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Coaching Carousel: White Turning Down Tennessee, Donovan An NBA Candidate?

rumors-cartoonWhile Missouri’s search for a new coach creeps along stealthily, the same can’t be said for Tennessee’s hunt.  After attempting to woo some “A-list candidates” to Knoxville — only to be met with a lack of interest — the Volunteers turned their attention to Michael White of Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

White is a former point guard at Ole Miss and a former assistant coach there.  He has been at Louisiana Tech for three years and has never reached an NCAA Tournament (which means his resume is quite similar to the one Cuonzo Martin’s owned when he was hired by UT three years ago).

White is also on the verge of saying “thanks, but no thanks” to Tennessee’s offer.  According to CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish:

 

parrish tweet

 

We at MrSEC.com were told last night that White would likely stay in Ruston.  We believe White is asking for a large buyout from the school and after paying buyouts for numerous coaches over the years, Tennessee does not want to go down the big buyout road.  The school’s reserve fund is currently less than $5 million.  Most SEC schools have reserves greater than $50 million.

Sadly for athletic director Dave Hart’s sake, those fans who signed a petition to bring back Bruce Pearl have made the UT job a tough sell.  Everyone — from the national media to most in the Knoxville media to the majority of the Volunteer fanbase — admits that fact.  (Those who did the petitioning say the job is peachy and Hart must be a bad salesman.)

White’s desire for security is quite natural.  If you were looking at a roster that’s losing four of its top five players — which doesn’t help matters — and you knew that the last guy was petition’d right out of town despite win totals of 19, 20 and 24 games in his three years, wouldn’t you be asking for petition insurance, er, I’m sorry, a big buyout?

If the White negotiations are indeed finished, look for Tennessee to turn to Donnie Tyndall of Southern Miss and Will Wade of Chattanooga as their search stumbles along.  As was the case when Mississippi State fans were driving away Rick Stansbury, we warned, “Careful what you wish for.”  And like MSU (which has lost 29 of its last 36 SEC games), UT  is having to come to grips with the fact that their job looks better through their orange-colored glasses than it does to outsiders.

Meanwhile, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves are considering Florida’s Billy Donovan as their next coach.  Yes, Billy Donovan.

 

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That would seem like a very long shot from our perspective.  In June of 2007, Donovan left the Florida Gators to become the head coach just down the road with the Orlando Magic.  But he changed his mind soon after and returned to Gainesville within the week.

If he couldn’t leave Gainesville for Orlando, would he really uproot his family for Minneapolis?

Still, it’s an interesting story to keep an eye on.

As for Missouri, the Tigers’ search seems to be focused in on the same list of candidates that were on Tennessee’s initial list: Gregg Marshall of Wichita State, Mick Cronin of Cincinnati, Archie Miller of Dayton, Tim Miles of Nebraska and Chris Mack of Xavier.  Marshall will want about $3 million to move and it’s doubtful AD Mike Alden will go that far.

If Mizzou finds it’s hunt to be as tough as Tennessee’s search, one wonders if ex-UCLA coach Ben Howland — a man whose name hasn’t gained traction in any search this offseason — might creep into the Tiger mix.  He certainly has a good track record on the court.  Not so much off it.

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SEC Headlines 5/9/2013

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Kentucky defensive back Ashely Lowery, injured in a car wreck over the weekend, is out of ICU and in a regular hospital room. Could be leaving soon. “We’re hoping by the end of the week.”

2. Seth Emerson imagines a nine-game SEC schedule for Georgia where the Bulldogs have only five games in Athens.  ”That would be hard for UGA to stomach.”

3. Mike Bianchi on Florida coach Will Muschamp: “Does Gator Nation realize how much in demand Muschamp is – and will be?”

4. Muschamp on Twitter – why do they call it a hashtag?

5. Kevin Sumlin on expectations for his A&M team.  ”This is a team that didn’t play in a BCS game. It’s a good place to start, but it’s not a good place to end.”

6. Dan Mullen on expectations at Mississippi State. “Eight wins is kind of a baseline for us…”

7. No tight end or primary H-back has caught more than 24 passes with Gus Malzahn as coach.

8. Ole Miss depth chart released – only members of top-10 recruiting class to show up are those already enrolled.

9. Former Arkansas quarterback Brandon Mitchell reportedly considering five schools -   South Florida, NC State, UAB, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State. Some other schools being mentioned.

