Now that Jimmy Collins has announced that he'll be retiring at the end of August, it is time to start looking into potential replacements. The logical successor at UIC was supposed to be Tracy Dildy, but he's now the head coach at Chicago State. Further, if the Flames' administration had wanted to hire Dildy, wouldn't he have been given some advance warning so that he didn't take the job with the Cougars? I think that would've been the case. (This article certainly supports that theory.)
So who could be replacing Collins? That's a good question. While UIC director of athletic Jim Schmidt said that he would conduct a national search for a candidate, he probably doesn't need to go very far outside of the Midwest. There are a number of intriguing candidates right around here that could help the Flames become a power in the Horizon League again. After the jump are four candidates the Flames should consider.
Candidate #1: Howard Moore, Assistant Coach, Wisconsin - Joe Henricksen of Hoops Report did a great job of pointing out the reasons that the UIC job is still thought of a "good job" amongst college assistant coaches. It is a job that can allow a coach to move through the ranks. (I encourage you to read that piece if you haven't.) There are a number of assistant coaches that could use a chance to be a head coach. Moore is one of those people. This upcoming season will be his sixth coaching under Bo Ryan at Wisconsin and he's probably learned a thing or two from coaching there. Also, he's originally from Chicago and coached at Taft High School, the University of Chicago and Loyola (Ill.) among other stops before joining the Badgers' staff.
Unlike the other name Henricksen proposed, Illinois' Jerrance Howard, there hasn't been much buzz around Moore's name lately, but that could change. For the record, the contract that Howard just signed with the Fighting Illini seems to rule him out for this job. Do you think someone in the Champaign athletic department might have known something?
Candidate #2: Tracy Webster, former DePaul Assistant and Interim Head Coach - Last season this was a popular rumor, but when Collins appeared to be staying put that talk died down. Now the job at UIC is open. Will the Flames' reach out to Webster? The situation he took over at DePaul was a helpless one and Webster did his best to ride out the season. He's hopped around jobs a bit, but would the guarantee of being the head guy for a while be enough to convince him to take over? It would be the end to an interesting reshuffling of the deck amongst Chicago coaches.
Candidate #3: Tavaras Hardy, Assistant Coach, Northwestern - Hardy has played college basketball in Chicago, he's coached in Chicago with the Wildcats, and he's proven to be a hard-nosed recruiter that is really helping to improve the national profile of the Wildcats. This seems like a long-shot, and one that would probably decimate some of the Wildcats' recruiting efforts, but Hardy might be a good fit at UIC. It's certainly something he'd have to consider.
Candidate #4: Matthew Graves
, Assistant Coach, Butler
- File this one under the headline of, "If you can't beat them, join them." Graves played at Butler and since his graduation in 1998 has continued on as an assistant the past seven years. He's well versed in "the Butler way," which has proven to be a winning style of basketball in the Horizon League. With Brad Stevens
bucking the trend of former Bulldog head coaches who have moved up to major conference gigs Graves' future is a bit in doubt. As a well respected Midwestern assistant, who has received a number of accolades
, it might be time for him to become a head man. UIC would offer the perfect opportunity.
Other names that are being thrown around include former Oregon
head coach Ernie Kent
assistant coach Vince Taylor.
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