Tennessee Vols Head Coach Search: Latest Updates and Rumors on Open Position

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2014

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 23:  Head coach Gregg Marshall of the Wichita State Shockers gives instructions to his team against the Kentucky Wildcats during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 23, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Updates from Monday, April 21

CBS Sports' Gary Parrish reports late Monday night that Donnie Tyndall will be the next coach at Tennessee:

Earlier in the day the rumors were flying regarding the position. 

Parrish reported the status of Michael White in regards to the vacant Tennessee position:

Jeff Goodman of ESPN had more on White:

Later in the evening, Goodman offered up another name that Tennessee has contacted:

Updates from Sunday, April 20

Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports Tennessee's latest target to fill it's vacant head-coaching position:

Tennessee has targeted Louisiana Tech's Mike White to replace Cuonzo Martin.

Sources confirmed to ESPN.com that the 37-year-old White, who has led the Bulldogs to a 74-31 mark over the last three seasons, is the choice of Vols athletic director Dave Hart.

CBSSports.com earlier reported that Tennessee's coaching search is now focused on White.

However, sources told ESPN.com that White is mulling over the decision whether to take the job and that it's not a given that he will head to Knoxville.

Updates from Saturday, April 19

CBS' Gary Parrish has an update on the Volunteers' coaching search:

Updates from Wednesday, April 16

ESPN's Jeff Goodman provides two candidates who are high atop Tennessee's wish list: 

Original Text

Within hours of Cuonzo Martin's announced departure for Cal, the University of Tennessee has already crafted a wish list for its next men's basketball coach.   

Braden Gall of Athlon Sports reported the Vols already had a top-five list in place, headlined by current Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall:

Marshall, 51, has built the Shockers program from perpetual mediocrity in the Missouri Valley Conference into a burgeoning national power. Wichita State was the first team since 1992 to go undefeated through the regular season and conference tournament in 2013-14, eventually losing to national finalist Kentucky in the round of 32.

Marshall has led the Shockers to three straight NCAA tournament appearances, including a 2013 Final Four run. He's been linked to numerous high-profile vacancies over the last couple years, most recently with Marquette's vacancy. The Golden Eagles eventually hired longtime Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski.

It's unknown whether Tennessee's interest is reciprocated. Clay Travis of Fox Sports correctly points out Marshall has already interviewed for and been passed up the last two times Tennessee has had a coaching vacancy. Given he's the hot name in mid-major coaching circles at the moment and is an instant contender for almost any opening, Marshall's profile may have outgrown Knoxville.

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 26:  Head coach Gregg Marshall and the Wichita State Shockers celebrate with the trophy after defeating the Brigham Young Cougars 75-62 to win the CBE Hall Of Fame Classic final game at the Sprint Center on November 26, 2013 in
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Marshall's current contract pays him $2 million annually with incentives. It's unknown how deep Volunteers administration is willing to dig into their pockets for a high-profile hire. Marshall will also have to weigh the cost-benefit of leaving relative comfort at Wichita State for a non-power major-conference team that is losing a bevy of talent. 

Former UCLA head coach Ben Howland went without a job this past season after being fired by the Bruins in 2013. Howland reached three consecutive Final Fours from 2006 to 2008, but the latter half of his 10-year run in Westwood was mired in mediocrity. UCLA missed the NCAA tournament twice and went no further than the round of 32 in his last five seasons.

Howland is a solid in-game coach but struggles mightily with recruiting aspects. He was also linked to the Marquette job earlier this offseason. As Gall pointed out, Howland's decision to consider the job (or not) will probably be financially based:

There are also legitimate questions about just how good a job Tennessee is at the moment.

Martin, who went 63-41 in his three seasons, saw his time in Knoxville be defined by criticism—some of it unfair considering the circumstances. In February, thousands signed a petition asking for Tennessee to fire Martin and re-hire Bruce Pearl. Martin's parting gift was a surprise Sweet 16 appearance. He will be replacing Mike Montgomery, who retired after a six-year stint in Berkeley. 

''It's a beautiful place. I got off the plane and I just said, 'Ahhh,''' Martin said, per Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press, via Yahoo! Sports. ''I think it has a chance to be special here. I think that's the most intriguing thing to me. It's a place I could spend the rest of my life.''

Martin's decision to hop between power-conference schools does not bode well for Tennessee's reputation or its ability to attract top candidates. Nor does former Vols forward Jarnell Stokes confirming players didn't like the way the administration treated Martin:

Ultimately, Marshall seems like a call Tennessee administration has to make before speaking with more serious candidates. As Gall said, prospective hires like Donnie Tyndall and Mike White are more realistic. Both young coaches are in solid mid-major jobs but ones that come with an inherent glass ceiling.

Even if Tennessee has a lot of faith-engendering on its plate the next couple years, it's still a major program with a national reputation. Look for the gig to be filled by someone equally eager to prove he is worthy of the big stage.


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