Now that we know the Final Four field, we now open the gates for coaching changes that come after the season is over.
Some coaches could not wait. Manhattan’s Steve Masiello jumped at the chance to accept the South Florida job. One snag. South Florida discovered he had not graduated from Kentucky as he claimed.
Masiello is currently on hold at Manhattan as they decide what to do. South Florida rightly withdrew its offer.
Rumors are already circulating about other moves that may be made by schools ready to make a coaching change.
The hottest one involves Tennessee Coach Cuonzo Martin. He is reported to be one of Marquette’s top choices to fill its vacancy. Martin just completed his third season and made the NCAA Tourney for the first time.
Marquette could give Martin more money. Buzz Williams was making $2.8 million and they offered VCU’s Shaka Smart $3 million a year.
Athletics Director Dave Hart must decide if he believes Martin is the longtime answer. If he does, he needs to announce he is working on a contract extension.
If Martin is allowed to enter the final year of his contract, it will destroy recruiting for this year. Tennessee can’t afford that. They could lose four starters from a Sweet 16 run. Junior Jarnell Stokes could leave a year early for the NBA. Those losses would be devastating in terms of production and experience.
NOTE -- Cuonzo Martin withdrew his name from consideration at Marquette late Monday night.
There are other job openings, such as Boston College, a difficult job. Look for Memphis assistant Jason Gardner to take the IUPUI job, as he is an Indianapolis native.
UNC-Wilmington cut ties with form Tennessee Coach Buzz Peterson, who had four straight losing seasons. They are said to be looking at current Louisville assistant Kevin Keatts.
Closer to home, the Tennessee State job is open after only two seasons under Travis Williams. Williams was an assistant under former TSU Coach John Cooper.
The names I am hearing on that job are Columbia State Coach Brian Collins, former Vanderbilt coach Jan van Breda Kolff and former Colorado coach Ricardo Patton.
I’m not sure van Breda Kolff is a fit at TSU after coaching at St. Bonaventure, Pepperdine and Vanderbilt. He is 62 and been out of the game for some time. Patton has been at tough places to win and it hasn’t worked out for him. He is now head coach at Memphis Central High School.
My opinion only, but Collins seems the best fit.
He is a hot young coach with a solid background. His Columbia State team finished third in the country among junior colleges. They had a record of 28-4.
“The reason I want that job is that I have so much passion and pride for that program. I grew up in Nashville. I saw Frankie Allen coaching those teams with Carlos Rogers," Collins said Sunday.
“My grandmother went to TSU. My mother and all my cousins went there. I bleed blue," Collins said.
The reason Collins didn’t play at TSU was that former coach Nolan “Notes’’ Richardson wanted him to walk on. Collins took Belmont’s scholarship and became one of the school’s top guards.
“Butler took a chance on 31-year-old Brad Stevens. VCU took a chance on 31-year-old Shaka Smart, and it worked out for them," Collins said.
Interviews are expected to take place after the Final Four. It’s a chance for AD Teresa Phillips to think outside the box.
Contact Wilson Post Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.