2024-05-29 17:42:21
College basketball coaching changes: Utah fires Larry Krystkowiak, Richard Pitino quickly lands at New Mexico – Daily Sporting News
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College basketball coaching changes: Utah fires Larry Krystkowiak, Richard Pitino quickly lands at New Mexico

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College basketball coaching changes: Utah fires Larry Krystkowiak, Richard Pitino quickly lands at New Mexico

The days between Selection Sunday and the start of the NCAA Tournament have seen nearly a dozen notable headlines tied to the coaching carousel. Monday was a mammoth day. Four power-conference jobs cut ties with their coaches: Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota and DePaul. Meanwhile, Penn State and Boston College filled their vacancies. 

Then Tuesday brought even more dominos to be toppled.

The biggest news was an unidentified Indiana booster ponying up $10 million to pay for Archie Miller’s buyout, giving the school an opportunity to fire him after four seasons without having to pay said buyout with school funds. (That option was not an option at all.) So Indiana will be the best job on the market this carousel cycle, of course. IU will shoot for the stars, and in the end, it’s highly likely to land a big-name coach. The question is how long that takes to get done. If you’d like a deeper examination into the Indiana opening, our David Cobb has a look at some names, with some further intel from my end included in that story. 

On Tuesday, New Mexico filled its vacancy with none other than Richard Pitino, who was fired at Minnesota on Monday night. Sources told CBS Sports that Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan was instrumental in helping get the deal done. Pitino, 38, went 141-123 in eight seasons at Minnesota with two NCAA Tournament appearance and an NIT championship. 

Learn the latest in coaching news with this special episode of Eye on College Basketball dedicated to the coaching carousel.

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Another hiring was put into motion Tuesday, according to sources: UNLV coach T.J. Otzelberger is expected to leave his Las Vegas post after two seasons to return to Iowa State, where he was a former assistant. Here is my story on that. As these things go, a bigger job leads to a lesser job suddenly having an opening. And with Tim Miles heavily being involved at UNM before Pitino was the pick, maybe he’ll land (at a slightly better job) in Vegas? I’d have him atop my list if I was UNLV. 

Tuesday’s big firing came out of Salt Lake City, as Larry Krystkowiak was sacked after a decade running that program. The Other Coach K was among the 15 highest-paid men in the sport, but two NCAA Tournaments in 10 years will send you packing at a job like that. 

One contract extension of note from Wednesday: Drake locked up Darian DeVries in a new deal that goes through the 2027-28 season, effectively taking him off the market for this year’s carousel. The Bulldogs play Thursday night in the First Four vs. Wichita State. 

As for the other big jobs, let’s do a boom-boom-boom with what to know. You’re going to see some names repeated below, and it’s with good reason. Plenty of these coaches will be, and should be, up for interviews. The coaches named are a combination of my recommendations, in addition to some intel from industry sources. 

Utah: With Krystkowiak out, Utah becomes the second-best job to Indiana available. Historically it’s one of the 20 best in college basketball history. It’s in a great city, and those familiar with the college basketball scene Rockies-west will tell you that should be a top-four Pac-12 team two out of every three years. The two in-state coaches will obviously be linked — BYU’s Mark Pope and Utah State’s Craig Smith — but this job will truly have a national search behind it, and if it ultimately brings in an outside-the-box hire, I would not be surprised. 

Iowa State: Steve Prohm lasted six seasons, made three NCAA Tournaments … but a 2-22 year with a winless Big 12 campaign forced athletic director Jamie Pollard’s hand. Prohm would make for an ideal candidate at a place like Charleston, which just lost its coach, Earl Grant, to Boston College. We’ll see. With Otzelberger, it’s just a matter of waiting to see when the school announces the hire.

Minnesota: With Pitino off to New Mexico, names Minnesota should consider include these sitting head coaches: Arkansas’ Eric Musselman (probably has to be option No. 1), San Diego State’s Brian Dutcher, Porter Moser, Craig Smith, Cleveland State’s Dennis Gates and Colorado State’s Niko Medved. That’s a start. Feels like the school should have a lot of good candidates to consider.

DePaul: Dave Leitao is out, and athletic director DeWayne Peevy gets his first chance to make a hire that can transform a dormant program. Sources say the school will cast a decently wide net, but it feels like New York Knicks assistant Kenny Payne, along with Gates and Moser, are the top three options to consider here. You’ll get a yes from at least one of those, and I’d lean that the next coach will come from this group.

Penn State: Micah Shrewsberry has a background in the Big Ten (two stints with Purdue) and the NBA (six seasons on Brad Stevens’ staff in Boston) that put him on the path to getting this job. Penn State notes, “Shrewsberry played a key role in the development of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who were the No. 3 picks in the 2016 and 2017 NBA Drafts, respectively.” The Nittany Lions get a fresh start with a coach who has been buzzed about for a couple of years now. He nailed the interview process, and now gets to work at one of the toughest jobs in that league.

Boston College: BC getting its man means Charleston loses its coach. Welcome to Beantown, Earl Grant. The hiring was done on the low, as there was no buzz about Grant as a candidate for the job — though sources told CBS Sports the feeling was BC could close before the start of the NCAA Tournament. This went against some instinct, as BC alumnus Mark Schmidt was considered a frontrunner. Nevertheless, Grant takes over and returns to the ACC, where he spent 2010-14 as an assistant at Clemson.

Mid-major mill: Charleston’s opening becomes the most desirable mid-major job on the market. One source said “the entire world” is chasing that job … South Carolina State didn’t renew the contract of Murray Garvin … sources tell me more than 20 people have interviewed for the Fordham job, and there’s conflicting information over how soon it could close … at this stage, I wouldn’t expect but a handful more of low- and mid-major jobs to open.

We’ll continue to update news here as it comes in. 

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