Posted on: April 6, 2009 5:19 pm

Avery Johnson to Memphis is news to Avery Johnson

DETROIT -- Coaching searches have a way of taking a life of their own, the ongoing one at Memphis being a prime example. Once Scott Drew pulled out and Leonard Hamilton expressed his lack of interest, the name that started getting kicked around most often -- at least on talk radio and silly message boards, where some fans hilariously pose as insiders -- belonged to Avery Johnson, which is, well, news to Avery Johnson.

According to a source close to Johnson, there has been no contact between Memphis and the former NBA coach.


As in zero.

And though the source said Johnson might be a good college coach, the reality is that he considers himself an NBA coach, and that's what he plans to be going forward. Bottom line, this was always a far-fetched idea (and not even a good one, long as I'm being honest), but even if Memphis approached Johnson they'd almost certainly be turned away, meaning Johnson is more likely to someday coach the Grizzlies than the Tigers ... and the Grizzlies are probably too cheap to hire him, anyway.

Meantime, don't be surprised if the Memphis search concludes shortly.

Do be surprised if the hire is the "wow" hire Memphis officials promised last week.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 5, 2009 12:05 am
Edited on: April 5, 2009 12:31 am

What's next for Memphis?

DETROIT -- The Memphis coaching search has turned into a complete mess , and sources have said the name bouncing around most at this moment belongs to Florida State's Leonard Hamilton, which would be fine, I guess. He can get players, and assistant Stan Jones (a former Memphian) can help coach them. So that might be OK -- although I'd be skeptical of hiring a 60-year-old man to rebuild my program, but maybe I'm just stupid.

Meantime, here are my thoughts on the matter ...

Former Memphis assistant Tony Barbee would be a good hire because he knows Memphis, knows the current roster, knows the recruits Memphis needs to get and is on the verge of winning C-USA next season at UTEP (he'll probably have the best roster in the league). But Barbee's issue is that John Calipari privately backed him for the job last week to multiple prominent boosters, and those boosters are so mad at Calipari now that they won't hire Barbee just because they don't want to do what Calipari told them to do. In other words, Calipari's endorsement has hurt Barbee's chances of getting this job, meaning he's probably not getting this job.

Which brings me to Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy.

Yeah, he had the cab driver incident this season, and that would cause Deadspin.com and TheBigLead.com to clown the hire. They'd have jokes, and they'd be funny, and then all that would be over. It would last about 48 hours, and then Kennedy would hold a press conference, and he'd be impressive, and then he'd recruit and get players (he signed one of the best prospects from Memphis this season, it's worth noting), and the city of Memphis would love him. Trust me, this would be a good hire. But all indications are that the Memphis boosters can't get past the incident and still-looming legal issues, and unless that changes Kennedy won't get this job, either.

Which brings me to UMass coach Derek Kellogg.

Yeah, he had a losing season this season in his first season at his alma mater. But if Kellogg was still an assistant at Memphis he'd probably already have this job, and so it's worth exploring his level of interest, then see if Memphis assistant John Robic will remain in Memphis to help with the adjustment. Robic handled all the scouting for Calipari's Tigers, case you didn't know. He's the type of veteran a younger coach can lean on, something similar to what Larry Shyatt provides Billy Donovan at Florida. Would Robic stay in Memphis? I have no idea. But if Kellogg could keep Robic around, this route might end up being the most sensible route given the current state of affairs.

Beyond that, Memphis should just offer the job to assistant Josh Pastner.

He'd take it, I'm sure.

Or Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald.

He'd take it, I'm sure.

Or former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie.

He'd take it, I'm sure.

Or New Mexico coach Steve Alford.

He'd take it, I'm sure.

Honestly, I could produce a whole list of people who would actually take this job.

Needless to say, it's a different list than the list Memphis has been using the past four days.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Memphis
Posted on: April 4, 2009 7:24 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2009 9:02 pm

Drew to remain at Baylor; Memphis still looking

DETROIT -- Scott Drew will remain at Baylor for a seventh season despite heavy interest from Memphis, multiple sources told CBSSports.com on Saturday.

According to sources, Drew did speak with people associated with the Memphis program, and one source went so far as to say it "was his job if he wanted it." But Drew ultimately decided to pass on the opportunity to follow John Calipari, leaving Memphis athletic director R.C. Johnson scrambling now that his interest in Rick Pitino (Louisville) Mike Anderson (Missouri), Bruce Pearl (Tennessee), Tim Floyd (Southern California) and Drew has been rejected to varying degrees.

Sources said Memphis was prepared to pay Drew roughly $2 million per season.

But he's staying at Baylor ... for less money.

What's next?

Sources said Memphis will now likely turn toward Florida State's Leonard Hamilton.

