football Edit

Bossi's Best: Top six coaching jobs that became available for 2018

RIVAL VIEWS: Which coach has elevated his profile the most in NCAA tourney?

RANKINGS: 2018 Rivals150 | 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150 | 2018 Team


David Padgett
David Padgett (AP Images)

Out: Rick Pitino/David Padgett.

Under consideration: Chris Mack, Gregg Marshall, Mick Cronin, Eric Musselman.

The skinny: Pitino is out after allegations of Louisville paying for the services of former five-star Brian Bowen. Padgett is unlikely to be retained after spending the season as the interim coach. There’s no full-time athletic director in place and - oh, yeah - the Cardinals are likely facing NCAA penalties. Despite all of that, Louisville is still easily the best job opening of this cycle, and it’s not even very close. Louisville is a top 10 job due to its rich history, facilities and brand.

Chris Mack of Xavier has been widely speculated to be Louisville’s top target for some time now, but if he says no, anybody else being mentioned is pure speculation. Whoever ends up with the job will have to convince current players to stay and work in a hurry to find a recruiting class, as nobody is currently committed to the Cardinals.


Tom Crean
Tom Crean (AP Images)

Out: Mark Fox.

In: Tom Crean.

The skinny: The last time Georgia made a Final Four was 1983, the last time they won an SEC title was 1990 and the last time they won the SEC Tournament was 2008. So how can this be the second best job that came open this spring? It’s all about the SEC, fertile recruiting base and my belief - along with many others - that Georgia could be a sleeping giant.

After being considered a football conference and a Kentucky hoops conference for years, the SEC has evolved. The conference has really taken to basketball, and many programs are on the rise and are making Kentucky earn its dominance. Crean has learned what does and doesn’t work at a blueblood like Indiana, and a year away has given him a fresh outlook. Since 2003, 111 four-star or better prospects have finished their high school careers in Georgia, and many others from the state have finished at prep schools. In 2019 and 2020 there are already 14 players who fall into that category and two of them – five-star point guard Ashton Hagans and four-star small forward Elias King – were committed to the Bulldogs under Fox. Simply put, everything is there to complete a quick turnaround and become a perennial top 15 team if Crean can land the right talent.


Kevin Ollie
Kevin Ollie (AP Images)

Out: Kevin Ollie.

Under consideration: All in on Dan Hurley right now.

The skinny: Considering that Ollie and Jim Calhoun both won national championships at Connecticut and that they have a pretty rabid fanbase, an easy argument can be made that this job is the second best of the current cycle. I had it at No. 2 when I first made my list, but I slid it down just a little bit because economics could be an issue and there is potential NCAA trouble looming.

As it stands, the Huskies look to be all in on Hurley, and they are currently in a tug-of-war for his services with Pittsburgh and his current employer Rhode Island. If he says no, then the Huskies will be back at the starting line. While four-star point guard James Akinjo asked for a release, Rivals150 wing Emmitt Matthews remains committed for now, and the right coach should be able to recruit pretty easily to Storrs.



Penny Hardaway
Penny Hardaway (AP Images)

Out: Tubby Smith.

In: Penny Hardaway.

The skinny: Memphis is another that I strongly considered putting in the No. 2 slot. It is possible to win big there, and Memphis basketball is the biggest deal in a city that is loaded with high school basketball talent. On top of that, the Tigers have facilities and a good budget to work with.

We don’t yet know how Hardaway will be as a college coach. But he was a championship-winning high school and summer coach and he’s a legend in the Bluff City. Already, 2018 four-star Alex Lomax has been released from his letter of intent to Wichita State and committed to play for Hardaway - who also coached him in high school and summer ball. And more talent is likely on the way, soon. Keep a close eye on what happens with 2019’s No. 2-ranked player James Wiseman. Kentucky has been a favorite, but given that Hardaway also coached him in the summer and in high school, the Tigers will be a major factor.


5. PITT 

Kevin Stallings
Kevin Stallings (AP Images)

Out: Kevin Stallings.

Under consideration: Dan Hurley, Chris Jent, Sean Miller, Eric Musselman, Nate Oats, Ryan Odom, Kevin Willard.

The skinny: The Stallings experiment was a complete and total disaster. On the bright side, though, Pitt has some solid tradition and the Panthers have proven that they can be competitive. They are also willing to spend some money, as they are showing with a reported offer in the neighborhood of $3 million per year for Hurley.

Whoever lands the job needs to be given a long leash, because the job is a complete rebuild at this point. Even though they went winless in the ACC, the Panthers did have a promising core group of freshman. But they all want out and their recruiting class is now empty. They can sell getting to play against college basketball’s big boys, but it’s going to take strong efforts in 2018 (which is going to be tough), 2019 and 2020 recruiting to get things headed back in the right direction.


Kermit Davis
Kermit Davis (AP Images)

Out: Andy Kennedy.

In: Kermit Davis.

The skinny: Working in favor of Ole Miss is a new facility, playing in the SEC and being in the talent-rich Southeast. Working against the Rebels is little overall history, a less-than-rabid fanbase and playing second fiddle to Mississippi State - where Davis played in college, for his father - for local talent for some time. It also doesn’t help that Penny Hardaway just took the Memphis job, meaning the Rebels will be fighting for scraps in a city that had been pretty good to them under Kennedy.

Now the bright side. Davis can coach. He also knows how to find under-the-radar talent via the transfer and junior college markets. He worked both angles to turn Middle Tennessee State into a pretty strong program, and he’ll need to tap into his sources in those areas to replenish the talent in Oxford. Signed high school combo guard Serrel Smith is a potential Rivals150 player and Davis can save that pledge, and JUCO forward Zach Naylor appears to be another recruit Davis could hold on to.