NEW AD GUY NORWOOD TEAGUE pulled the trigger and fired Gophers BB HC TUBBY SMITH. Ate the buyout and probably pleased at least 75 percent of those who pay money to watch the team and care about the program. The Tubby bashing became CHILDRESS-like bad after that awful loss at Iowa, and it happened today.
So, who's next? It's en vogue to make predictions on this, and I want to jump into the mix with a guy who impressed me as a player and a two-year HC for a team that has made the NCAA Tourney both his years as HC. And it's not VCU'S SHAKA SMART.
First, to better understand the logic, you have to know what the heck the well respected Villa 7 Program is. Being very casual college-sports guy I hadn't heard of it until today. It 's a developmental program that's been around for a decade, aiding assistant coaches at getting a fair shot with ADs when jobs open. Reading up on it, it seems to be a leadership-based, networking program that helped Smart land his spot at VCU and BUZZ WILLIAMS at Marquette. There are others, too, including my wild-card name for consideration here.
MIKE ELLIS, Teague's right-hand man here, and Teague have had a lot to do with Villa 7. So, I am guessing our next coach will be from the Villa 7 tree. Maybe it will be Smart, who must be very loyal to Ellis and Teague because of the life-changing chance he received at VCU? Maybe it's Williams, who has done a nice job at Marquette?
CBSsports.com has done nice work analyzing some of the possible replacements, and FLIP SAUNDERS name is on the list. I'd love for Flipnosis to coach this team, and if that's what it takes to get AV star TYUS JONES to opt to not go to Duke or Michigan State then do it.
That's a major key to this equation. The Gophers have to be a longshot in this race for Tyus, and the next HC has to convince the university he will give it a chance to keep Jones in state. Maybe Smart's charisma, acumen and equity is enough to close that deal? Flip would bring an elite offensive mind to the bench and NBA plays that would get the AV kid ready for the next level. Tell Tyus Jones Flip Saunders is coaching the Gophers and he might tell his friends and we'll house an amazing recruiting class.
I really have no idea who the next coach will be. BEN HOWLAND did amazing things with UCLA but is not from the Villa 7 program. Would Shaka Smart prefer this job or the UCLA post if, indeed, he leaves Richmond?
One name from Villa 7 success stories gone by is DAVID RICE, the coach at UNLV. Into his first year as HC of the Runnin' Rebs (2011) he was set to make $400,000 and his entire staff was paid less than $1 million. That stuff may matter when you are paying off/have paid off MASON, MONSON, BREWSTER and now Tubby. David Rice doesn't come with a big price tag and has revived a dormant UNLV program.
Just this season he and his Rebs beat Iowa State and Cal, both tourney teams, and battled UNC to the wire at Chapel Hill. He beat UNC last year. He has made the tournament both his years as HC, and Thomas and Mack draws like 18,000 people a game. David was a solid player for some good UNLV teams, so drawing him from his alma mater may be tough, but he seems to be an affordable, young (44) guy on the rise, and he was part of the Villa 7 program.
David Rice probably has no connection to Tyus Jones, and that doesn't help. But if you are looking for an affordable guy on the rise call Rice and gauge his interest. His offensive coaching is respected and Minnesota could be the logical next step. I'd like them to house Shaka Smart and never truly have believed Flip Saunders would be interested in the job. But the best chance to keep Tyus is to hire Flip.