Let’s be real here - the firing of Kermit Davis or ahem, mutual parting of ways, has been expected for a month now. Today, it is reportedly final.
So the Cup has been meticulously going through resumes of college basketball coaches to try and help find the next targets for Ole Miss basketball. There’s one big name that keeps circulating every Rebel fan message board - Chris Beard. The talented yet maligned former coach at Texas was fired amid allegations of domestic violence though charges were later dropped.
For our staff here, it’s just not a route Ole Miss should take at this time. Even if you can get over the allegations against him, which most of us can’t, there are other good-to-great coaches out there without that baggage, and honestly, the program who takes a chance on Beard better win and win big with the liability it brings into its school. That is the one thing glossed over by the fans pulling for Beard is that if it doesn’t work out for whatever reason (losing record, off the court issue) it is a massive failure for the athletic department. If you have a staunch belief in his ability to win, that’s great, but you won’t find his name on our hot list of candidates.
Thank you next.
It seems there are two ways this search could go: Power Five coach who is imperfect or unproven mid-major who is a gamble.
The Power Five Candidates
- Steve Forbes - Wake Forest, 175-75 overall record
Forbes hasn’t been great at Wake, but he hasn’t been bad either. Also, in theory he has a relatively young roster that he could poach.
- Chris Mack - former Louisville coach, 278-133 overall record
Mack didn’t work out at Louisville, as he only made the tournament in one of his three years at the helm. Still, his tenure at Xavier was incredible, as he went to the tourney eight of nine years, finishing in the final four and elite eight one time each and the sweet sixteen thrice. He would be an excellent hire.
- Will Wade - former LSU coach
Wade made the tournament in three of his four seasons as the head of the Tigers before being fired for NCAA violations surrounding the alleged paying of players. Paying players is fine now, so who cares?
- Ed Cooley - Providence - the longshot
Ed Cooley already makes 2.2 million dollars a year, with good reason as he has taken Providence to the tournament seven times in eleven years. He would immediately make Ole Miss basketball relevant, but will he come? His teams are fast paced and fun and currently ranked in the top 25.
- Darian Devries - Drake
Devries trained under Greg McDermott at Creighton and is poised to make tournament for the second time in five years. Also, his son, Tucker, would be a great get.
- Bucky McMillan - Samford
Ok. Hear me out. I know Bucky McMillan was a high school coach four years ago. He was national high school coach of the year at Mountain Brook High School in Alabama though! In his three seasons as the head coach at Samford, his teams have gone 6-13 (2-9), 21-11 (10-8), and 21-9 (15-2). On top of that, he runs fast tempo and would produce an exciting brand of basketball if it worked.
- Ritchie McKay - Liberty Flames, 215-109 overall record
His teams shoot lots of threes and are pretty successful. That’s all I got.
- Amir Abdul-Rahim - Kennesaw State
When Abdul-Rahim was an assistant at UGA, he convinced someone by the name of Anthony Edwards to spurn blue bloods and come play in Athens (something pretty uncommon). In his first four seasons at Kennesaw State, a program that was in shambles when he took over, he has gone1-28, 5-19, 13-18, and 22-8. They are poised to make the tournament this season. Talk about a rebuild.
- Dusty May - FAU Owls, 86-57 overall record
A popular name on message boards, May is probably a strong candidate. While his ability to make FAU relevant is intriguing, he has never been to the tournament (though he will be going this year).
- Bob Richey Jr. - Furman Paladins, 117-49 overall record
Richey has succeeded at Furman. Meh.
- Grant McCasland - North Texas Mean Green, 189-84 overall record
McCasland led UNT to a first round upset over Purdue two years ago. Ole Miss could do a lot worse.
There’s plenty more names out there, drop them in the comments. Who do you think should lead Ole Miss basketball going forward?