The decision by Cuonzo Martin to leave the Tennessee Volunteers for the head coaching job with the California Golden Bears has left the program who went to the Sweet 16 this season as a No. 11 seed in need of a new coach to take the program to the next level.
ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman tweeted earlier that Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Richard Pitino is on the team’s short list and Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall is on the team’s radar.
But The Bleacher Report’s Jason King expects the Vols to approach higher-profile targets to replace Martin.
I expect Tennessee to contact guys like Marshall (no chance), Shaka, Howland and Michael White during coaching search. Should be interesting
— Jason King (@JasonKingBR) April 16, 2014
Wichita State Shockers head coach and Coach of the Year Gregg Marshall would appear to be an extreme longshot considering he was passed over by a previous athletic director at Tennessee and he is by all accounts happy with the Shockers.
Shaka Smart has had a great deal of success with VCU, but has turned down offers in the past from the UCLA Bruins and Illinois Fighting Illini, so would he now leave for Tennessee?
Ben Howland has been on the sidelines after a damaging piece from Sports Illustrated detailed numerous off-the-court concerns. Simply put, he lost control.
Michael White, 37, a former point guard for the Ole Miss Rebels is 74-31 in three seasons at Louisiana Tech where he has won Conference USA each of the past two seasons and has made two NIT appearance, advancing as far as the quarterfinals this season.
Prior to being named the head coach at Louisiana Tech, White was one of the top assistant coaches in the country with the Rebels from 2005-2011. During his tenure with the Rebels, White was a part of four 20-win seasons and built a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the southeast.
He may be the most realistic–and affordable–of the names mentioned by King, but would Tennessee fans have flashbacks to the last coach hired from Louisiana Tech, the inept Derek Dooley, who went 15-21 with only one SEC win in his final two seasons?
Fasten your seat belts as it may be a bumpy ride as Tennessee looks to fill their vacancy at head coach for the men’s basketball team.