
John Cooper - Tennessee State - 3 Years
Bio: John Cooper was named the 15th men's basketball head coach at Tennessee State University on March 27, 2009.

In just two seasons at TSU, Cooper increased his team's overall win total by five games, while helping the Tigers reach double-digit victories in the OVC for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign.

Cooper came to Tennessee State from Auburn University where he served as associate head men's basketball coach with Jeff Lebo.

Cooper has over 15 years of basketball coaching experience having coached at Oregon, South Carolina and Fayetteville State. This is Cooper's first post as a head coach.

A native of Kansas City, Mo., Cooper played collegiately at Wichita State, under Eddie Fogler. He led the Shockers in scoring and rebounding during his junior and senior seasons. Cooper a team captain his final two years and a Rhodes Scholar candidate in his senior year.

He spent six years as an assistant at South Carolina under his former college coach Eddie Fogler, from 1995-2001, helping lead the Gamecocks to the SEC Championship with a 24-8 record in 1996-97.

(Full Bio)
Tubby Smith - Minnesota - 5 Years
Bio: On March 23, 2007 Tubby Smith was announced as the 16th head basketball coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers Men's Basketball program. Since then, Smith has amassed 80 victories on the Gopher sideline, the most in a coach's first four years in the history of Minnesota basketball.

In those four years, Smith has led the Gophers to three post-season berths, a title in the ESPN Puerto Rico Tip-Off and to five victories over teams ranked in the top 10 or higher. Prior to Smith's arrival, Minnesota hadn't defeated a top 10 team in almost three seasons.

Smith came to Minnesota with a reputation for winning at the highest level not matched by many coaches in the country. In his 20-year career, he has claimed a National Title (Kentucky in 1997-98), made four "Elite Eight" appearances, nine "Sweet Sixteen" appearances and has posted 17 straight 20-win seasons. His 407 wins entering the 2008-09 season was the sixth-best record of any head coach in their first 17 years in NCAA Division I basketball, joining such names as Roy Williams, Denny Crum, Jim Boeheim, Nolan Richardson and Jerry Tarkanian.

On five different occasions, Smith has been named a conference coach of the year (1994 & 95 in the Missouri Valley Conference and 1998, 2003 & 2005 in the SEC). He has also collected national coach of the year honors on three different occasions (1998, 2003 & 2005).

(Full Bio)
Bobby Lutz - Assistant Coach N.C. State - 1 Year
Bio: A native of Catawba, N.C., Lutz led Charlotte to a school-record five 20-win seasons, averaged over 18 wins a year and won three league titles (1999, 2001, 2004) in his tenure with the 49ers. He had four top-20 national recruiting classes and tutored 10 players who earned first-team all-conference honors. Five times in his career a Lutz-coached 49er squad knocked off a top-10 opponent, including a win over No. 3 Cincinnati in 1999. Five of the eight wins over top-10-ranked opponents in Charlotte's history came under Lutz's watch.

In 2005, Lutz was a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award.

Prior to being named head coach, Lutz was an assistant coach at Charlotte for three seasons (1996-98) under head coach Melvin Watkins. The 49ers compiled a record of 56-35 and went to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments when Lutz was an assistant for Watkins.

(Full Bio)

All images courtesy US Presswire.

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