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jazzdelmar
12-04-2014, 08:26 AM
New breed of coaching legends
By Jay Bilas and Jeff Goodman
ESPN Insider


Arizona's Sean Miller has averaged nearly 25 wins per season over his first 10 years.

This week college basketball insiders Jay Bilas and Jeff Goodman discuss which young coaches will be viewed within the pantheon of greats in the coming decades.

Jeff Goodman: OK, Jay. The old guys aren't getting any younger. Larry Brown is the elder statesman at 74, Jim Boeheim just hit 70, Steve Fisher is 69, Coach K is 67, Bo Ryan is 66, Roy Williams is 64, Rick Pitino is 62 and guys like John Beilein, Lon Kruger, Bob Huggins, Rick Barnes and Tim Floyd are on the other side of 60. Even Tom Izzo turns 60 in January! It's time to start looking at who's next.

Who will be the guys that will move into the upper echelon of college basketball coaching? Obviously it's tough to tell, because we don't know whether any of these guys will be poached by the NBA, but I'm starting with these six: John Calipari, Bill Self, Billy Donovan, Sean Miller, Jay Wright and Mark Few.

Calipari is 55 years old, but Kentucky basketball won't take a dip as long as he remains in Lexington. Self is 51 and he's also at one of the college hoops royalty programs, so he'll be a fixture fighting for Final Fours. Donovan turns 50 shortly after the season ends, and despite being at a "football school," he'll have Florida among the top teams virtually every season.

Miller is just 46, but he's done an incredible job in Tucson stockpiling talent and returning Arizona basketball to national power status. I'll also go with Wright and Few, as both have it going and I don't see either one leaving. Wright is 52 and Few is 51.

Jay Bilas: Just like you to go with four guys who are already locks for the Naismith Hall of Fame in Calipari, Self, Donovan and Few. I absolutely agree, despite the fact that they are all getting AARP discounts and can move up a tee box in the offseason. They just aren't as old as the guys you listed. Miller and Wright are great calls, as well. Miller is a star, Wright has had a great career, and I see little chance of that changing.

But you are leaving out a few coaching stars that simply don't get the headlines. Thad Matta is one of them, and if he stays healthy, he will continue to put up numbers. I believe Shaka Smart of VCU is among the top young coaches in the game, and he will have a long career that I believe will be worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. Fred Hoiberg of Iowa State and Kevin Ollie of UConn would be on this list, as well, if I didn't believe both would be in the NBA soon. Tony Bennett of Virginia is the real deal as a young coach, as are Gregg Marshall of Wichita State and Tommy Amaker of Harvard.

And, here are a few really young or overlooked guys to think about: Wake Forest's Danny Manning is a star, Marquette's Steve Wojciechowski is a star, and Minnesota's Richard Pitino is a star. All are at places that need a rebuild, but all are really smart, sharp and have the ability to be big-timers.

Goodman: It's difficult to argue with you on any of the guys you mentioned, and I agree that The Mayor, Hoiberg, could be scooped up sooner rather than later by the NBA. I like the picks of guys like Manning, Wojo and Little Richard (Richard Pitino) -- and I'll add a few more to that list with 51-year-old Tad Boyle (Colorado), 40-year-old Chris Collins (Northwestern), 37-year-old Michael White (Louisiana Tech) and 36-year-old Archie Miller (Dayton).

I'm going to go one step further, though, since you mocked me for my selections of Calipari, Self, Donovan and Few. I'm going with a handful of assistants who will be terrific head coaches -- once they receive the opportunity. Syracuse coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins will be terrific if Boeheim ever calls it a career, and the same can be said for Gonzaga's Tommy Lloyd if and when Few ever chooses to retire. However, I'm going to try and show some foresight here: Look for Ohio State assistant Greg Paulus to get a shot soon. I'd love to see former Butler point guard and current Boston Celtics assistant Ronald Nored get a shot at a head Division I gig. I'll also throw guys like the VCU duo of Mike Morrell and Jeremy Ballard, Villanova assistant Baker Dunleavy (has good bloodlines and can coach), San Diego State assistant Justin Hutson (runs the defense for the Aztecs) and former NBA star and Arizona assistant Damon Stoudamire into the fray.

One guy that was on track, but we haven't mentioned yet is 42-year-old Buzz Williams. That one will depend on where his next home is, because I don't think he can do it at Virginia Tech. I'd state the same case for South Carolina's Frank Martin. The place of residence is extremely important. I'd make a case that whoever takes over for Roy Williams at UNC and Pitino at Louisville will wind up in the Hall of Fame.

Bilas: Not mocking you, bro. It's just that Self, Cal, and Billy D aren't, in my mind, "the next breed" of coaches. They are the current breed, and on the top tier of the very best in the game, and in the game's history. To me, when we say "next" we are talking about those who haven't "been there, done that" for so many years. It's like putting you on a list of up-and-coming writers!

It's funny how things have changed over the years. When I was in college, a "young coach" was 30 years old and in his third or fourth season as a head coach. Now, some of our "young guys" are in their late 30s and 40s and have been assistants for over a decade. The old way of taking a smaller job, learning how to be a head coach, then taking over a major program seems to be long gone. Now that these jobs pay so well, especially assistant coaching jobs, the big shots don't want to leave, and it pays for an assistant to wait for the right opportunity. And, while you are waiting, you are making more money than the head coaches at smaller schools and you are flying private to games and to recruit. The days of Beilein taking the LeMoyne job despite never having been an assistant coach seem to be long gone. We are in an age of search firms and big money. The game has changed.

I am a huge fan of Boyle and Collins, both of whom have been on the scene for a while now and are highly respected. White is a superstar and has done a remarkable job at Louisiana Tech. He has this in his blood, as his father and brothers are all ADs. I'll tell you this, if I were an AD looking for an "under-the-radar" coach who would come into my place and win, I would hire NC State assistant Bobby Lutz.

As far as your list of assistant coaches, Hopkins, Lloyd, Paulus, Dunleavy and the rest are really good choices, and ADs out there should have them on their lists. Let me add a few: Michigan State's Dwayne Stephens and Dane Fife (Fife has been a head coach), Texas' Russell Springmann, Notre Dame's Martin Ingelsby, North Carolina's Hubert Davis, Ohio State's Jeff Boals, Michigan's LaVall Jordan, and Butler's Michael Lewis. All of those guys are beyond ready for a head coaching job. But, to your point about Buzz Williams, the "where" is important for any coach. This job is getting harder, not easier.

bartruff1
12-04-2014, 09:35 AM
I suspect that Brad Stevens will return to college coaching when or even before his current contract is up....

northsidezagfan
12-04-2014, 09:40 AM
Nice shoutout for Tommy too

gonzagafan62
12-04-2014, 10:13 AM
Thanks for sharing Jazz.

Malastein
12-04-2014, 10:46 AM
I suspect that Brad Stevens will return to college coaching when or even before his current contract is up....

Why is that? He can be honorary Boston mafia if he gets them winning, and he'll secure himself in the circle of NBA greats. The NBA will always pay more than college, especially when coaches' pay takes a hit when universities start paying athletes.