Last week I posted five names that are being talked about around the web by writers for the Illinois head coaching job. This week I’ll look at five more names that are being mentioned for the job.
Brad Stevens- Head coach- Butler
The boy wonder from Butler. Leading Butler to back to back national runner ups, Stevens is one of the top two hottest up and coming head coaches in the country, right next to Shaka Smart. Stevens is 137-39 in four seasons at Butler, and 73-17 in the Horizon League. He’s already turned down jobs in the past such as Oregon, Clemson and Wake Forest. Speculation suggests Stevens wants the Indiana job, but Tom Crean has seemed to finally establish himself there. Speculation also suggests he’ll be Coach K’s successor at Duke. Stevens could also stay at Butler since Butler is now wanting to join the Atlantic 10, a much more prestigious conference than the Horizon League.
Frank Martin- Head coach- Kansas State
Frank Martin was mentioned by long time Illinois writer Taylor Bell in a recent article. Martin would definitely bring some toughness to the Illini team, being known as a hard-nosed coach. He’s a solid recruiter, being able to bring stud players all the way out to Manhattan, Kansas. He’s a proven winner in his five years at KSU, making four NCAA tournaments and one NIT. Before being named the head coach at KSU, Martin was an assistant at KSU and Cincinnati, learning under Bob Huggins. Before that he developed ties to the state of Florida while coaching in Miami high schools.
Robert Smith- Head coach- (Chicago) Simeon Career Academy
Robert Smith professed his desire for the job in a recent ESPN article. Chicago Simeon is one of the top high school programs in the nation every year. Simeon boasts numerous former star college players such as Nick Anderson, Derrick Rose, Deon Thomas and Bobby Simmons, and also current future stars such as Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn. Smith believes he can keep all the top Chicago players in state, and cites his relationship with Jabari Parker as a key reason he should be head coach. Smith would probably be better off starting as an assistant or a head coach at a low-major first.
Reggie Theus- Former Sacramento Kings head coach
Another questionable choice, Theus doesn’t have much experience at the college level. Theus took over New Mexico State in 2005 after the retirement of Lou Henson. In two years at NMSU Theus went 41-23 and 21-11 in the WAC. The 2006-07 season was his best, and last, season at NMSU, going 25-9 and leading the Aggies to the NCAA tournament. He then left for the job in Sacramento where he went 44-62 over 102 games. Rumors started swirling about Theus after he was seen at a Simeon basketball game talking to Jabari Parker’s mom.
Eddie Johnson- Former Illini and NBA player
Another option who has recently publicly stated that he wants the job badly. Johnson cites former NBA players without previous head coaching experience succeeding in the college ranks, such as Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State, as a reason he can succeed at Illinois. He believes his numerous years being around the game and his time in the NBA has groomed him to be a head coach. It’s nice that a former player wants the job, but one without much coaching experience is a little questionable.