12 potential candidates to be Arkansas' next head basketball coach
Arkansas announced the firing of Mike Anderson after eight seasons on Tuesday. According to the Razorbacks’ press release, a “national search for the next head men’s basketball coach will begin immediately.” Here are a few names of potential replacements…
Kelvin Sampson - Houston
Any list of candidates for the Arkansas job should start with Sampson. He is the most obvious choice because of his success and connection with athletics director Hunter Yurachek from their time together at Houston. It’s worth noting that the only hire Yurachek has made since becoming the Razorbacks’ AD has been in women’s tennis, a vacancy he filled with Courtney Steinbock from Houston.
This year, Sampson has the Cougars in the Sweet 16 for the first time since the Phi Slama Jama days. He also has a Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four finish on his resume from his time at Oklahoma in the 1990s and 2000s.
However, the 63-year-old does come with baggage. He was forced to resign from Indiana in 2008 due to major NCAA violations stemming from impermissible phone calls to recruits, something that also landed him on probation with the Sooners. That earned him a five-year show-cause penalty, preventing him from coaching in college.
Sampson’s current contract runs through 2021 and pays him about $1.6 million (including deferred compensation), according to the Houston Chronicle, but Houston is expected to start negotiating a long-term deal that will include a pay raise after the season.
Chris Beard - Texas Tech
Arkansas fans got an up-close glimpse of what Beard was capable of doing a few years ago when he took UALR to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a No. 12 seed by knocking off No. 5 seed Purdue in double overtime in his lone season with the Trojans.
He briefly took a job at UNLV before landing at Texas Tech, where he had served as an assistant coach under Bob and Pat Knight for 10 seasons. In just his second year with the Red Raiders, he reached the Elite Eight. Despite losing most of that team, Beard has them back in the Sweet 16 this season.
There are a few factors working against Arkansas when it comes to trying to lure him back to the Natural State. First, he’s already at a major conference school and has things rolling. Second, he recently agreed to a six-year, $19 million deal. That is an average annual salary of $3.175 million, or about 25 percent more than what Arkansas was paying Anderson. On top of that, the Razorbacks would be on the hook for a large buyout. Finally, one reason the Texas Tech job was so attractive to Beard in the first place is because it is only a few hours away from where his three daughters live.
Keith Dambrot - Duquesne
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