I’ve heard, somewhat obliquely, that athletic director Mike Bobinski was to make an aggressive run at a coach at a high-major conference, with a Tuesday meeting scheduled. The source wouldn’t identify the coach, not wanting to make waves at his present school.
Not exactly rock-solid information, but I have reason to believe it to be the case.
I’ve mentioned Pat Kelsey of Winthrop has been named as a potential candidate. The Eagles tied for the regular-season championship of the Big South this past season and led the conference in effective field-goal percentage. As noted previously, he was associate head coach at Xavier for two seasons and knows Bobinski well from their time together there. I think he could be a candidate, but I don’t believe Tech is zeroing in on him.
One more possibility
Another name to consider is Matt McCall at Chattanooga. He has only been at Chattanooga for one season, his first head-coaching job, and is but 34 years old. That said, he has a commendable background, assisting Billy Donovan for four seasons at Florida, during which time the Gators won 26 or more games three times, twice reaching the elite 8 and the Final Four once. This season, Chattanooga beat Georgia, Illinois and Dayton, won a school-record 29 games, won the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament titles. If he keeps it up, which wouldn’t be easy, he’ll be the next hot name.
Lastly, my understanding of Bryce Drew’s selection of Vanderbilt over Tech is that Vanderbilt was something of a “destination school” for him. I think he gave Tech consideration and may well have ended up there if Vanderbilt hadn’t entered the picture, but felt better about the fit at Vanderbilt.
As I wrote previously, there’s reasons to like Vanderbilt. There’s the SEC money, the fact that it’s a basketball school, a private university (like Valparaiso) and in an attractive city.
One more is that its previous coach, Kevin Stallings, was on the job for 17 seasons and, if not for Pittsburgh, may well have returned for an 18th even though recent years hadn’t matched previous standards. On the whole, Stallings led Vanderbilt to seven NCAA tournament appearances and two trips to the sweet 16. The Commodores had gone three seasons without an NCAA appearance prior to this past season, when they made the First Four and were eliminated in their first game.
It’s not a bad record by any stretch, although he was under .500 in SEC play (138-142) for his career at Vanderbilt. But it’s not the sort of patience that seems to be extended much in this era, and that might have made an impression on a candidate who, given the fact that he resisted multiple offers to leave Valparaiso, is likely planning to stay for a long time.
Brian Gregory, meanwhile, was shown the door after a 20-win season. There are extenuating circumstances to the decision, but I’d think most coaches would see the decision from the coach’s perspective.