Tennessee needs a coach ... again.
The coaching turmoil with Tennessee’s football and men’s basketball continued Friday with the firing if basketball coach Donnie Tyndall after one season. Only months after his arrival at Tennessee, Tyndall faced an NCAA investigation stemming from allegations at his previous stop at Southern Miss.
Tyndall is likely to face NCAA sanctions related to academic misconduct and impermissible financial aid to players at Southern Miss.
The Volunteers have had three basketball coaches since 2011, including Bruce Pearl and Cuonzo Martin. Tennessee is the third SEC program to replace its coach this season. Alabama is still seeking a replacement for Anthony Grant while Mississippi State hired Ben Howland to replace Rick Ray.
Here are few names to watch as the coaching carousel is fired up. A few of these names were on our list of coaches on the rise in our college basketball expert poll earlier this season.
Chris Holtmann, Butler
Perhaps no coach has enjoyed a greater rise this season than Holtmann. He started the season as an interim coach while Butler’s Brandon Miller took a leave of absence. By December, the interim tag was lifted, and Holtmann was on his way to a 23-11 season and a second-place finish in the Big East. Tennessee has been in discussions with the former Gardner-Webb coach, according to a Friday report from the Tennessean.
Mike White, Louisiana Tech
White turned down the job before the Volunteers hired Tyndall last season. The question is if this is a road either party will go down again. The 38-year-old is primed for a move, but no NCAA Tournament appearances despite three Conference USA regular season titles is a bit concerning. The Bulldogs are 44-8 in C-USA the last three seasons, stalling in the league tournament each year.
Shaka Smart, VCU
Smart has turned down big-time jobs before, so it’s curious what would make the Tennessee job different. Smart became one of the hottest names in coaching when he took the Rams to the Final Four in 2011 with his havoc defense. The Rams are 2-4 in the Tournament since then, and they haven’t won a conference regular season title under Smart.
Rick Barnes, Texas
Barnes may be out at Texas, according to a report from 247Sports.com. The latter end of his tenure with the Longhorns had become frustrating, particularly last season when a preseason top 10 team bowed out of the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed. Still, he’s reached the NCAA Tournament in 19 of 20 seasons dating back to his time at Clemson. Barnes’ wife is a Tennessee alum.
Rick Byrd, Belmont
Byrd is another guy who was a serious coaching candidate for Tennessee in a past season. Byrd interviewed for the job in 2011 after Pearl was fired. Byrd is one of the most respected coaches in the country for his work in nearly 30 years at Belmont, a former NAIA program that has reached the NCAA Tournament seven times in 10 years. He’s a Knoxville native who is also about to turn 62 years old.
Archie Miller, Dayton
He’s one of the hottest coaching candidates out there after taking Dayton to the Elite Eight and NCAA round of 32 in the last two seasons. The 2014-15 season was especially impressive as the shorthanded and undersized Flyers finished 13-5 in the Atlantic 10 and defeated Boise State and Providence in the NCAA Tournament. Miller, however, just agreed a contract extension through 2022 at Dayton.
Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa
Jacobson has been at Northern Iowa since 2001 and as head coach since 2006. The entire run includes six NCAA appearances. Jacobson led the Panthers to the Sweet 16 with an upset of No. 1 seed Kansas in 2010, but this year’s squad (31-4) may have been his best team in Cedar Falls.
Steve Prohm, Murray State
In four seasons at Murray State, Prohm has coached a team that went 31-2 in 2011-12 and another that won 25 in a row en route to a 27-5 record in 2014-15. He unearthed point guard Cam Payne out of Memphis two years ago and watched him develop into a pro prospect. The Alabama graduate would be a likely candidate for the opening in Tuscaloosa if the bid for Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall falls through.
Bryce Drew, Valparaiso
Famous for his game-winning shot to beat No. 4 seed Ole Miss in the 1998 NCAA Tournament, Drew has become a solid coach in his own right. He’s led Valpo to two NCAA Tournaments and three Horizon League titles.
Brad Underwood, Stephen F. Austin
The former Frank Martin assistant has been a head coach for only two seasons, but it’s been quite the run. The Lumberjacks are 61-8 in two seasons with two Tournament appearances and two conference titles. His pressure defense has finished in the top 10 in defensive turnover rate in teach of the last two seasons.
Richard Pitino, Minnesota
The Gophers won 25 games and the NIT last season before slipping to 6-12 in the Big Ten in Pitino’s second season. The 32-year-old is three years into his head coaching career, but he’s served as an assistant for Billy Donovan (as Anthony Grant did before going to VCU) and his father.
Bobby Hurley, Buffalo
The former Duke guard led Buffalo to the first NCAA Tournament in school history in 2015. In two seasons with the Bulls, Hurley is 42-20 overall and 25-11 in the MAC.