Todd Lickliter Fired: 11 Candidates Who Could Replace Him as Iowa Head Coach
For the second time in a little over three years, the University of Iowa is looking for a new head basketball coach.
The Lickliter era has come to an end, and it will be remembered by most Hawkeye fans as the worst stretch of basketball in the history of the university.
The 22-loss total was the worst ever recorded by the men's basketball program, as was Lickliter's overall win percentage while at Iowa (.396)
Hours after he was fired as head coach, the job posting joined the several other open basketball coaching positions on the NCAA website.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said the next coach likely will have head-coaching experience, which the job posting also hints towards:
"NCAA Division I head coaching experience, and a minimum of five years successful intercollegiate coaching (or an equivalent amount of similar experience coaching and scouting men's professional basketball)."
Not surprising, fans are eager to help out in the selection process. Lickliter wasn't officially out of office more than a couple of minutes before fan pages started popping up all over Facebook promoting potential candidates for replacement.
Several names keep popping up in blog posts and message board threads. Some candidates seem very far-fetched, some fairly logical.
Whomever is selected, the next coach at Iowa will need to be able to multi-task. Not only will they have to rebuild a program from scratch, they will also have to convince players and recruits to stick around and buy into that program.
The next coach will also have to re-energize a fanbase almost completely removed from attachment to the once great program.
Is anyone up for a challenge?
Bruce Pearl is the current head coach of Tennessee basketball. His Volunteer basketball team is about to open the 2010 NCAA Tournament against San Diego State.
Pearl served as an assistant under former Iowa coach Dr. Tom Davis until 1996. After Steve Alford headed for New Mexico a few years ago, Pearl seemed to be the top candidate for Iowa's available head coaching position.
It is alleged that he turned the offer down back then, but things may have changed in Iowa and Tennessee since then.
Why Yes: He is by far the No. 1 choice among fans to replace Todd Lickliter. Want proof? Check out the Bring Bruce Pearl to coach the Iowa Hawkeyes Fan Page that now has over 300 members. Part of the reason for the fan appreciation stems from his Iowa ties, but mostly Pearl is viewed as someone who could re-energize the fans.
Why No: Pearl has already turned down the job once. The deal would have to be pretty sweet for him to want to walk away from his current salary of nearly $2 million. Plus, Pearl's son is currently a junior on the basketball team and will likely have another year of playing time at Tennessee.
Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson is a coach on the rise in college basketball.
He is the older brother of First Lady Michelle Obama. Yes, that means Robinson is the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama.
He coached for a few years at Brown before accepting a position at Oregon State. In his first year at OSU, he led the Beavers to the College Basketball Invitational championship.
Before coaching, he was a player at Princeton University. His name is being floated around as a possible candidate.
Why Yes: He grew up in Chicago, so he knows Midwest recruiting. He would also being coming from the Pac-10, where George Raveling and Tom Davis both came from.
Why No: He doesn't seem to have any Iowa ties, and most fans in Hawkeye nation don't know who he is. His coaching record is also not the most spectacular.
Larry Eustachy is the current head coach of the University of Southern Mississippi's men's basketball team.
From 1998 to 2003, Eustachy was the head coach at Iowa State with decent success. In 2000, his Cyclone team made it to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Not long after, he got a little crazy with the Natural Light and let himself be photographed partying with college kids after a loss to Missouri.
Still, some Iowans are still fond of Eustachy and wouldn't mind seeing him get a second chance in Iowa.
Why Yes: The former Cyclone still has Iowa ties and has family still living in the Ames, IA area. He knows the Iowa recruiting scene well.
Why No: He likes his Natural Light a little too much, and that has caused a few problems for him in the past. He also isn't exactly performing the greatest down in Southern Mississippi. He is also a former Cyclown.
Like a recent article says, Baylor's Scott Drew is turning that program into a potential powerhouse in basketball. Not bad considering that not long ago, it was in the worst shape imaginable as the result of a player murder and coaching scandal.
This year, his team finished second in the Big 12.
Why Yes: If he can rebuild Baylor, he can rebuild Iowa.
Why No: Hawkeye fans might not have the patience it takes for him to rebuild another program. Plus, he graduated from Butler. Iowa didn't have much success with the last coach who had Butler ties.
Chris Collins is a basketball player from Northbrook, IL who earned himself the title of Illinois Mr. Basketball.
As the son of NBA coach Doug Collins, Chris has been around basketball his whole life. After high school, he played college basketball for Duke.
He is currently the associate head coach of the Duke University basketball team.
Why Yes: He has ties to the Midwest, so could recruit the area well. He knows basketball well.
Why No: No head coaching experience.
Tony Barbee is the current head coach at UTEP.
He was a former Memphis assistant under John Calipari and is considered a hot prospect in college basketball. His team is currently preparing for the 2010 NCAA Tournament, which is part of the reason he is included on the short list for many fans.
Why Yes: He has ties to Iowa AD Gary Barta. He is also having decent success so far at UTEP.
Why No: He is a a virtual unknown, which could be a strike against him as not many in Iowa know who he is.
Steve Lavin is currently a basketball analyst on ESPN, but not long ago he was the head coach at UCLA.
As both an assistant and head coach, Lavin participated in 13 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He has recently expressed interest in getting back into coaching.
Some Hawkeye fan already purchased the domain hirestevelavin.comas a proclamation of who they support as the next head coach at Iowa.
Why Yes: He would bring a ton of energy and excitement with him, which is what the program needs. He has a ton of experience in the NCAA tournament. He has ties to the Big Ten, as he was an assistant at Purdue early in his career.
Why No: Captain Hair Gel might have scared many Iowans away from slick-dressing head coaches.
Keno Davis is the son of former Iowa Hawkeye head coach Dr. Tom Davis and the current head coach at Providence. He has had success in the past, having won the 2008 Associated Press Basketball Coach of the Year, but this year his team has struggled.
Many fans are interested in him as a potential candidate; many are not.
Why Yes: He knows how to recruit Iowa, and his dad still has ties to the system.
Why No: Iowa has already gone the Davis route, when his dad was coach. The team had good success, but Iowans need more than another Davis era to recover from their current state of apathy.
Ben Jacobson is the current head coach at the University of Northern Iowa.
He has led the Panthers to NCAA berths the past two seasons. Their No. 9 seed is the school's highest tournament seed ever.
Why Yes: He has had great success at UNI and knows the Iowa talent pool well.
Why No: His friend and fellow coach at UNI, Greg McDermott, hasn't done so hot at Iowa State. That might suggest the same for Jacobson at Iowa. Plus, he has no major conference experience, though his team did beat both Iowa and Iowa State this year.
Kevin Stallings is currently in his 11th season as the head coach at Vanderbilt University. He was an assistant at Purdue back in the 1980s.
His name was mentioned the last time Iowa was in the market for a head coach.
Why Yes: He has a solid and proven career as a head coach.
Why No: He isn't exactly what Hawkeye fans are hoping for.
Tom Brands is the current head coach of the Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling program. For those that aren't familiar with wrestling, here is a quote to gauge his coaching style.
"There are 10 weight classes. Why shouldn't the goal be to win 10 championships? And, why shouldn't those championships be won in a dominating fashion? To me, that is the challenge. Is it a little far-fetched? Maybe, but I like the idea of trying to make that happen."
He might be a wrestling coach, but Hawkeye fans are pretty sure Tom Brands could coach anything he puts his mind to.
After all, he is Iowa's version of Chuck Norris.
Why Yes: Two NCAA championships, Three Big Ten championships, Olympic gold medal winner. Diehard Hawkeye.
Why No: There is no NO with Tom Brands.