After looking at the potential candidates who have some ties to Minnesota, let’s take a look at potential candidates from around the country. This is in no way a look at candidates that have been somehow tied to or linked to the Gopher job. These are names that should be intriguing and worthy of a look by Mark Coyle.
Over the last few years, Pitino had been on seat that ranged from lukewarm to hot. And keeping an eye on the coaching market has been on my radar throughout. Below is a lengthy list of coaches who would be fine candidates for the Gopher job.
Current Head Coaches
Dennis Gates - Cleveland St - Prior to earning his first head coaching job, Gates spent 2011-2019 as an assistant under Leonard Hamilton. But now, in just two seasons, he has lead the Vikings to their first regular season conference title since 2011. Gates is 41 years old and will get looks from many P5 schools with an opening.
Porter Moser - Loyola - Moser has been a hot name on the coaching market since he took the Ramblers to the Final Four in 2018 as an 11-seed. He’s followed that season up with a 2 more Missouri Valley Conference titles since then. His first 6 seasons at Loyola, he was unable to crack a .500 conference record. Since then, his last 4 seasons he has gone 56-16 (.711) with 3 conference titles.
John Beilein - formerly Michigan - Proven success in the Big Ten and on the national stage. This guy meets my qualifications of someone who has a very specific system, recruits to it and teaches it very well. Beilein would be a fantastic hire in the short-term. The biggest negative here is that he just turned 68. There are not a lot of active coaching years left and there would almost certainly have to be a succession plan in place from the very beginning. But I would be very excited about this hire.
Darian DeVries - Drake - After taking over for Niko Medved after his lone season, DeVries had his Drake Bulldogs undefeated through 18 games before dropping one and then losing their leading scorer for the season. A respected coach who has spent his career in Iowa.
Matt McMahan - Murray St - McMahan falls under my theory that sometimes the guy who gets credit for a good run at a mid-major is not the guy who deserves the credit. Steve Prom had over 100 wins in 4 years at Murray St before moving on to Iowa St, where he has struggled. McMahan has done well with the Racer program in his 6 years leading it, highlighted by back-to-back NCAA tournaments with the help of Ja Morant (who McMahan recruited). His 2020-21 season was not great, finishing essentially .500. So there isn’t much buzz here, but he has been a name worth watching.
Nate Oats - Alabama - Is it a stretch to think that the Gophers can pluck a good SEC coach? Not really, the SEC consistently is outside of the top 3 conferences (this year being the lone exception where they’ve earned 3rd) according to KenPom’s power rankings. I loved Oats when he was at Buffalo, leading them to back to back NCAA appearances. And in his 2nd season at Bama he has the Crimson Tide atop the SEC and primed for a 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament. Based solely on qualifications and a guy I’d be most excited about, he probably would be atop the list of the names listed in this article. His teams play great defense and are efficient on offense.
Wes Miller - Greensboro - After his first four seasons, Miller has had a great run at Greensboro. His last 5 years has seen 3 conference titles with a 2nd and 3rd place finish in the other years. Over these last 5 years, his teams have been very good defensively and fantastic at offensive rebounding. He is 38 and primed for a promotion.
Bob Richey - Furman - Sticking with coaches in the SoCon, the guy who took over the Paladins when Niko Medved left for Drake has been fantastic in his 4 seasons as the head coach. Richey, who is 37, has an 89-34 record overall.
Current Assistants worth considering
Howard Eisley - Michigan - This is a name that I ran across and found very intriguing. Eisley is on Juwan Howard’s staff at Michigan after spending 2010-2019 as an NBA assistant at a few organizations. His only ties to Minnesota are playing high school ball with Voshon Lenard and he was drafted by the Timberwolves. At Michigan he works with the guards and offensive sets.
Jon Sheyer - Duke - Another name I’m tossing on to this list because I’m intrigues. Sheyer has been with Duke since the 2013-14 season, is credited with the devopement of Tyus Jones (maybe the recruitment of Jones?) and is now titled an Associate Head Coach for the Blue Devils.
Jordan Mincy - Florida - Mincy is a young and hot name in the ast coaching world. He will likely get a shot at a lower D1 school in the near future. Jumping to Minnesota is a stretch.
Ulric Maligi - Texas Tech - Known as an elite recruiter who has spent most of his coaching career in Texas.