The Marquette coaching search is heading into its 2nd week, and every time I get on the internet lately there's a different name that's being floated as the next target of MU's search. So, as we move forward from the misadventures of #ShakaWatch, we took some time to break down the alleged candidates and set the line* on who might be the favorite to be the next head coach of YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles.
*Please note: All odds are for entertainment purposes only, no other use is intended or implied. Also, odds were created with no information sources, "sources", or any real thought in general.
Ben Howland - 6/1: Howland took UCLA to 3 straight Final Fours from 2006 to 2008. He's got connections to the old Big East. He's recruited top flight talent that has gone on to great success in the NBA. He's got connections nationwide. He is reported to be very interested in the Marquette job. And could possibly be the type of guy that could be successful for a long time and not feel the pull to leave for a bigger program. What's not to like?
Well, there is the fact that he generally plays a style of ball that, while successful, is not always the most aesthetically pleasing. The divorce with UCLA was not all that pretty. He did miss the tourney in 2 of his last 4 seasons in Westwood. And some of his top stars fled to the NBA basically because they were at odds with the coach. So it's not a slam dunk, but I think Howland is still the leader in the clubhouse. Plus he doesn't have that pesky encumbrance of another school trying to prevent him from leaving.
Cuonzo Martin - 10/1: I'm not sure when Cuonzo Martin became a hot name, but word on the street that he was Marquette's "mystery candidate" still playing in the Sweet Sixteen. Martin of course was a standout player at Purdue back in the mid-90s. He has some ties to Milwaukee - playing for the Bucks during the 1996-1997 season. After three years as the head man at Missouri St. he took over the smoldering wreckage of the Tennessee program after the Bruce Pearl departure. His Volunteers finished strong in a mediocre SEC, and have made a somewhat surprising Tournament run this March. However, in six seasons as a head coach, this is his first NCAA Tourney berth. Indications are that Martin may be the #1 option. However he also has a current job, and after the Sweet Sixteen run, they may be interested in keeping him - even if that wasn't the case earlier in the year.
Steve Wojciechwoski - 15/1: Best remembered as the floor slapping Duke point guard that you loved to hate back in 1997, Wojo has been on Coach K's staff at Duke for 15 years (that makes me feel OLD). With Chris Collins success at Northwestern, folks have begun to take a look at some of the other members of the Duke coaching staff. Thus Wojo has become the hot assistant in this year's coaching carousel and, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, MU has added him to the ever expanding list of possibilities.
Brian Wardle - 25/1: I'm leery of Wardle based off of two things 1) I fear he doesn't have enough juice at this point in his career to recruit on the level that we would want. He likely doesn't have an expansive network of relationships anywhere outside of where he's been with Green Bay, and whoever he knows from his brief time on the bench with Tom Crean. And once he's on the trail competing with Smarmy Tom for talent, he won't be getting any favors from his old coach. 2) He hasn't had the high profile success that would overcome that lack of connections. If his UWGB team hadn't stubbed their toe in the Horizon League semis, and had gone on to win a game or two in the Tourney, we might have a different feeling about him as a possible successor to Buzz. But despite all of that, he is still an Marquette guy, so it's difficult to rule him out. Most fans seem to regard him as the "if all else fails" option.
Mike Hopkins - 30/1: Hopkins was reportedly tapped as the coach-in-waiting for Syracuse back in 2007. But since that time, it's become apparent that Jim Boeheim is in no hurry to step down. In recent years Hopkins' name has begun surfacing with job openings (Boston College most recently), so it seems he may not be content to wait for his turn as the head of the Orange. He has been around a lot of winning. He's generally regarded as a very good recruiter, and is a guy that a lot of folks in the know seem to think is ready to take a head job. The downside to Hopkin is he is inexorably linked to Syracuse. He has been a coach at Syracuse since 1995, after playing there from 1989 to 1993. Knowing that he could be on the top of the list to replace Boeheim if he ever retired, could make a school reluctant to invest in him.
Archie Miller - 100/1: Sure, Sean's little brother just signed an 8 year extension at Dayton, but we all know how long those deals really last. It's completely plausible that the only thing that contract did was increase the buyout that a school would have to pay to steal Archie away. I don't think it's likely, but stranger things have happened. He has certainly elevated his profile (and asking price), by leading the Flyers to their first Elite Eight since like 1910, or whatever.
Jamie Dixon - 500/1: In an apparent effort to troll the Marquette faithful, who were mourning the Badgers' Elite Eight victory over Arizona, Steve Haywood of ESPN 540 AM dropped this nugget into the Twittersphere on Saturday night:
I just got a call that Jaime Dixon is in town will be next Marquette Head B ball coach #upstageUW— Steven Haywood (@Haylov0204) March 30, 2014
Since we're not discounting anything these days, we'll give this a mention. Dixon, of course, is the head coach at Pitt and has been since Ben Howland left for UCLA in 2003. I can't imagine why he'd be looking to relocate at this point in his career. But then again, I couldn't imagine a world where Buzz Williams would leave for Virginia Tech and that happened. So who the hell knows? I really hope there's no truth to this, because then I might have to apologize to Dixon for referring to him as "cockface" back in '09.
Jay Bilas - 1000/1: #Trillwaukee anyone? If we're throwing names at the wall to see what sticks, why not Mr. Bilas? Sure he's got an awesome, cushy TV gig. But maybe he wants to trade that in for a job where people criticize and second guess you, and it might actually matter. After all... He gotta go to work.
Hologram Al McGuire - 5000/1: If you believe everything you see on Twitter (and I do), then it appears Marquette could be on the verge of a ground breaking development. It seems that a digital version of Al's consciousness has been preserved, and merged with modern holographic technology to produce Hologram Al McGuire. But instead of going rogue, like Johnny Depp in that movie, Hologram Al is more like a basketball savant Cortana from Halo. And apparently this marvel of modern science is poised and ready to lead Marquette back to glory. I'm thinking this one... might be a longshot.
So... Did I forget anyone?