Bruce Pearl out at Tennessee: Larry Brown and the Top 10 Replacement Candidates
Larry Brown is interested in a return to coaching, and he'd like to go back to the college ranks.
“I was a college coach and did OK,” Brown told Yahoo! Sports on Saturday. “I was a pro coach and did reasonably well.
“Kids want to be in the NBA, and if you can coach and teach and get them ready for the NBA and you’re at a good school, I think you’d have an unbelievable head start on a lot of people. I’ve always tried to get players better, whether as a college coach or a pro coach. Two minutes on the floor on the first day of practice, players know whether you can coach or not.”
Brown was last on the college sidelines when he coached Kansas to the 1988 NCAA Championship.
While I don't doubt Brown's desire or even his ability, Tennessee may want to look for someone who would be more than just a stop-gap solution.
The following coaches could make for an interesting list for Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton to consider.
10. Joe Dooley (Currently an Assistant Coach at Kansas)
Joe Dooley (second from the right)
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Joe Dooley (next to Bill Self, second from the right in the picture) doesn't have the name recognition of Steve Wojciechowski, but Dooley would be a great candidate.
Dooley has spent the last eight years on Bill Self's staff at Kansas.
Since his arrival at KU, Dooley has been part of one NCAA national title, three NCAA Elite Eight appearances, four NCAA Sweet 16s, six Big 12 regular season conference titles and four Big 12 tournament championships.
Dooley was the head coach for East Carolina University for four seasons in the late 90's.
He is known as a great recruiter, which is a great asset to have if you need to lead a program in a different direction.
9. Steve Robinson (Currently an Assistant Coach at North Carolina)
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Steve Robinson is another great candidate for the Vols to consider.
He is the former head coach of the University of Tulsa and Florida State University.
As a head coach, Robinson lead his teams to the NCAA tournament three times, once at FSU and twice with Tulsa.
He has been an assistant to Roy Williams for 13 years, including two stints at the University of Kansas, 1988–1995 and 2002–2003, and at UNC-Chapel Hill since Williams' move from Kansas in 2003.
Robinson, 54, is older than most of the other candidates, but Tennessee may be okay if wisdom, stability and maturity come along with age.
8. Steve Wojciechowski (Currently an Assistant Coach at Duke)
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Wojo is one of the top assistant coaches in the country.
He played four years for Coach K at Duke, and now he has been on his staff since 1999.
He has brought his intensity and love for the game into his coaching career.
He has been a part of the coaching staff during two different NCAA Championships.
While he doesn't have the experience of some possible candidates, do you question his credentials?
7. Jeff Capel (Former Head Coach at Oklahoma)
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Unless something has not come out about Capel's tenure at Oklahoma, he may be a very solid candidate for Tennessee to continue.
Jeff Capel, who played at Duke under Coach K in the mid 90's, has been successful as a head coach at a young age (36).
In four years as the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth, Capel was 79-41.
In five years at Oklahoma, the Sooners were 96-69 under Capel's leadership.
His ties to and recruiting connection in the region could pay huge dividends.
6. Leonard Hamilton (Currently at Florida State)
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If experience is what the Vols are looking for, Leonard Hamilton may be their man.
Hamilton, 62, has had success wherever he has been, both as an assistant and a head coach.
Before becoming a head coach, Hamilton was an assistant at Kentucky from 1974-1986.
He has taken on some tough assignments at Oklahoma State, Miami and now for the last nine seasons at Florida State.
The Seminoles have won at least 20 games five of the last six seasons.
This year, FSU is the top defensive team in the country and is playing in the Sweet 16.
5. Josh Pastner (Currently at Memphis)
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Josh Pastner was born to coach. Just ask him.
Growing up in a coach's home, Pastner is another top-level young coach who should get a look when the Volunteers are searching for their next Men's Basketball coach.
Pastner is in his second year as the head coach for Memphis. His two-year record is 49-20. The Tigers have qualified for the postseason both years (NIT in 2010, NCAA in 2011).
Pastner played for and coached with Lute Olson at Arizona (2002–2008), and then served for one year as John Calipari's assistant at Memphis, before being promoted to head coach upon Calipari's departure to Kentucky.
Pastner is a tireless worker and a fantastic recruiter.
He was known throughout the country as a coach even when he was playing on Arizona's 1997 National Championship team.
4. Chris Mooney (Currently at Richmond)
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Many people aren't familiar with the name Chris Mooney, but they are finding out how good of a coach he is in this year's NCAA Tournament.
Mooney, 38, coaches Richmond, who will play Kansas on Friday in this year's Sweet 16.
Mooney was a four-year starter at Princeton.
He coached one year at Air Force, where he led the Falcons to their second-best record in school history (18–12).
In six years at Richmond, Mooney is 112-86, already winning 75 games in the last three years.
Chris Mooney would be an excellent candidate to take over the wobbly Tennessee program.
3. Shaka Smart (Currently at Virginia Commonwealth)
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Shaka Smart is one of the hot, young coaching prospects in the country right now.
His Virginia Commonwealth Rams have "shaka-ed" the college basketball world in this year's NCAA Tournament.
Maligned by just about everyone in the media for being included by the Selection Committee, Smart's squad pulled off three wins to make it into the Sweet 16, where they will play Florida State.
Smart, 33, who played for Kenyon college, was an assistant at the University of Akron for three years, Clemson for two and Florida for one.
It was from being on Billy Donovan's staff that Smart launched into being a D-1 head coach.
In two seasons under Smart, VCU is 53-20.
Last year, the Rams were the CBI Champions.
This year, who knows?
2. John Thompson III (Currently at Georgetown)
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JT3 may not be out on the street looking for a job, but Tennessee might call him up and see if there is any interest.
After playing at Princeton, John Thompson III served as an assistant coach for five years there under head coaches Pete Carril and Bill Carmody.
After being promoted to head coach, he compiled a 68–42 record with the Tigers from 2000 to 2004 while guiding the team to three Ivy League championships, two NCAA tournament appearances and one NIT tournament appearance.
He has coached the last seven years at Georgetown where he has compiled a 160-71 record.
Thompson takes a no-nonsense approach to coaching and to his teams.
1. Brad Stevens (Currently at Butler)
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What college coaching short-list for a major program would be worth anything without mentioning Brad Stevens.
Stevens looks like he could be on the team instead of coaching it.
But Stevens, 34, has already posted a 114-24 record in his first four years of coaching at Butler.
His Bulldogs were one miracle shot short of pulling off the biggest upset in NCAA Championship Game history last year as Butler lost to Duke 61-59.
When asked if he would ever leave Butler, Stevens replied, "I guess if they kicked me out."
I don't think they are going to do that, and I don't think he is looking to leave Indianapolis.