June 24, 2018

And They’re Off and Running…

As the search for a new man to lead the Razorback basketball program heats up, the rumors about potential candidates continue to swirl.

We’re big fans of Oaklawn around here.  And being that we have a penchant to be closet handicappers anyway, here’s the RBN take on the contenders to be the next basketball coach at the University of Arkansas.  Pick your horse and make your wager.  They are nearing the starting gate.

Mike Anderson (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)Mike Anderson, Missouri (Age 51, Career Record 200-96) — Current Odds: 2-1.  The heavy, early line favorite.  Mike has tremendous support from the fan base and could be one of two candidates (Self) to truly unite the fan base.  His up-tempo style is what Hog fans crave.  The only reason he’s not going off at lower odds is that we don’t trust AD Jeff Long completely to give him his due consideration.

Buzz Williams, Marquette (Age 38, Career Record 79-49) — Current Odds: 4-1.  Fourth year with the Golden Eagles, after taking over for Tom Crean who jumped to Indiana.  Williams is a native Texan and word is he would like to get back closer to home.  Not flashy, but organized to the gills, good floor coach and an excellent recruiter.

Mark Turgeon, Texas A&M (Age 46, Career Record 248-156) — Current Odds: 5-1.  The former Kansas point guard, Turgeon has developed into one of the best “X’s and O’s” coaches in America.  Worked for Larry Brown and Roy Williams before taking Wichita State and Texas A&M to the NCAA Tourney five times.

Tubby Smith, Minnesota (Age 59, Career Record 467-198, 1 NC) — Current Odds: 6-1.  Tubby is the oldest coach on this list.  And while we’re sure he would like to be back ‘down south,’ he’s probably not a long-term solution for anybody looking for a coach.  Might be a plausible, short-term guy if the ‘home run candidates’ fall through.

Gregg Marshall, Wichita St. (Age 48, Career Record 271-137) — Current Odds: 8-1.  Marshall has had tremendous success at two stops (Winthrop and Wichita St.), winning 13 regular season or conference tournament championships.  His teams have reached the NCAA tourney seven times.  He is widely regarded as a solid floor coach and seems ready to jump to a larger opportunity.  Defensive-minded, and his teams play hard.

Tim Floyd, UTEP (Age 57, Career Record 345-153) — Current Odds: 12-1.  Surprisingly, Floyd has a lot of supporters even after his tumultuous departure from USC (he was not implicated in any NCAA rules violations).  His nomadic nature (7 stops in 21 years) hurts him, as does his failed stint (49-190 in 4 seasons) with the Chicago Bulls.

Billy Gillispie, Unemployed (Age 51, Career Record 140-85) — Current Odds 15-1.  Would have landed at Arkansas four years ago had the Kentucky job not come open.  A complete misfit at Lexington, Billy Clyde’s departure was epic.  Three previous DUI arrests might get him in the “Otis Campbell Hall of Fame,” but make him almost un-hirable to most.

Cuonzo Martin (AP Photo/Beth Hall)Cuonzo Martin, Missouri State (Age 39, Career Record 60-40) — Current Odds: 18-1.  Cuonzo has things rolling up in Springfield as the Bears won the Missouri Valley in 2011, and Martin was named MVC Coach of the Year.  Playing and coaching for Gene Keady at Purdue, Martin’s teams are very solid on the defensive end.

Frank Martin, Kansas State (Age 45, Career Record 94-42) — Current Odds: 20-1.  Martin’s resume should land him higher on this list, but his temperament both on and off the court makes him a risky investment for a lot of schools.  He knows what he’s doing as evidenced by last year’s run to the Elite Eight.  Solid recruiter.

Bill Self, Kansas (Age 48, Career Record 438-150, 1 NC) — Current Odds: 25-1.  Don’t laugh.  While Self seems untouchable at Kansas, the shockwaves when Texas nearly bolted the Big 12 last year still linger.  Would Kansas be the same job if the school was in a mid-major conference?  Could have had him a few years back, but if they want him now, it will cost the Hogs ($$$) dearly.

Scott Drew, Baylor (Age 40, Career Record 147-126) — Current Odds: 25-1.  Drew is the “shiny object” in this list that could easily distract an AD that is not on his toes.  Several exposes on the Bears “shady recruiting practices” are a huge red flag.  Has surrounded himself with AAU characters.  Buyer beware.

Matt Painter, Purdue (Age 40, Career Record 155-65) — Current Odds: 30-1.  Why would Painter, a Purdue alum, leave his alma mater?  Money.  His current contract of $1.3 million puts him eighth in the Big 10.  EIGHTH !!!

Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa (Age 40, Career Record 108-55) — Current Odds: 35-1.  One of the best ‘up and comers’ out there, Jacobson has been at Northern Iowa for five seasons, leading the Panthers to the Sweet 16 in 2010.  Incredibly loyal to UNI, though, and despite his low salary (450K), will probably stay put.

Doc Sadler, Nebraska (Age 50, Career Record 136-84) — Current Odds: 50-1.  The Greenwood, Arkansas native is a local favorite.  Doc has had a nice career at UTEP and Nebraska, but has only made the NCAA Tourney once in seven seasons as a head coach.

