The first major dominoes in the men’s college basketball coaching carousel fell earlier this week when openings at Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota and Utah became available.
In three cases, the previous hires by the Power Five programs came directly from mid-majors. Success when moving up the coaching ladder is hard to predict, but in each instance there was reason for optimism.
Archie Miller went to four consecutive tournaments at Dayton, including an Elite Eight, before taking the Indiana job. Steve Prohm was 104-29 at Murray State when Iowa State called. And Minnesota seemed on solid ground when hiring Richard Pitino, who had an obvious coaching pedigree and significant experience as an assistant at major programs, plus one year leading Florida International.
The results weren’t great in each instance. But if any of these three programs or any other big schools with future openings this offseason want to look toward the mid-majors, there’s a talented group available.
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Here’s eight coaches that should be receiving some calls:
Porter Moser, Loyola-Chicago
Having a Final Four on your résumé certainly is a nice start to any conversation with a potential employer. Moser has that. But even if that was written off as a one-year phenomenon, this season’s run by the Ramblers with a largely remade roster shows that he has staying power. The question is whether the Illinois native would be willing to move out of his comfort zone and face bigger expectations.
Brian Dutcher, San Diego State
The transition from Steve Fisher to Dutcher has gone better than expected. The Aztecs have won 96 games in four seasons, including a 53-6 record the past two years. The 61-year-old Dutcher has ties to Minnesota — he attended the school and his dad was coach of the Gophers — and was a longtime Michigan assistant under Fisher. Prying him out of the sunny weather in California after he waited so long for his first head coaching job might not be as easy as it seems should something bigger come along.
Anthony Grant, Dayton
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