Could the coaching dominoes start falling immediately following the Final Four?
Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun may have provided a foreshadowing of what’s to come after telling the AP on Tuesday he wouldn’t make a decision on his future until after the Final Four. When Calhoun was asked if he would make an immediate decision on his future if UConn wins the national title, his response, if anything, was cryptic.
“Standing on the podium would be a bad time to make a decision, and quite frankly if things don’t go well it would be a lousy time to make a decision,” he said.
There have already been a couple of coaching changes. Cuonzo Martin took over at Tennessee in place of Bruce Pearl. But Martin was an assistant at Purdue, so it’s not like his departure from his alma mater will start an avalanche of coaching changes. Vanderbilt assistant King Rice took over at Monmouth on Tuesday. But again, he was an assistant.
Texas Tech hired Billy Gillispie to take over for Pat Knight. But Gillispie had been out of coaching for two years. If Calhoun steps down, it would likely start a chain reaction depending on who is replacement is.
Speculation about his replacement has run rampant this season. Will UConn stay in house and hire a former player or assistant? If that’s the case, several names come to mind.
Central Connecticut coach Howie Dickenman, who coached under Calhoun for 10 years, could be an option. Stony Brook fans certainly don’t want to hear this, but Steve Pikiell’s name could surface. Pikiell was the only two-time captain to play for Calhoun.
He’s building Stony Brook into a viable mid-major program and almost had the program in the NCAA Tournament. And it's safe to say if Stony Brook would've beaten Boston University in the America East tournament title game, Pikiell's name would've surfaced on several coaching vacancy lists.
With all but one key player –Chris Martin– back next season, the Seawolves are expected to be a contender for the America East regular season title. That would mean at least a second NIT appearance in the last three seasons.
This could all be moot if Calhoun, 68, decides to stick around for another few years. But if he steps down and UConn opens up the position, a lot of big names could be moving around. Stay tuned.