The big question right now: How many head coaching positions will need to be filled in the next few weeks?
Sure, currently, there is just one job opening in the Ohio Valley Conference. That’s at Eastern Illinois, where Mike Miller‘s contract was not renewed. Then, yesterday, news out of Starksville, Mississippi was that Murray State head coach Steve Prohm was the Bulldogs “primary target.”
But what about Donnie Tyndall at Morehead State, just one year removed from an NCAA tournament win, and still considered by many to be a hot coaching commodity. Could he make a move up to a bigger school? (Note: So far, I’ve seen nothing about any school targeting Tyndall. Just pure conjecture)
And then there’s Dave Loos at Austin Peay, who somewhat famously sat silently when I asked about his future at Austin Peay. Is he set to return next year?
This year’s coaching carousel could be wild.
Or there could be just be a lot of smoke. Here’s the latest on the coaching carousel.
We should hear from Prohm today
…although I have absolutely no official reason to think that. There’s no press conference scheduled, and neither the AD or SID isn’t saying they’re release a statement today.
Yet, I still completely expect him to say something, even if it is a generic and utterly unhelpful, “yes I’ve been contacted but I am currently focused on coaching at Murray State,” or whatever it actually is he does say, because I think he can only stay silent for so long, and that length is about 24 hours.
And I fully expect it to be generic, and actually tell us nothing. Because for whatever reason, that’s what we seem to always hear during these types of situations.
In all likelihood, the first true indication whether Prohm is moving to the south is likely to come from Mississippi State themselves. They’ll either announce a press conference, indicating he’s going, or they’ll begin talking about other candidates, obviously meaning he’s not.
Either way, we should have a pretty good indication by Thursday, or Friday at the latest, as to what’s actually going on.
But I just don’t see Prohm waiting that long to at least acknowledge what’s obviously is a serious discussion, if even one-sided.
Don’t expect a name from Eastern Illinois any time soon
Because many of the candidates for their job are also candidates for many other jobs.
For some reason, this section of the U.S. has a lot of coach openings right now, once you consider the openings at SIU and Illinois. And a lot of other mid-major positions are likely to come open in the next few weeks as positions are filled across the nation.
And I know Panthers fan don’t want to hear this, but this isn’t a highly desirable job opening right now.
It’s a rebuilding job, in a low-major conference, (although the OVC is on the rise, however slowly) and it’s in the middle of nowhere, which makes recruiting a challenge (as does the facilities)
Again, I’m not saying nobody wants to coach there. Because they do, and will. And I’m not saying you can’t win there, because you can.
But for many, it’s their 2nd or 3rd choice.
So be patient with the school as this could still drag out for a few weeks to come.
Speaking of time, Loos has plenty of it
…because their next head coach is already there, should Loos decide to leave. I’m not saying Loos should leave. I’m not saying he’s going to leave.
But there is just one Division I AD that’s also a head coach. And that’s Loos. And there’s a reason there’s not more. Both are full time plus jobs.
But if he was going to leave, or is even considering it, he doesn’t have to make a decision anytime soon.
Because the school won’t have to go out to find their next coach.
Sure, it’s likely they’ll take a few interviews, much like Murray did last season even when it was fairly obvious Prohm was the best fit.
But their next coach will likely be current assistant and former UT Martin head coach Bret Campbell. Especially is Loos is still the AD, and gets to make that decision on his own.
Personally, I think Loos has another year or two in him, at least. I hope he does, he’s immensely entertaining to watch on the bench, and he’s been a good coach in the OVC for quite some time.
But just because he’s still there in June doesn’t mean he will be in September.
Jeff Neubauer is safe now, right?
Yes. That decision was likely made 2 weeks ago, if not sooner. I would be beyond shocked to see anything happen to him at this point.
And it would likely take missing the OVC tournament for EKU to consider making a change.
Unless that contract is expiring. Then all bets are off.
But for his immediate future, I see no reason Neubauer won’t be back.
Whether he’ll talk to me at OVC Media Day after mentioning the prospect of him being let go on multiple occasions is an entirely different story.
As for the rest of the coaches…
I’m a little surprised Tyndall’s name hasn’t come up, but location might be a reason…there aren’t many schools in the east needing head coaches right now. He’s shown he can be successful at Morehead State, and he’s been long enough to be considered for other jobs. I’ll be amazed if he’s still there in 2 years time.
Jason James will return to UT Martin despite the poor record (including 0-16 in the OVC) and I still say his seat will be comfy cool. Another 4 win season, and it will heat up in a hurry, but for the most part he’s getting a mulligan for last year. Before the complaints begin, if your team’s top 2 players were injured, their coach would likely get a pass for that season as well.
As for the rest of the OVC, I don’t see any potential changes. Dickie Nutt‘s job at SEMO could start getting him looks over the next few summers if they continue their rise in the conference, and although Belmont’s head coach Rick Byrd has proven to be very successful in Nashville, he’s been there for 26 years, so he’s not going anywhere until he decides to hang it up. (I will not ask him about that at any point this year…just saying)
John Cooper’s time in Tennessee State is likely short, but I also suspect it will be another year before he starts getting offers that could entice him away from the Tigers.
James Green will begin his 5th season at the helm of Jacksonville State in a good position after last year’s run. Same for Lennox Forrester who starts his 6th year at SIU Edwardsville.
And finally, Steve Payne will begin his second year at Tennessee Tech, off what has to be a disappointing season, but far from anything that could cause any concern over his job status in the years to come.