Five coaches top UT's list in search to replace Bruce Pearl

Pitt's Jamie Dixon, Villanova's Jay Wright top list

The University of Tennessee has started its search for a new men’s basketball coach with five coaches at the top of the list, according to a source in the school’s athletic department.

Did Tennessee make the right decision regarding Bruce Pearl?

See the results »

View previous polls »

According to the source, who requested anonymity because all of the coaches have yet to be contacted, UT plans to have a coach in place within the next two weeks.

The five coaches that were at the top of UT’s list after Bruce Pearl was fired on Monday are:

Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon.

Villanova coach Jay Wright.

Alabama coach Anthony Grant.

Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon.

Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall.

UT senior associate athletic director Chris Fuller and UT associate athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois are taking active roles in the coaching search along with athletic director Mike Hamilton, and university chancellor Jimmy Cheek will oversee the process, according to the source.

Dixon, 45, was named the 2010-11 National Coach of the Year by The Sporting News. He is 216-60 in his eight seasons at Pitt, and has led the Panthers to NCAA tournament appearances each of those seasons.

The 49-year-old Wright is 224-110 at Villanova since taking over in 2001, and 346-195 with seven-seasons previously at Hofstra. Villanova has won 20 or more games and played in the NCAA tournament each of the past seven seasons.

Grant, 44, is 40-26 in two seasons, including 23-11 this season and playing in the third round of the NIT tournament after winning the SEC Western Division.

Prior to taking over at Alabama, Grant spent three seasons as coach at Virginia Commonwealth, where he led the Rams to a 76-25 record that included two trips to the NCAA tournament.

The 46-year-old Turgeon is 97-40 since replacing Billy Gillispie four years ago.

Prior to Texas A&M, Turgeon was coach at Wichita State, where he went 128-89, including a win over Pearl's first UT team in the second round of the 2006 NCAA tournament.

Marshall, 48, completed his fourth season with the Shockers having back-to-back 25-win seasons that led to NIT appearances.

Prior to Wichita State, Marshall made seven NCAA tournament appearances in his nine seasons at Winthrop, including one that ended with a buzzer-beating shot by Chris Lofton in a loss to Tennessee in a first-round game.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 436

Col26ca writes:

Interesting. I would be happy with Wright or Dixon but am a Frank Martin at Kansas State fan. I like his smile.

VolAtUGA11 writes:

Why don't we add these names to the list?

John Wooden
Bob Knight
Dean Smith
Adolph Rupp
Phog Allen

Compared to the five listed in the article, my list seems reasonable.

VOLliven2it writes:

Any one of those coaches could do a good job here if allowed to move beyond the stench of the latter Pearl days and all the fallout. However, how many of them will want to come and deal with this situation? That number will likely be very low unless we put out the green to go with our orange!

BHSVol writes:

looks like They're shooting for the stars

sandiegovolunteer writes:

How long will we still have this Pathetic Director Hamilton (PD)

nwcs writes:

It's all about money. A high profile coach who is looking for cash would be happy to come here if the offer is good enough.

ReVolver writes:

Go Vols! Beat open coaching position!

1vavolfan writes:

Going from Jamie Dixon to Greg Marshall is like going from a Hummer to a Chevette. Not sure what the thinking is here. I saw MArshall at the VA Tech game and he looks like a TV evangelist. How did it turn out the last time we hired a guy with a NIT final as his claim to fame

ZacharyUTK writes:

No Shaka Smart?

I hope we can bring in someone who likes to play full-court. Remember when Bruce had our guys running the full-court press about 3 years ago? That was sick.

tomatosoup writes:

Oh my gosh.....Sounds like we won't be hearing about UT basketball for many years to come!

miketn6 writes:

We might have a shot at Greg Marshall if we offer enough cash. I'd think the rest of them would tell their agent to nicely blow us off.

volboy81 writes:

BRAD STEVENS!!!

Volfantm writes:

I like Anthony Grant. Still not interested in keeping MH in his current job.

johnlg00 writes:

I would be happy with any of these, but my guess is that the final choice will be someone else. I don't see the first three going anywhere else at all. We may well make some kind of contact with all of them, but unless the UT athletic establishment is willing to go as high as $3mil/yr, we don't stand a change at the likes of Dixon or Wright. One of the others might take it for that but we probably won't go that high for one of them.

ZALWEED writes:

Tubby!

ZALWEED writes:

He might be 70, but Larry Brown is looking to get back into coaching the college ranks! A solid hire!

RoadTrip writes:

Good choices for all 5 if you can't get Brad Stevens.

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

in response to Col26ca:

Interesting. I would be happy with Wright or Dixon but am a Frank Martin at Kansas State fan. I like his smile.