The Field — Current Odds 30-1.  We think the next coach is coming out of this list, but if Long shoots and misses at Anderson, then it’s a wide open race — anything could happen then.  Here’s hoping he (or the Board of Trustees) make the right move, and Razorback Basketball returns to an elite level where it belongs.

  • OwassoHog

    How about going after somebody like Brad Stevens from Butler?

    • oldskooljt

      I second the Brad Stevens idea…evn if he looks younger than some of his players 🙂

      • Zephyr

        There is no chance Brad Stevens is leaving his current position.


    • There are many true Razorback fans who would like to see M Anderson return, and put the Hawgball back in basketball that we used to know & be proud of! I would really like to see our 40 minutes of Up & Down the court, instead of up & down the polls…….

    • gohogs

      not anderson we have already been there. stevens or self would be great

    • Anonymous

      Mike Anderson will be a big mistake. What has mizzou done?

  • Mike in Magnolia

    Is Rick Patino not a possibility? I mean we did have Bill Clinton as a Governor…….?????

  • kendall

    I do not think Anderson unites the fan base completely. I like the guy and wish he had been hired when Nolan was let go. But I think for him it would be considered a risky move and although most may like him there will be a group that will not. So he would come with a built in group that does not like him. I think he will not come for that reason. Not worth the risk with a built in group already with a grudge.

    • OwassoHog

      Well said!

    • uvahog

      What group? Racist Nolan haters?

  • gas hawg

    Anyone on this list – aside from Doc Sadler – is a significant improvement from where we have been the past four years.

  • Hawgfan100

    I admire the optimism but there is simply no guarantee of ‘significiant improvement’ (however that is measured)…we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Kevin Sterling

    Any thought about Mark Gottfried? Former Alabama coach who was quite successful. Knows the SEC and could be ready to return to coaching.

    • I always thought Gottfried did a good job at Alabama. Its tough coaching at your alma mater. Thought he kinda got burned out at the end of his run there, so he may be happy with the color commentary gig for a while.

  • BoogerCounty

    I highly doubt Anderson will leave Mizzou. Especially when you consider he’s just recruited his “nephews” Phil and Matt Pressey to Columbia.

    I wish we could get him, but I don’t think its gonna happen.

  • Buzz Williams is the top choice for me. He’s a great young coach, motivated, he’s from this region of the country and has recruiting ties in Texas, (mainly D. Abron’s neck of the woods) Louisisana and Arkansas.

    He’s currently recruiting Archie Goodwin very heavily for Marquette, so he already has a head start on the 2012 class.

    I have concerns about Mike Anderson’s recruiting of our 2011 class. I’m not aware the he even offered B’J. Young a scholorship, so that sends a red flag up for me, since B.J lives in Anderson’s back yard.

    Ricky Scott and Mardracus Wade are the only Razorbacks I’m aware of that was recruited by Mike. Does anyone know who else he may have recruited?

    Not sure Mike is the right fit.

    • Mike and other big programs (Kansas, Kentucky, etc.) didn’t spend as much time in the recruitment of Young because it was/is a longshot for him to qualify.

  • Sunshine,

    I was wondering if that had anything to do with it, but just recently, B.J. made a 22 on his act after an earlier test score of 17.

    Do you believe this dramatic increase will force the NCAA to throw a red flag on B.J. and possibly investigate his testing?

    I know I read in a Scout article where B.J. had scored a 22 and was looking to increase the score even higher. By his comments, it looked like he was on his way. Do you no something more about his academics?

  • OwassoHog

    Anybody see anything from the Missouri game that would still want them envious? Defense? Offensive? Coaching? I haven’t watched them until tonight so I don’t know how typical this game was vs. normal. They definitely were out played by a higher seed and better team so I’m not totally surprised at the outcome. Just looking for feedback on the 2-1 favored above.

    • OwassoHog

      Oh yeah… outside of the fact they were playing in March Madness!

    • That goes back to one of my goals of the program. At least make the tourney in your down years. This was not one of Mike’s best teams, and they sure didn’t play well last night. He could have used another shooter.

  • murray akers

    I agree, Mike A not the best fit. Buzz or Brad would-be better choice

    • Mike in Magnolia

      I agree murray. I know it was only one game but I sure wasn’t impressed with MO. last night, especially with there rebounding.

  • Owasso Hog2

    What we really need to find would be a younger version of Bobby Night

    And yes chair thrower would be bonus

    • Roadhog

      I like a good chair-thrower. . .if the accuracy is there.

  • OlyWaHog

    Let’s make a big splash in college basketball and hire Pat Summitt. We’d have everybody in sports talking about Arkansas, and every game on TV.

    • Bacon Bits


    • Roadhog

      How strange, I thought of Pat Summitt too. For the same reason: first fem D1 men’s coach, I believe it would be. I would prefer a younger, hotter version tho, if available.

  • Porcine

    All things considered I’ll take Self or Turgeon if we can afford them, if not then Marshall.