10. Tennessee defensive back Daniel Gray is transferring.

11. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Vanderbilt: “They compete and they’re very competitive.”

12. With the North Carolina game set for 2015 in Charlotte – here’s a look at South Carolina’s non-conference schedule for the next three seasons.

13. Opening weekend of the 2013 college football season features both South Carolina/North Carolina and Ole Miss/Vanderbilt on ESPN Thursday night.

14. ESPN’s Chris Low ranks the top 20 SEC prospects for the 2014 NFL draft.

SEC Athletic Department Revenues – (our breakdown from yesterday)

15. Alabama’s athletic department has now generated $100 million + in revenue for five straight years.

16. Auburn cracked the top 10 nationally – school record $105.9 million in 2012.

17. Not included in the numbers for Ole Miss - $11 million in contributions held at the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation.  School will change the way it reports next year.

SEC Basketball

18. Father of Trae Golden disputes notion of academic problems at Tennessee for his son – calls reports “totally inaccurate.”

19. Incoming freshman Darius Thompson expected to get first crack at replacing Golden.  Coach Cuonzo Martin:  ”We feel great about him.” Jordan McRae invited to Kevin Durant Skills Academy.

20. Making the case for a practice facility at Arkansas.

21. Georgia assistant coach Kwanza Johnson still weighing possible move to TCU.

22. Missouri will play in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational in November.

Extras

23. NCAA Study: Gambling among men who play Division I sports fell from 58 percent to 50 percent from 2008 to 2012.

24. Claim: The players in those college football video games?  Oh, they’re real (and spectacular).

25. Does Tim Tebow have a future as a baseball player?

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SEC Bubble Teams Don’t Need An Upset-Winner In Nashville (Or In Other Conference Tourneys)

fingers-crossedDepending on the source you study, the SEC still has as many as four teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble (we believe there are really only two, but we’ll explain that in greater detail later today.)  Fans of bubble hopefuls Alabama, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Tennessee should be pulling for a couple of different things to happen at the SEC tourney in Nashville this week — either for their own team to cut down the nets or for Florida or Missouri to capture the title.

A championship for UA, UK, UM, or UT will give that winning team the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and prevent any Selection Sunday sweating they might have to endure otherwise.  A win by Florida or Missouri would give the auto-bid to a team that’s already earned its ticket to the Big Dance.

What the SEC’s bubble teams don’t need is some underdog squad making a surprise run to capture the tournament crown.

Just as upsets in other league tourneys can take away at-large berths, so too can an upset-winner in Nashville.  If a Georgia, Arkansas, LSU, or some other team works its way onto the SEC’s trophy-presentation podium on Sunday, there will be one less NCAA at-large bid available to the Crimson Tide, Rebels, Volunteers, and Wildcats.

That’s just the state of things in Nashville.  The SEC’s bubble teams also need to be keeping an eye on the following key conference tournaments across the country this week:

 

Conference USA – SEC bubble hopefuls should be pulling for Memphis to win its league tournament.  The Tigers were regular-season champs and are currently 27-4 with an RPI of 16.  Southern Miss is 21-8 with an RPI of 35 and a seat squarely on the bubble.  It’s possible C-USA might just be a one-bid league if Memphis wins the title.  The Tigers went 16-0 in conference play and fans in Knoxville, Lexington, Oxford, and Tuscaloosa should be rooting for them to be just as successful in their league tourney this week.

Horizon League – It’s doubtful that regular-season champ Valparaiso (24-7, RPI 60) would earn an at-large bid if it’s upset in its league tournament, but better safe than sorry.  Fans of SEC bubble teams should be pulling for Valpo when they play Wright State in the finals on Tuesday.

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The Search Begins At UK: Keep An Eye On Cutcliffe, Dykes And Fulmer

Kentucky’s decision to replace Joker Phillips as head coach has officially opened the door on America’s annual speculation season.  The race to find out who UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart will hire is on and it will likely provide a landslide of misinformation, Twitter and messageboard rumors and, sadly, some flat-out lies (for the sake of grabbing pageviews).

That’s what the media provides these days.  Because that’s what fans want these days.

