In coaching searches, a lot of what you hear often comes from agents and people close to the coaches themselves. They're trying to get their name in the mix for certain jobs, or use the buzz about another position to create leverage for a new deal at their current job (see Holtz, Skip and North Carolina or Arkansas... falsely planted rumors which ended up costing USF $2.5 million in dead money over five years AND NO I'M NEVER EVER GOING TO LET THAT GO).
But in this case, we've tried to get through the smokescreens and really believe everyone listed below is actually interested in coming to Tampa. People we're talking to say this is a much-desired job, and you can see why: great weather, great airport, and admin that's (presumably if they get anyone listed below) willing to spend money to win.
Also notice Ben Howland isn't on this list. We're hearing he won't be the guy, but at this point he's the only one excluded from the names you've heard.
We'll speak about this later, but... really? This is OK?? No one else wonders about the professional ethics of the guy hiring the firm that just got him hired? This isn't even discussed? I'm not saying any impropriety is taking place, I'm just saying that prima facie looks... unusual. Am I being crazy here??
But we digress for now.
No, we're not kidding. When I sent out this tweet:
Splashy names I’ve heard so far: Buzz Williams, Andy Kennedy, Ben Howland, Frank Martin. Not even kidding. People think USF going big here— Collin Sherwin (@USFCollin) March 14, 2014
I almost cringed before I hit send because it just sounded so crazy. I attended and blog about The University of South Florida, and we never, EVER have good things like this happen. But I also knew it was right so I stuck with it. Turns out there is legitimate interest here, and it really could happen. Even the One-Eyed Screaming Bald Guy agrees:
And when OESBG says it, it's reached full mainstream media legitimacy. This could all be leverage for Williams since there's a new AD at Marquette forthcoming, but it's also possible some sunshine and palm trees sound appealing after seven years in Milwaukee.
Williams has been to the NCAA's in every one of his six seasons as the head coach at Marquette except this one, and won the 2013 Big East title and reached the Elite Eight last year. He's a name guy, he's got pedigree, and he's also not afraid to do crazy stuff like taunt the insane fans of Morgantown:
He's also has at least one tattoo and isn't afraid to get emotional when he's not screaming at people:
He's also a yeller. Cut to the 3:50 mark here and stick with it. It's fantastic.
He'd generate, welp, buzz around this program it has never seen before. Would be a huge get. Would also cost a huge amount of money.
Look what so many years of Marshall Henderson can do to a man: It'll make you turn down a CBI bid and possibly head for the palm trees.
Now in his eighth year in Oxford, the Bob Huggins disciple has been to five NIT's and one NCAA Tournament, coming on the back of noted crazy person Henderson's incredible run in the 2013 postseason. The Rebels won the SEC Tournament title and Ole Miss's fourth NCAA Tournament win in school history. It's tough to win in basketball there, but Kennedy has consistently competed for years now. Five NIT appearances including a pair of Final Fours isn't a bad record at a tough place to win.
The move would most likely be a lateral for Kennedy as Red Cup Rebellion explains here, and he is a Mississippi native, but that doesn't mean some change for change's sake isn't possible.
Tampa is the home of the Cuban Sandwich, so let's just make the Muma Center the ham, pork, and salami and have these two guys as the bread. Look out La Segunda!
Martin is an FIU grad and another Bob Huggins disciple that succeeded him at Kansas State, and won a lot in Manhattan. He went to four NCAA's in five years, including an Elite Eight run in 2010. His two years in Columbia haven't gone that well (28-38 overall, 9-27 in the SEC), and his recent one game suspension after telling his point guard to "answer the f-ing question, a-hole" (hyphens mine). But he's shown he can win, and his ex-players rave about how much he loves them (even if he yells at them a LOT).
You might worry about the lack of success at USC if he didn't have so much at K-State, but maybe it's just a bad fit there and he can find his mojo here. Also gets him closer to his home, which might help with his interest.
Just don't ask him to help with your Xmas decorations:
Another guy that could really inject some life into this program, Musselman brings an NBA resume that could be very helpful with recruits. After being an NBA head coach for three seasons with the Warriors and Kings, he went back to coaching in the D-League as well as the Venezuelan and Dominican Republic national teams. He's spent the last two years in Tempe under Herb Sendek learning the college game, and according to ChuckyCrater his Dad also coached the old Tampa Bay Thrillers of the CBA.
Breaking out your cell phone filled with NBA superstar names could be very helpful in recruiting in the living room, and apparently Musselman is a very likable guy with a great personality. Could be a great fit to inject some life into the moribound Bulls as well.