There have been a lot of names thrown out into the water about who should be the next head coach at DePaul. I’ve been trying to do some due diligence on the candidates I think would make the most sense. This isn’t a complete list of the candidates, it is a list of realistic targets and names that might come up during the search. Also note that the 4 candidates after the break aren’t in any particular order. I’m not saying one or the other is definitely going to be the next head coach at DePaul.
Candidate #1: Tyrone Corbin, Utah Jazz Assistant –
None other than Dick Vitale suggested that the Blue Demons look at Corbin and there are some reasons to think he might be a good fit. Corbin played 15 seasons in the NBA with a bunch of different teams before transitioning to a role on the bench. As a former NBA player he’d be able to say with certainty to recruits that he knows how to get to that level. Now an assistant with the Utah Jazz Corbin is learning how to coach basketball from one of the best in the business, Jerry Sloan. Also, Corbin is a DePaul alum. On the down side Corbin isn’t a local guy besides his college ties, he was born in South Carolina. Also, the Blue Demons probably don’t want to hire someone that would be learning how to be a head coach while at DePaul.
Candidate #2: Ray McCallum, Detroit Titans Head Coach –
There isn’t another coach on this list who I’ve studied more than McCallum (left). He has a long track record of success at the mid-major level. He went 126-76 at Ball State, including 2 NCAA appearances and an NIT bid, and is rebuilding Detroit in a hurry in the Horizon League. The one questionable part of his resume is 4 years at Houston where he went a combined 44-73. That’s certainly a blemish. McCallum has been an assistant coach all over the Midwest so I’m sure he knows the area. The big carrot with McCallum though is another Ray McCallum, his son. Ray McCallum Jr. is ranked in the Top 10 point guards in the class of 2010. He’s considering Florida, Arizona, UCLA and Detroit. My guess is DePaul would shoot to the top of that list if his father got a major conference job. McCallum is certainly worth taking a shot on.
Candidate #3: Chris Lowery, Southern Illinois Salukis Head Coach –
Lowery (right) has established a track record of excellence in the Missouri Valley Conference that shows he’s prepared to take a step up the coaching ladder. He’s 109-58 in four seasons coming into this one. His teams play tough defense and SIU made the postseason in each of his first four seasons.
He was named the MVC Coach of the Year in 2005.
Other pluses from Lowery: He has a Twitter account with 917 followers. He is somewhat local having been born in Evansville, Indiana and attending Southern Illinois as a student and being an assistant at Illinois. He’s coached under some great coaching minds, including Bruce Weber. He has also shown a knack for recruiting Chicago-area talent.
The one thing I worry about with Lowery is that his teams have regressed during his tenure. Last season SIU went 13-17 and missed the postseason entirely and this season they’re projected to finish 16-12 (8-10) by Pomeroy. Those are two pretty lousy seasons for a coach to make the leap from.
Candidate #4: Steve Hawkins, Western Michigan –
This is another name that has been thrown around a bit, but not one that’s been taken seriously. It should be. Hawkins has a 243-194 record as a head coach at Western Michigan and he’s gone to the NCAA Tournament. He’s had success with the Broncos. His teams have never finished worse than second in the MAC West (albeit the easier half of the conference historically). This season the Broncos look to be on their way to at least an NIT berth and at least he would have some momentum coming in. No, this isn’t a sexy hire. This would be a decision based upon what’s best for the program as a basketball school.
A plus might be that Hawkins would probably like to get out of the MAC where even after winning 20 games last season his Broncos team couldn’t even get into the CBI. This is a name to watch is the bigger names start turning DePaul down.
Speaking of bigger names here are some quick reasons why I don’t expect to see these coaches leading DePaul next season: Brian Gregory, Dayton (doesn’t want to come), Bob Knight, ESPN Analyst (could backfire in a big way), Isiah Thomas, FIU (too green). It’s going to be an interesting off-season.