We can tell you that various outlets from The Lexington Herald-Leader to Kentucky’s Rivals site CatsIllustrated.com (paywall warning) to AthlonSports.com have already posted candidate lists and “hot boards” for fans to peruse.  In addition, John Clay of The Herald-Leader has tossed out longshot Mike MacIntyre of San Jose State as a possibility.  Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports writes — as we did a few weeks ago — that Bobby Petrino won’t be among the candidates, but a number of assistant coaches in the college and pro ranks will be.

At MrSEC.com, we’ll simply pass along the three names that we’ve heard most often from folks in or close to the Kentucky program.  Names of men that we believe Barnhart will have an interest in speaking to.  Names of people who might also be interested in the Wildcats’ job.

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UT’s Sentimore: “I Want To Beat (Bama’s) Saban”

The story of Tennessee defensive end Darrinton Sentimore’s desire to beat Alabama coach Nick Saban just keeps getting bigger and louder.  You saw it in today’s headlines, but Sentimore — who went from UA to UT with a juco stop in between — has made it even clearer how much he relishes the shot he’ll get at his old coach Saturday in Knoxville:

 

“I ain’t going to lie to you, I want this game more than any other game.  I want to beat Saban…

I like him, but I wasn’t wanting to be under him.  I just wouldn’t rather be under him.  With some players, he’ll see you in the hallway and he’ll just walk right past you like he doesn’t see you.  I don’t like stuff like that.”

 

Asked about Sentimore yesterday, Saban called him a “good player” and said he’s “happy he’s doing a good job and having success.”  But he also added: “I hope he’s doing what he needs to do off the field, in school.  His problems here were not relative to being a football player.  It had nothing to do with pass rush or sacks, or any of that.”

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Texas A&M Beats La. Tech In Wild Shootout

Texas A&M 59 – Louisiana Tech 57

1. Texas A&M proved no lead is safe while it outlasted Louisiana Tech in Shreveport.

2. Said Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin: “We’re happy we won, but we’re not overjoyed.”

3. Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel broke his own record with 557 yards of total offense.

4. Here’s a transcript of Sumlin’s postgame comments following Texas A&M’s win.

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Wow Sunday Headlines 10/14/2012

Saturday SEC Football Scores
Ole Miss 41 – Auburn 20
Alabama 42  - Missouri 10
Florida 31 – Vanderbilt 17
Arkansas 49 – Kentucky 7
LSU 23 – South Carolina 21
Mississippi State 41 – Tennessee 31
Texas A&M 59 – Louisiana Tech 57

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Wow Saturday Headlines 10/13/2012

Saturday SEC Football Schedule
Auburn at Ole Miss
Alabama at Missouri
Florida at Vanderbilt
Kentucky at Arkansas
South Carolina at LSU
Tennessee at Mississippi State
Texas A&M vs Louisiana Tech at Shreveport

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SEC Headlines 10/13/12

1. Steve Spurrier is going for another first at South Carolina.

2. Will South Carolina live up to the hype as it goes on the road to LSU?

3. Louisiana Tech hosts Texas A&M tonight. Can La. Tech bust the BCS?

4. Kentucky put on a show at its Big Blue Madness Friday night.

5. Here’s a picture/video look at Midnight Madness around the country.

6. What will Kentucky’s basketball team look like this year? That’s what Mike DeCourcy wonders.

7. A computer error appears to be the reason for the spike in John L. Smith’s debt listing.

8. Another discrimination lawsuit has been filed against Tennessee.

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Wow Evening Headlines 10/12/2012

Auburn at Ole Miss. MrSEC Pick:  Ole Miss 27, Auburn 20
Alabama at Missouri. MrSEC Pick:  Alabama 38, Missouri 7
Florida at Vanderbilt. MrSEC Pick:  Florida 28, Vanderbilt 10
Kentucky at Arkansas. MrSEC Pick:  Arkansas 37, Kentucky 14
South Carolina at LSU. MrSEC Pick:  South Carolina 20, LSU 17
Tennessee at Mississippi State. MrSEC Pick:  Tennessee 28, Mississippi State 27
Texas A&M vs Louisiana Tech at Shreveport.  MrSEC Pick:  Texas A&M 41, Louisiana Tech 34

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