Norwood Teague appears to have exhausted the list of his Top 25 candidates and has moved on to “others receiving votes.”
Among the coaches the Gophers athletic director has or might have expressed interest are Andy Enfield, Flip Saunders, Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens, Buzz Williams, Gregg Marshall, Phil Jackson and John Wooden’s statue.
Mr. Teague appears to need help, so here’s an “insider’s” list of people who might be willing to take the Gophers basketball coaching position under the right circumstances:
• Tubby Smith: Wouldn’t that be a coup for Teague, hiring away a guy who’s won a national title? And if Minnesota can steal Smith from Kentucky, stealing him from Texas Tech should be no problem.
• Ryan Saunders: Flip Saunders reportedly turned down an offer to coach the Gophers in part because his son, a well-respected assistant coach with the Washington Wizards, would not have been allowed on his staff. Nobody has suggested this brilliant move: Hiring Ryan, and letting him have Flip on his staff.
• Saul Smith: Tubby wants his son to become a major-college head coach, which is why he sandbagged his six years in Minnesota: to open a spot for Saul.
• Dan Monson: He won at Gonzaga, and parlayed that success into a job at Minnesota. Now he’s winning at Long Beach State, and maybe he’s forgotten that Minnesota winters last longer than a Yankees-Red Sox game.
• Jim Molinari: Coach Mo replaced Monson on an interim basis. Now he’s winning at Western Illinois, not exactly a traditional basketball powerhouse. He plays Bo Ryan-style basketball without making a Grinch face every possession. He’s a bargain.
• Clem Haskins: He took the Gophers to the Final Four. How improbable does that sound these days? The NCAA considers that accomplishment mythical just because Clem cheated. I consider the NCAA’s wisdom mythical, so there’s no reason not to bring back Clem.
• Jim Dutcher: See Haskins, Clem.
• Gregg Marshall: He’s telling people he loves Wichita because Shocker basketball is the only game in town. He’s got to be lying. Who wants to live somewhere that a college basketball program is the only game in town? I’ve been to Wichita. The nicest thing I can say about the place is that I remember nothing about it.
• Andy Enfield: Sure, he just signed on with USC. Lock him in a room with Lane Kiffin for five minutes and he’ll be ready to move.
• Buzz Williams: Sure, Marquette is a great basketball school that spends more money per basketball player than anyone other than Duke, and sure he makes a lot of money and has no trouble taking his school to the Sweet Sixteen, but Minnesota has The Mall of America and … (please help me fill in this blank.)
• Brad Stevens: Sure, the Butler coach has turned down better programs and might be interested in leaving only for Duke, but imagine how comfortable he’d be at Minnesota. We, too, have lousy facilities based in a mid-market Midwestern city. He might not even notice that he had moved.
• Tim Miles: The Nebraska coach once worked in Minnesota and the Dakotas, and for many Minnesota alums the most important qualification a coach can possess is once having driven through the Twin Cities.
• Kurt Rambis: No, he can’t coach, but hiring him at Minnesota would at least get him off ESPN before the NBA playoffs start.
• Jerry Kill: If Kill coached the basketball team, Teague would be sure to get Michigan taken off the schedule.
• Joel Maturi: His decisions as athletic director probably cost the University of Minnesota $20 million dollars in dead contracts, bad hires and lost ticket sales and postseason revenues. If your son cost you that much money, wouldn’t you make him work it off by cutting lawns or coaching basketball or something?