Looks like the four most intriguing candidates at this point are Mike Anderson, Tubby Smith, Chuck Person and Tony Barbee. All are good choices. My concern with Anderson would be he's a vagabond. Not sure how long he's committed until another bigger job comes along and he takes off. He's a great coach, but loyalty is the issue with him. However, if he sees the 90+million facility, he may want to be in for the long haul. He would be a great coach for Auburn, but you would always have to wonder if he's looking over his shoulder for another bigger offer. Anderson makes 1.8 million at Missouri so it would take a better offer to lure him away. I think he does want to be in the SEC though.
My concern with Tubby Smith would be the same thing though I'm not convinced he's as good of a coach as Anderson. He did well at Georgia while he was there, which was only two years. He took them to the Sweet 16 and did pretty well at Kentucky. He took Minnesota to the tourney this year, but honestly, I didn't think his team should have gotten in the tourney. What did he have 17-18 wins and got blown out by 29 in the Big Ten tournament championship by Ohio State. Miss. State should have gone ahead of Minnesota, in my opinion. Still, he's a solid candidate, just not sure Auburn could keep him for the long term if he succeeds. Plus he'd be recruiting against Anthony Grant and Mike Davis who are pretty good recruiters, so he'd have his work cut out for him. He's a little bit older too, you wonder if he really wants to start over. Indications are he's staying at Minnesota which pays him $1.8 million.
Tony Barbee is interesting. Does he know this area well enough though? Can he recruit in Alabama and Georgia? Jeff Lebo was really too much of a city guy for Auburn. It just wasn't a good fit as much as I liked Lebo. There needs to be a Southerner who relates to the kids in this area. Barbee could be the guy. He has done a nice job at UTEP.
That leaves Chuck Person. Honestly, I wasn't sold on this at the beginning, but the more I read about him the more interesting he seems. He's got great pro experience and guys like Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks and Mitch Kupchak of the Lakers really like him a lot and see him as a quality coach. He's an Auburn guy which makes him more attractive. Can he coach on the college level? That is the question. Clyde Drexler was a highly successful pro player who just couldn't get it done at his alma mater. I don't think Drexler had much coaching experience at all even in the pros when he took the Houston job. Person does have the experience on that level. He also has great connections in the state and in the Southeast so maybe he's worth the gamble. What does Auburn have to lose at this point?
Those four men are interesting possibilities, and there are more. There are a lot of good mid-major coaches out there who would be chomping at the bit to get a shot at an SEC school. Brad Brownell of Wright State is a name that has come up.
Need to get this done pretty soon. There is a signee out of Tennessee who is wavering a little bit on his letter of intent. Was Tennessee's player of the year in Class 2A. He wants to see who the next coach will be.
Need to keep the other signees as well. There are six of them total.
Also, will have a full preview of the UAB-UNC game tomorrow. Taking my two girls. Should be an exciting atmosphere. Big time program comes to town. Would be a great win for Mike Davis and the team if they could get it.