It's always interesting when a coach is let go and the fan base is left to speculate as to who will replace them. The interesting part I'm referring to is the names that fans will throw out there and the attached perception of where they see their program. Some people outside said fan base will think they are ridiculous for bringing up Coach A and think they can do no better than Coach B. So here we, as OU fans, are with our basketball coach being let go Monday afternoon.
One of the most important aspects of this decision that has yet to be discussed is the possible departure of any current players on the roster. Whether or not Jeff Capel was well-liked outside of the locker room, it's is commonly known that he was very well-liked by his players. So do we see a kid like Cam Clark or Steven Pledger possibly leave? Obviously, we hope that is not the case as this program can ill afford to lose any of the real talent currently on the roster. Only time will tell, but much like this upcoming hire will shape the future of the program it will obviously also go a long way in keeping what talent we currently have from leaving.
So after the jump, we'll delve into some of the names being thrown out there and the likelihood of them coming to Norman. As always, your input is welcomed as we'll probably miss a name or two and you can pick us up in the comments.
We'll get it started with the most obvious name out there and the apparent fan favorite:
- Billy Gillispie - The former UK and A&M coach is certainly available and by reports that I've read definitely interested. He is also a strong candidate for the Texas Tech job and reportedly working on a contract as we speak. The rumors online are that his preference is OU, but he'll take the Tech job if he thinks and OU offer isn't coming. The belief in Norman is that it will be difficult to get Boren to sign off on the hire, but the Sooners program may be at a point that they need to take a chance on a guy with a checkered past.
- Josh Pastner - The current Memphis coach and one of the young up-and-comers in the country. This is my personal favorite, I don't think it is going to happen but I really, really hope I'm wrong. He is an outstanding recruiter and by all accounts also a pretty darn good coach. I think it would take a lot to get him to leave Memphis, but it's not impossible to imagine him in Norman. Rumors online are that there is some possible interest, but there is some hesitation with some issues surrounding the OU program (more administrative from my understanding than NCAA stuff).
- Brad Stevens - The Butler coach made a name for himself during their run to the finals last year and have qualified for the tournament again in 2011. To me, this one is even less likely than Pastner but is the kind of guy I could see Joe C. going after.
- Tubby Smith - News this evening is that he's very close to a deal with Arkansas, so this one may be off the table before we even get started. But this would be my 1A choice to Pastner. I think Tubbs would be a great hire for this program! He has a great track record, can recruit, and I feel like if we could get him would be a guy that isn't looking to bide his time before going somewhere else. He obviously has a history in the state of OK and I think OU would be lucky to get him.
- Buzz Williams - As I type this on Monday evening, Williams' name appears to be the one generating the most buzz (bad pun intended) in the online rumor mill. Reading online, he apparently has a familiarity of recruiting in TX and is a UCO grad so obviously familiar with OK as well. He's done very well since taking over for Tom Crean at Marquette and could possibly be attracted to the idea of getting out of the pressure cooker that is the Big East into a league where, with the talent, he could have a much better chance of winning.
- Terry Evans - The hometown favorite, former Sooner, and current UCO coach is a name that has also come up a lot. It's hard for me to see Joe C. taking a flier on a D-II guy, even if he is a former Sooner. It would fit the belief of some that OU is looking to go "on the cheap" with this hire and allow them to take a local favorite and allow him time to develop. I don't think this is route Joe C. goes and believe it would be a mistake if he did, but Evans has done really good things at UCO. I just think the jump to D-I would be too great and this program cannot afford to take that risk right now.
- Tad Boyle - He as to be bitter after getting passed up by the tourney committee right? Seriously though, Boyle has done one hell of a job this year in Boulder and looks like a possible home run hire for CU. So could OU possibly steal him away for the Buffs' jump to the Pac-12? It's hard to see Colorado letting him get away, but if you're Joe C. you've got to at least make the phone call.