Another possible option is one-time NBA star and former New Mexico State coach Reggie Theus.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 2, 2009 8:23 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2009 8:44 pm

Pearl reaches deal to stay at UT

DETROIT -- Bruce Pearl has reached an agreement in principle to remain at Tennessee.

Details of the agreement are unclear. But the new six-year contract is expected to feature pay increases for Pearl and his asssistants, among other things.

"(UT athletic director) Mike (Hamilton) has been terrifically supportive and committed to making this one of the best jobs in all of college basketball," Pearl said. "I want to ensure the University of Tennessee and its fans that I’m 100 percent committed to this school, this program and our student-athletes.

The new contract was a direct result of Memphis' interest in Pearl.

Memphis is still searching for a new coach to replace John Calipari.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 2, 2009 6:02 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2009 9:23 pm

Floyd staying at USC; Memphis misses on Pearl

DETROIT -- Tim Floyd will remain at Southern California despite an offer from Arizona and heavy interest from Memphis, sources told CBSSports.com on Thursday.

An official announcement is expected soon.

It's unclear what's next for Arizona.

However, multiple sources told CBSSports.com that Memphis was interested in pursuing Bruce Pearl up until the moment the Tennessee coach agreed to an extension with UT on Thursday night. That's a moot point now, obviously. So Memphis will keep looking for John Calipari's replacement with three ideal candidates -- Mike Anderson (Missouri), Floyd (USC) and Pearl (UT) -- already off the board.

Posted on: April 2, 2009 5:35 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2009 5:37 pm

Memphis and Arizona both involved with Floyd

DETROIT -- What has prevented Southern California's Tim Floyd from taking the Arizona job all day?


And this coaching carousel sure is getting crazy.

Here's the latest: Floyd has been considering an offer from Arizona, but one of the reasons he's stalled -- multiple sources told CBSSports.com on Thursday -- is because he's also being pursued by Memphis, which apparently came at Floyd with big money before it recognized that Tennessee's Bruce Pearl is a legitimate candidate. In other words, Floyd has essentially been weighing two opportunities -- Arizona and Memphis. But he'll have to pick soon because both schools are ready to move forward, one way or another.

Floyd has called a 6 p.m. ET news conference at USC.

Sources also told CBSSports.com that Memphis' next move, if necessary, will be toward Pearl. Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton informed a local newspaper that he would deny Memphis' request to speak with Pearl, but that hardly matters. Requesting permission is a courtesy, not a necessity. And considering FedEx CFO Alan Graf -- who is involved in the Memphis search -- is here in the same city as Pearl at the Final Four, Memphis and Pearl will talk if they want to talk, with our without Hamilton's permission.

Memphis could offer Pearl a package of around $3 million per year, according to sources.

Posted on: April 1, 2009 5:46 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2009 6:01 pm

Pitino to Memphis? "No way in hell"

DETROIT -- Bruce Pearl is a realistic candidate at Memphis.

Rick Pitino, not so much.

CBSSports.com was the first to report Pearl as a legitimate candidate to replace John Calipari, and multiple sources have since added that if the Memphis boosters approach Pearl with a lucrative deal he would be open to considering a move to the western side of the state. Meantime, The Commercial Appeal has reported that, in addition to Pearl, the Memphis boosters have expressed an interest in trying to lure Pitino from Louisville with a deal that would give him more money than Calipari just took from Kentucky. But an industry source told CBSSports.com that there's "no way in hell" Pitino would move to Memphis, even if the school promised to make Richard Pitino, Rick's son, the designate coach in waiting.

So the bottom line is this ...

Pitino: No.

Pearl: Show me the money.

Posted on: April 1, 2009 12:36 am
Edited on: April 1, 2009 1:25 am

Who's next at Memphis?

Mike Anderson is off the table.

Now Memphis will likely turn to USC coach Tim Floyd.

Multiple sources told CBSSports.com that Floyd is the probable target and that the native southerner would listen, though it's unclear if he'd want to follow John Calipari at Memphis unless the money was too much to turn away. As one source put it: "Tim already followed Phil Jackson in Chicago. Why would he want to follow Cal in Memphis?"

Fair point.

A list of other possible candidates includes Ole Miss' Andy Kennedy, Western Kentucky's Ken McDonald, UTEP's Tony Barbee, and Florida State's Leonard Hamilton. And if the boosters who are upset with Calipari for leaving wanted to send a message that Memphis will remain nationally relevant -- and infuriate their former coach in the process -- they could package a lucrative deal similar to the one they were prepared to give Calipari and make a run at Calipari's nemesis, Bruce Pearl. On the surface, it seems unlikely that Pearl would consider leaving Tennessee for Memphis, but a contract worth $3 million per year would make him think about it, I'm certain.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: Memphis
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