Right on with Martin. Would love to see him heading up the basketball program. Whoever it is make sure it's the BEST choice! GO VOLS!

1vavolfan writes:

in response to TennVolAlum:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You obviously dont follow college basketball. UT wishing for Jamie Dixon and Jay Wright is like a kid on welfare asking for a Ferrari for Christmas. Very wishful thinking on the part of the Vols. Afraid they will have to go very far down their list.

sheep writes:

Rick Byrd, Chris Collins, Brad Stephens.

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

in response to volboy81:

BRAD STEVENS!!!

WORD! GO VOLS!

westknoxrepub writes:

Well, three coaches in better jobs. . .and two that didn't make the NCAA tournament this year. Will someone please put someone on that committee who knows what they're doing.

SummittsCourt writes:

Why would Jamie Dixon or Jay Wright come here? Oh yeah, if you can't beat 'em you might as well join 'em.

If they plan to name someone within 2 weeks it tells me those still coaching are not on the list which is dumb - but we have come to get used to that.

My reluctant guess is they will SETTLE for Greg Marshall. Of those on the list, he will cost the least and will be able to be told what to do by the higher ups. Well, he did guide Winthrop to the dance 7 out of 9 years. Was hired by the College of Charleston one day, and changed his mind the next and settled for Wichita St. - another NIT team oh my.

FearlessFreep writes:

UT will end up with Marshall.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to sheep:

Rick Byrd, Chris Collins, Brad Stephens.

Rick Byrd (SOS 261) would be a worse hire than Marshall. Collins is an assistant, we need a guy who's been a head coach, and Stephens isn't coming.

dvol writes:

I don't care for any on this list except maybe for Grant. My guess is that he probably wouldn't come. The powers to be got lucky with Pearl. They never shoot for the Top. Start with the best coaches out there and work your way down. There so afraid someone will tell them no. We have got the money at least make them say No. This way you can say you tried.

arkyvol writes:

my prediction: hammy doesn't get one of these guys to return his call.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to arkyvol:

my prediction: hammy doesn't get one of these guys to return his call.

Oh Marshall would take the job, the problem is he's nearly a carbon copy of Buzz Peterson, has only won one NCAA tournament game, and will not excite the fan base.

CoverOrange writes:

No Shaka, no Frank, no Martin on that list.

Grant is good but don't want to steal from Bama.

Turgeon has inexplicable runs of good and bad.

Big East has been Big Least.

New Marshall in town?

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to sheep:

Rick Byrd, Chris Collins, Brad Stephens.

I like your list

Mommasboy writes:

How about Lawrence Frank, the New Jersey Nets ex head coach and current assistant with the Celtics? I have heard that he is interested. Most of this list is a joke. We don't want Shaka Smart...He has only coached for one season and isn't even coaching most of the players he recruited. He needs more experience.

alvol writes:

I vote for Alfred E. Newman. No worrys about him.

hueypilot writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Rick Byrd (SOS 261) would be a worse hire than Marshall. Collins is an assistant, we need a guy who's been a head coach, and Stephens isn't coming.

No Stevens wouldn't come. Why would he want to leave Hoosier High and Hinkle Fieldhouse. Why would he want to make a couple of million a year and test his mettle on the big stage against Cal and Donovan. No, he wouldn't want to do that. He's much rather stay in Indiana. Are you kidding me. I spent a decade in Indiana over a 4 year period. They have a car race in May and a lot of flat land and other than that it is the white bread capital of boredom. Go get Stevens. Don't settle for some second rate hack. You gotta replace a human dynamo. Don't try to do it with a pretender. Get a contender.

TLepage writes:

i need some of what hamilton is drinking and/or smoking.... None of the top 4 on the list will end up here.... maybe Marshall, but he is a huge drop-off from the other four on the list....

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to hueypilot:

No Stevens wouldn't come. Why would he want to leave Hoosier High and Hinkle Fieldhouse. Why would he want to make a couple of million a year and test his mettle on the big stage against Cal and Donovan. No, he wouldn't want to do that. He's much rather stay in Indiana. Are you kidding me. I spent a decade in Indiana over a 4 year period. They have a car race in May and a lot of flat land and other than that it is the white bread capital of boredom. Go get Stevens. Don't settle for some second rate hack. You gotta replace a human dynamo. Don't try to do it with a pretender. Get a contender.

He's the man at Butler, and he's seen what happened to the guy who left the job before him. Also NC State, Georgia Tech, Arkansas and Oklahoma have job openings right now, and they're much more attractive jobs than Tennessee.

