Now that we’re into our second week of the Gophers’ search to replace Tubby Smith, many names have been floated as possibilities. There was little news Monday surrounding Marquette’s Buzz Williams, one of the top candidates still available, but one possible Big Ten candidate gained a little life while another rumored interest dropped off the radar. Let’s take a look at that latter two:
Andy Enfield, Florida Gulf Coast
ESPN’s Andy Katz reported on Monday that Minnesota and USC were both making a move for him, driving up speculation. But Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel squashed the Gophers side of that, reporting that USC was close to a deal with the “Dunk City” coach, and eventually USC announced an agreement.
On face value, Enfield might have been a good fit for Minnesota: He’s a Villa 7 guy, meaning he has something of a relationship with athletic director Norwood Teague and associate AD Mike Ellis already. His up-and-down style would have been a plus for recruiting and would have benefited the athletes already on the roster. And whereas an Enfield hire a year ago might not have gone over so well, Enfield’s name has become well-known in the past few weeks as he’s led this year’s team to the Sweet 16.
Enfield had hinted that he didn’t plan on moving to a place where the weather is un-Florida-like. Southern California should keep him happy in that regard.
Tim Miles, Nebraska
The current Nebraska coach had stops at Southwest Minnesota State and North Dakota State and therefore is very familiar with recruiting in Gopher land. He also has the kind of personality that can quickly win over a fan base, media members, players and donors. If this coaching vacancy had come a year ago, it would be a different story. But Miles is in the Big Ten now, and has spent just one season with the Huskers. Moving to a new job within the league seems unlikely. Also, he has great resources, including a lush practice facility.
• Coaching searches don’t happen overnight. To help drive that point home, we took a look at the five most recent ones in the Big Ten. In each case, the “days between” do not include the fire date of the old coach or the hire date of the new coach.
2013: Northwestern — 10 days; 2012: Nebraska — 14 days; Illinois — 19 days. 2011: Penn State — 10 days. 2010: Iowa — 12 days. If the Gophers name a coach Tuesday, there will have been seven days between when Smith was fired and a new coach was hired. So just another reminder that it is not yet time to panic.
• Katz also reported the Gophers “reached out to” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, who withdrew from consideration.