    • Roadhog

      I would take Self myself. Anderson better than Pelphrey, but no Nolan Richardson. The rest of these guys, save Tubby, seem to be in about the same league as Pelphrey, maybe a little better, but national championship contenders? Ya think?

      • Porcine

        Too much parity in college basketball these days to predict potential championship coach. Too many old guys and unproven young guys. Those three seem to have the best combination of youth and experience to build a a lasting program here. We had a top program for 16 or so years before we got our championship. We need to get a long term answer and I these guys can do that the best of who’s listed.


    • We don’t have enough money to even get a 2nd glance from Bill Self. He currently makes 3 mil. at Kansas and probably wouldn’t even consider talkin to us for less than 3.5 already on the table.

      Forget about Bill. He isn’t coming to Arkansas. We aren’t spending that kind of money on a basketball coach when Petrino is making 3.5 mil.

      Same goes for Mike Anderson. He’s staying at Missouri.

      Frank Martin is a long-shot, but he’s still a more likely candidate to leave Kansas St. than either of those two guys leaving their schools.

      Best bets for the Arkansas job are Marquette’s Buzz Williams, Texas A&M’s Mark Turgeon and Wichita St’s Gregg Marshall. By the way, all three of these guys can coach. It’s just a matter of who’s the best fit?

      If you think these guys are nothing but “up and comers”, just because they haven’t coached a “name” team to super sucsess, then you don’t follow college basketball. These guys have already took off.

      • soupdhog

        The Bill Self talk is idiotic. Why would a coach making 3 mil in a top 5 program leave for a rebuild? It would be a step down for him even if we paid more.

      • If Anderson isn’t a Hog by Monday, you’ll know that the target is Self, and the fallback is Mike and Buzz in that order. Appearantly Self has not shut the door.

        Why would he come you ask? Ever been disgruntled or dissatisfied with your employer? What if an influential booster was willing to foot the bill to get Arkansas Basketball back on the map? A booster who’s got more money than he could ever spend, and who’s sick and tired of watching the program disolve.

        Don’t discount the possibility.


      • soupdhog

        OK, obviously you’re closer to this than I am. It doesn’t make sense to me, but would be incredible if Self was a Hog.

  • Interesting point, Sunshine. I have heard rumors on the disgruntled employer thing and the possible conference stability issues (Texas) with the Big 12.

    I still believe it would be a major long shot for that to happen, but do we really want to become Auburn? I question a situation where we’re letting one major influence pay for the tab.

    Remember, Bud Walton is THE reason we were able to build BWA, but those were the glory days and there was no reason for one guy to tip his hand in any way toward the basketball program. He’s past away since, so the only thing we really owe him is our gratitude. This is another situation all together. We have one money man looking to take charge of the coaching search?

    Sounds like future trouble to me and earily too much like what AU is doing right now. Do we really need that kind of financial leadership at the UofA?

  • OwassoHog

    I’m telling you… go and get Brad Stevens! We can do it!

  • KabiachiHog52

    Brad Stevens can practice coach, game coach, and last 60 seconds coach. He is also a players’ coach. MA time has passed for UA.

  • RazorHog

    How about Jamie Dixon from Pitt? Here is a well established coach who has had consistant success at Pittsburgh. Jeff Long used to be the AD there, I think we could get him.

  • HungryHog

    Monday afternoon and no press conference.

    That means either Mike is not #1 choice or Mike and Long couldn’t agree.

    If what Sunshine says above is true – and Mike is not first choice, what really is going on behind the scenes? Does anyone here REALLY know how this works? I know Buzz isn’t going to be talking right now, but Buzz has an agent. They say active coaches aren’t interested in talking, but honestly? Is Long seriously just sitting around waiting on these guys to lose? Does he just tell Mike, “we want you, but we need to get our ducks in a row”? or do they tell him we are waiting to see how these others play out?

    Anyone really know what happens in these limbo times?

    Come on Jeff Long.. This is your Final Four – your BCS Game.. We didn’t bring you in to Paint.. Do us proud!

  • KabiachiHog52

    We need to wait a while on this thing. Judging by some of the comments I already heard, the Hog Fans are not sure who they would support presently. I hope the coaches or their agents aren’t reading what I’m reading. We don’t need another Coach-for-the Day. I say wait and see who shakes out.

  • Defense Wins Champio

    We do not need Mike (recruits-can’t-graduate-under-Nolan)Anderson. Anderson would not want his clock cleaned a second time. He brings too much baggage and I do not see him wanting to change at this state of his career and perhaps never change. I would hope that our AD is able to do better than that! I do not have a favorite but am totally opposed to a retread like Mike. Moved too slowly for Gillespie, since TT has now hired him. Probably not a good fit for Arkansas. There are of course many other possibilities that our AD is looking at and very well may be in talks with even now. I suppose we could cut our AD’s salary to find some of the money. He would not mind since he is not in it for the money :). The man from Craighton saw the big problems in UofA and smartly did not want to be the sacrificial lamb as Pel obviously became. AT least next coach does not wade into a mess that was left for Pel. Face it. The program was totally messed up commencing with last years of “I do not care whether they graduate Nolan”.