Not surprised by either of those non-moves.
With Romar, it’s clear Washington doesn’t care enough to fire him and Porter coming on board will keep hope alive, that *this* time a superstar recruit will make the difference. Not a good bet but then we get back to the first point…they don’t care enough.
With Matta, this health related retirement rumor is now on its 3rd year running by my count (at least). Believe it when you see it. At some point it may actually come true but I’m at the stage where I think you have to discount it going forward. I would assume his legacy is important to him and no coach wants to end on a negative note. Thus, unless things REALLY get bad with his back, I can’t imagine he’s done until he’s got OSU back in title contention.
The significance of the Matta move has less to do with him and more to do with Archie Miller IMO. If you believe that OSU is the job he’s really coveted, well, now that seems to be off the table. Can/will he wait another several years for it to open? I don’t think so.
OTOH, Dayton is a good job. He’s not quite at the Gregg Marshall compensation level but is believed to be somewhere in the $1.5 mill/year area. The A-10 is a good league but not so good that Dayton isn’t positioned to do extremely well in it virtually every season. The school and community care about the sport, so an appropriately sized ego can feel satisfied coaching there. So, he can be patient if he wants…but by most standards, he already has been. This is his 6th year there. That’s about the time you’d expect a coach looking to move into the Power 5 territory to jump.
If IU is to open, I would think they’d be very interested in him and I would think in turn he’d have to take a very long look at them. He’s been mostly Midwest centric in his recruiting at Dayton and I would think it wouldn’t take long for him to at least attempt to return IU to instate dominance in recruiting, something they’ve essentially abdicated since Bob Knight was fired (not that they don’t get instate players but that IU doesn’t get all or even most of the instate guys they want anymore and they’ve often seemed to prioritize “national” recruiting over regionally based targets, going all the way back to Mike Davis). I think there’s an argument that the IU brand has lost a little luster over the past 15 years but at the same time, it’s also a place with the resources for a return to glory. The school cares and prioritizes the sport…the fanbase is large and rabid (also a potential problem, of course)…they spend money…the natural recruiting territory is actually better than any other so-called “blue blood” with the possible exception of UCLA. If IU fires Crean and if they make a play for Miller (and I’d bet those two things are more likely than not at this point), I think he’d have a very difficult time saying “no.”
If he DID say no to IU…man, I have no idea what they’d do. It’s not always easy to know what Power 5 coaches might have enough friction in their current gigs to want to leave…we get surprised occasionally when a Jamie Dixon decides to bolt, you know? That said, I don’t see a lot of obvious names out there beyond Miller which would really excite people. Could they get Gregg Marshall interested? He’d be a big name but the word on him has been that he’s waiting on Kansas. Will he be patient waiting on that job? IU would seem to be very attractive for a guy like him. Might IU go crazy and offer Steve Alford the job and might he accept? Remember, people thought he was on the ropes at UCLA prior to this season and he’s struck me as one of those guys who tries to stay one step ahead of the posse.
Addendum: Mid major names to watch for in moving up to Power 5 + 3 jobs:
Kevin Keatts – UNC Wilmington
Joe Dooley – FGCU. Former KU assistant. 2nd straight NCAA bid.
John Becker – Vermont. 67% winning percentage overall and 81% in the league over 6 years. Playing for a Tournament championship and NCAA bid.
Pat Kelsey – Winthrop. Former assistant at Xavier and Wake Forest. 64% WP overall, 65% in league. Won regular season Big South titles the last two years and just won their Tournament on Sunday to earn his first NCAA trip.
King Rice – Monmouth. Second straight year he’s won the MAAC regular season and failed in the tournament, so probably not going to be dancing. Still, I would think he’s a name which will pop up on some openings.
Dan Muller – Illinois State. Regular season co-champ in the MVC. 62/63% WP in 5 years on the job and steady improvement every season. Have to think he’s at least a second tier candidate at Missouri and Illinois if that job opens up. Nebraska as well if they decide to fire Tim Miles.
Eric Musselman – Nevada. Great results in two years in Reno but have to think most would be suspicious about long term goals, given his extensive NBA/CBA/DLeague background. That said, he was an ASU assistant for two years and an LSU assistant for a year prior to getting the Nevada job. 52 years old, so probably still young enough that age isn’t a negative.
Leon Rice – Boise State. Not as hot as some of the other names here because his team didn’t win its league or anything, but he continues to put up strong seasons (3rd this year in the Mountain West) and he’s done it long enough that I think he’d make sense for someone, especially West of the Mississippi.
Nathan Davis – Bucknell. He’s only had two years there but they’ve been very strong in the regular season (29-7 over those two years) and they play for a Tournament championship tomorrow. Before that, he was head coach at D3 Randolph Macon and had a 78/80% WP over 6 years, making the NCAA Tournament in every season and getting to one Final Four and an Elite Eight. Maybe more risk than some other names here because of the short period in D1 but you can’t argue with the W/L record.
Brett Reed – Lehigh. A native of Waterford, they’re playing Bucknell for that Patriot title tomorrow. He’s got a good record 58% both overall and in the conference over 10 seasons. Still remarkably young given how long he’s been a head coach (only 44). He doesn’t have the knockout year in, year out consistency that some other guys here have but he’s made two NCAA Tournaments already and tomorrow might make his third.
Steve Forbes – East Tennessee State. Sort of similar to Davis in that he’s only got two years as a D1 head coach but they are really impressive ones…24-12 and then 27-8 with back to back 14-4 years in the conference. Just won a Tournament bid yesterday. Crazy good record at the JUCO level and then Gregg Marshall hired him to be an assistant at Wichita State. He’s also done time at Tennessee and Texas A&M, so D1 power conference basketball is not unfamiliar territory at all.
Scott Cross – UT Arlington. Has a Sun Belt Tournament coming up but his record at UT-A is pretty sterling regardless. 14-4 and regular season champs this year, 3rd place last year. Overall he’s “only” at 55% WP but he’s young at 42 and I think he’s going to be an appealing name based on recency of winning.
I’ve eliminated some guys whose records would indicate they’d be candidates but who are a bit old to get the nod… Kermit Davis at MTSU, Tim Cluess at Iona, Rick Byrd at Belmont, etc.