This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

aMAILia BAG: What kind of coach will Minnesota hire? When will it happen? What about transfers?

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: March 28, 2013 - 9:34 PM



aMAILia BAG is a weekly installment on this blog where you send me questions (to @AmeliaRayno on Twitter or and I answer them here. Questions below are in bold, while my responses are in regular type.

This week has gotten crazier, not less crazy, with a coaching search going on. I still want to answer your questions even if I might not know the answer to all of them or be able to bluntly tell you the answer to all of them. I'm answering as many as I can on Twitter, but hopefully can hash out a few more things here. Let's get to it.

Hi Amelia,

Do you think there is any possibility that Teague would hire an "up and coming" asst coach who has never been a head coach? Do you think he'd say, "I found Shaka, and this guy is the next one?" I think that would fly at a school like VCU, but not in the B1G.


As you point out here, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Teague has made his mark on assistants in the past. But in this case, I think it’s highly unlikely. In the past, they were not hiring to replace the likes of a Tubby Smith. It is a very different situation here at Minnesota now, and I think they plan to hire a head coach. My sources tell me that the “go-to” initial list of about 20 coaches was almost entirely made of up sitting head coaches, many of whom would pleasantly surprise people.

Does it make sense to fire a coach of such stature without having a similar successor waiting in the wings? It seems like a dicey move, or is that person already there?


That person is not there, no. But here’s the thing: I don’t think it was a dicey move simply because – believe it or not – this is one of the most connected administrations in the nation. Teague and Ellis’ Villa 7 relationship pool is massive, and the respect is there. (I’m writing more on this for tomorrow, and the story will be up on shortly.) Even if they don’t get their first, second, third, fourth, fifth pick – the quality field is there. That kind of phone book allowed them to do something that otherwise, yes, might have looked risky.


Tubby's tourney record not withstanding, if he'd had better Big Ten records would he still have the gig?


Maybe so. In-conference success – particularly at a place like Minnesota -- goes a long way and makes a lot of other things look more forgiveable. That said, with a new administration in, I think they wanted their own guy.

Regardless of who is the #Gophers next coach, when do you see a hire happening?


Soon. Could be in the next couple of days, even tomorrow.

What's your realistic pick for the u of m job?


I’ve mentioned Chris Mack already. I think he would be a good fit. There are other, splashier names. But if those don’t work out, Mack would be nothing to scoff at. The question is whether he would leave Xavier. That would be a trick. But going back to the Villa 7 theme, he is very close with Teague and Ellis.

How many tweets are you getting a day during the coaching search? #curious #thousands


Hundreds and hundreds for sure, anyway. (Help. I’m in a Twitter avalanche.)

% of fans that are ready to jump off a cliff versus % with unrealistic expectations? #aMAILiaBAG


Percentage with realistic expectations one way or another? Less than 10 percent. And I think that might be kind. But hey, sports fanhood typically isn’t a realistic kind of thing.

So if we go with a no name how fast will Dre transfer?


I don’t think Dre Hollins will transfer regardless. He’s going into his junior season. He’s put a lot of time in. I don’t think he wants to sit out a year. Beyond that, this administration hiring a “no name” depends on your perspective. I don’t think they will hire someone no one has ever heard of, and I do believe they might surprise us. But if you’re talking about a Brad Stevens – or someone like that – that’s a different story.

Hey Amelia who signed Tubby's extension that gave him the extra mil buyout?


That would be Norwood Teague. Most of it was done when he got here, by Joel Maturi, but Teague was the guy that actually gave it to Smith.

Would flip be a good hire? Other than the obvious reasons but its not like he’s a spring chicken #gophersearch


I think if this administration went with Saunders, it would be in large part to rejuvenate the fan base and mobilize the major donors. There are a lot of Flip fans around here – I hear that sentiment loud and clear in my Twitter interactions. But on the flip side (see what I did there?), Saunders hasn’t coached at the collegiate level since the 80’s. He’s an anylst right now. He’s 58. Considering Teague and Ellis’ massive little black book of collegiate coaching networks, I just have a hard time believing that hire would happen. That said, Saunders might be Minnesota’s best option for getting a practice facility done QUCKLY. Teague really wants to get that done, so for that reason, you can’t rule Saunders out.

Who are these legitimate “sources” who think we have a legitimate shot at Brad Stevens or Hoilberg? Any insight?


The Stevens thing came up earlier, via Andy Katz. I can’t tell you who his sources are (that’s the point of sources), but I can say that I would be very surprised if either said yes to the Gophers. Stevens is also being pursued by UCLA. More on that here.

Percent chance something breaks today?


Hard to say when something will break. With situations like this, everyone is scrambling to get the information. One person gets enough and boom, it breaks. Information is verrrryyyyyyy hard to come by right now. If you’re asking if I think there will be an announcement tonight, no, I don’t.

What’s your honest percentage chance of Flip being next coach? 20%? 50%?


Less than 20 percent. It doesn’t make sense for Teague or Ellis.

Do you believe ‘U’ is trying to be strategic about the timing of an announcement with regard to tonight’s games?


Nope – I think they will announce when they have a coach.

Can you confirm that the man interviewed is an SEC head coach?


No, I cannot. I do not think it was.


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