Now that Loyola (IL) released Jim Whitesell the coaching search has officially begun. In the press release Dr. Grace Calhoun said:
"The new coach will be fully immersed in and committed to the mission of Loyola. They will be a person of high integrity, experience, and will have either Midwestern roots or a proven track record of effectively recruiting the Chicago area. Loyola is making significant investments in athletics with the recent opening of the Norville Center for Intercollegiate Athletics and the planned renovations to the Gentile Arena. The new facilities, along with new leadership, are a winning combination for the Ramblers and our goal is to be both quick and thorough as we find the right coach to lead the Loyola men's basketball program going forward."
Well who are some coaches that fit the bill? I've got six candidates and then two bonus people that are worth talking about.
1. Matthew Graves - Butler: I wrote about Graves in my initial post, but I think he'd be a good fit at Loyola. There is a chance he might go to another Midwest job though, possibly Northern Illinois, instead of coming to Loyola. Wherever he ends he seems ready to be a head coach.
2. Tavares Hardy - Northwestern:
When I posed this question
on Twitter, ESPNChicago's Scott Powers responded that he thought Hardy would be a good fit
. Hardy is a good recruiter and has a strong Midwest background. He makes logical sense. It would be a big blow to the Northwestern staff if he left.
3. Keno Davis - formerly of Drake and Providence: After just one season at Drake (during which he won 84.8% of his games) Davis jumped to Providence. Two seasons later he is out after a 31-33 record. Davis teaches a very fun style of basketball that would make people excited for the new facility. As a head and assistant coach at Drake he also has a lot of experience in the Midwest. I wonder what his price tag would be and if it would be too high for the Ramblers.
4. Jerrance Howard - Illinois or Vince Taylor - Minnesota:
Two other Big Ten assistants that are probably ready for a head coaching job. Taylor was the pick on Twitter of Steve Newhouse
. It's possible that one of them could be headed to Bradley or one of the other Illinois schools with a job opening. It's a competitive season to be hiring a mid-major head coach.
5. Todd Lickliter - formerly Butler and Iowa:
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Post-Gazette told me yesterday
that he's heard Loyola is going after Lickliter who had a 68.2% winning percentage at Butler. Again, there's a possibility that he would take another job in the Midwest.
Then there are two other names that I've heard bantered about.
The Crazy Idea - Doug Bruno - DePaul women's head coach: I don't think hiring Bruno would be crazy, I think it'd be crazy of him to leave DePaul. He has had seven 20-win seasons in the past eight, just made the NCAA Tournament again and has a great rapport with the students and administration at DePaul. Why would he leave that for uncertainty at a rebuilding mid-major in Loyola? I don't see it.
The Please Skip - Jim Les - formerly of Bradley: Why would you hire a candidate that just got fired at Bradley, another mid-major in a comparable conference, who had a 54.2% winning percentage? It doesn't seem to add up.