ST. LOUIS–Tuesday night or early Wednesday could bring new developments in the Missouri men’s basketball coaching search, or at least make some candidates more “available” than they were last week when the school announced that Cuonzo Martin would not return for a sixth season.
Presumably, Missouri Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois and search consultant Eddie Fogler have been working backchannels since then, talking to agents, and potentially some coaches who have already wrapped up their 2021-2022 seasons.
But at least five coaches who could be connected to the process play games Tuesday night which could end their current team’s season, allowing a candidate, and Missouri, to take the next step.
Jeff Linder (Wyoming)–In his second season in charge of the Cowboys, Linder has the team in the NCAA tournament, in a play-in game against Indiana Tuesday at Dayton. In six seasons as a head coach in Wyoming and Northern Colorado, Linder is 119-69, and 25-8 this season. His only experience at the Power 5 level came as an assistant director of basketball operations at Colorado in 2000-2001.
Dennis Gates (Cleveland State)–Gates has the Vikings in the postseason for the second straight year, this time in the NIT in a first round game against Xavier after taking his team to the NCAA tournament last season. In three years as a head coach, Gates is 50-39. The Chicago native and Cal grad would bring extensive high major experience as an assistant at Marquette and Florida State, where he was on the staff of the 2017-2018 Seminoles club that bounced Missouri from the NCAA tournament in Martin’s first season. His Florida State experience means he could fit nicely in Gainesville, where Florida is looking for a coach to replace Mike White, who left for Georgia, another job where Gates’ name appeared to be in play.
Grant McCausland (North Texas)–The Head Coach of the Mean Green takes on Texas State in a first round NIT game. McCausland is in his fifth season on the bench, and is coming off a 2020-2021 season which saw his club pull off an NCAA tournament upset of Purdue to reach the round of 32 last year. This year his team went 24-6 to capture the Conference USA regular season title before being eliminated in the conference tournament. McCausland brings the cache of being part of Scott Drew’s staff at Baylor from 2011-2016 as the Bears began their rise from the ashes into a postseason power.
Dana Altman (Oregon)–Our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report the Ducks’ coach has been interested in the Missouri job before and may be again. Oregon takes on Utah State in a first-round NIT matchup Tuesday. Altman is a Nebraska native with a 709–367 record as a head coach, including stops at Kansas State and Creighton.
Small Sample Size
we asked Twitter users a simple question late Sunday into Monday–do they think the next Missouri men’s basketball coach was currently coaching in the NCAA tournament, the NIT, the NBA (as an assistant), or done for the season. Here’s what you told us, based on 148 voters:
With an NCAA tourney team
With an NIT tourney team
A current NBA assistant
Done for the season
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