RoyaltyVol writes:

My Top 5

1) Rick Byrd
2) Brad Stephens
3) Jay Wright
4) Shaka Smart
5) Houston Fancher

CoverOrange writes:

in response to dvol:

I don't care for any on this list except maybe for Grant. My guess is that he probably wouldn't come. The powers to be got lucky with Pearl. They never shoot for the Top. Start with the best coaches out there and work your way down. There so afraid someone will tell them no. We have got the money at least make them say No. This way you can say you tried.

maybe they did start at the top and worked their way down. They just didn't email you the status as each said "no."

Razzle writes:

I thought Mooney and Smart were being considered. Have they already said no?

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to RoyaltyVol:

My Top 5

1) Rick Byrd
2) Brad Stephens
3) Jay Wright
4) Shaka Smart
5) Houston Fancher

Why in the world would you want Rick Byrd to be the head coach and why is Houston Fancher on your list?

volscantball writes:

Why would any of the guys on this list will take the job? I would think that this list would be better suited for after the Vols get through with whatever punishment the NCAA is going to give them.

The best player is leaving, the best recruits are asking to be released, and those players that are left are average at best. This would be a no win situation for any of these coaches.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to hueypilot:

No Stevens wouldn't come. Why would he want to leave Hoosier High and Hinkle Fieldhouse. Why would he want to make a couple of million a year and test his mettle on the big stage against Cal and Donovan. No, he wouldn't want to do that. He's much rather stay in Indiana. Are you kidding me. I spent a decade in Indiana over a 4 year period. They have a car race in May and a lot of flat land and other than that it is the white bread capital of boredom. Go get Stevens. Don't settle for some second rate hack. You gotta replace a human dynamo. Don't try to do it with a pretender. Get a contender.

It may be boring but it is his native state. Never really left it climbing the ladder.

acworthdave writes:

GET REAL!!! Is Sexton the agent to all of these guys? I wonder. All we need right now is someone who can steer the ship without it sinking for the next few years and then we can get a top-notch coach. You are not going to do that with an up-and-comer young guy. What about Bobby Cremins? He has some years on him but he is a big name coach who can recruit. We could put him back in the spotlight. The media would love the pick..Cremins has always been a media favorite. I also think the fans would rally around him. We arent looking for a long-term solution here. I really can't think of any negatives.

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Why in the world would you want Rick Byrd to be the head coach and why is Houston Fancher on your list?

INTEGRITY!

Biggie writes:

in response to Mommasboy:

How about Lawrence Frank, the New Jersey Nets ex head coach and current assistant with the Celtics? I have heard that he is interested. Most of this list is a joke. We don't want Shaka Smart...He has only coached for one season and isn't even coaching most of the players he recruited. He needs more experience.

he was fired after starting 0-16 I din't think we need him

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to RoyaltyVol:

INTEGRITY!

So winning doesn't matter? Byrd is all smoke and mirrors, he played 2 tournament teams last year and lost to them both, and his best win was against ETSU, he was too scared to play a tough schedule and Fancher couldn't win at Appalachain State, what makes you think he could win here?

sandiegovolunteer writes:

Tennessee's pathetic director Mike Hamilton reportedly slept with a brand new Nike basketball under his pillow last night hoping the basketball fairy would bring him a new top tier coach. While waking up with a stiff neck and a slobbered on basketball, Hamilton has not disclosed whether the fairy brought a new coach or not.

Reuters/knoxville 3.23.2011

BubbaTN writes:

With Hamilton as your Boss, why would anyone want the job at UT? Even other SEC Fans who hate UT think Hamilton is a complete moron!

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to acworthdave:

GET REAL!!! Is Sexton the agent to all of these guys? I wonder. All we need right now is someone who can steer the ship without it sinking for the next few years and then we can get a top-notch coach. You are not going to do that with an up-and-comer young guy. What about Bobby Cremins? He has some years on him but he is a big name coach who can recruit. We could put him back in the spotlight. The media would love the pick..Cremins has always been a media favorite. I also think the fans would rally around him. We arent looking for a long-term solution here. I really can't think of any negatives.

After we're told no by the first four, and before we resort to Gregg Marshall we should just find a guy who's willing to come in a year with the interim status, wait and see what the punishment is then go out and hire a guy next year when we know the punishment isn't that bad. If Marshall is the guy we hire, we're in bad shape.

iLOVEtheVOLS writes:

What about Pash from Memphis?

kman29 writes:

I think the higher ups there at Tennessee need to realize the status of their mens basketball program. Coaches at Pitt and Villanova do not leave their programs for Tennessee. Those programs go to the Final Four. Those programs are in THE basketball conference (The Big East). Only one SEC program would pull either of those away and that would be Kentucky. Even Florida with their recent history of success 4 Final Fours and 2 National Titles wouldnt have much of a chance. But hey! I guess the Tennessee AD can dream!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features