Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
As the Coaching Carousel spins on, Manhattan, Miami and UNLV are still seeking coaches. Here’s a brief rundown on where each school is at:
MANHATTAN: The school offered the job to LIU coach Jim Ferry, but the two sides could not agree on the financials. Sources said Ferry was seeking in the neighborhood of seven years at $350,000 per, and the school is willing to pay more like $175,000, plus about $200,000 for the staff.
The administration is now split between Rhode Island College coach Bob Walsh and Louisville assistant Steve Masiello, sources said.
Walsh is by all accounts a good man and a good coach, having come from Timmy Welsh’s coaching tree at Providence. In five years prior to this one, the New York native went 114-35 at the Division III school. He has been in the mix for the head job at Marist, Iona and St. Francis and has the backing of Associate AD Shawn Brennan, who knows him from their time together at Iona, where Walsh was an assistant. Yet because he’s coming from a D-3 program, he faces a perception problem.
Masiello, who was born in New York, grew up in Westchester and coaches under Rick Pitino, has the backing of athletic director Bob Byrnes, as well some of the top AAU guys in New York.
Gary Charles of the New York Panthers said he would like to see either Masiello or Rutgers assistant Van Macon get the job.
“The New York Panther organization would be happy with either Steve Masiello or Van Macon,” Charles said. “I think both of them would do an extremely good job there. I’ve known both of those young men for a long time so I can’t pick one over the other.
“For the sake of Manhattan College, they need to get a New York person who has recruited New York and knows all the players. Steve is from Westchester. When he was at Louisville, he recruited Edgar Sosa, Samardo Samuels, Earl Clark and Francisco Garcia. Everyone in New York knows Steve Masiello.
“And Van Macon, that goes without saying. He was at Hofstra for nine years and everyone knows and loves Van. To me, those two guys are no-brainers.
“Sometimes I think the administration makes this harder than they need to. At the end of the day it’s about players. Hire the coach that’s going to get you players. That’s the bottom line. I don’t care how good of an X’s and O’s coach you are, those guys can get you players. End of discussion.”
In the midst of this stalemate, Arizona assistant Book Richardson, another New York guy who recruited Kevin Parrom, Lamont “Momo” Jones and Sidiki Johnson to Arizona, has emerged as a last-minute candidate, sources said.
Manhattan assistant Scott Padgett has also been mentioned, and would provide some continuity between the current players and new staff.
Word is the administration will think things over for at least the weekend.
“It seems wide open at this point,” one source close to the situation said.
MIAMI: From Day One, Kansas State coach Frank Martin has been most closely linked to this vacancy, created when Frank Haith suddenly left for Missouri. He is a Miami native and sources have said Miami would be his “dream job.”
Still, Martin said in a Sporting News radio interview with Tim Brando on Tuesday he has not spoken to or been contacted by anyone regarding the position, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
He said, “if people want to throw my name out there, I look at that as a compliment and I look at that as being lucky and fortunate that I’m in a good place right now and that people out there respect what we’ve done here.”
Shakey Rodriguez, a Florida high school coach and one of Martin’s mentors, told TheMercury.com that Martin would listen if Miami came calling.
“At this time I know [Martin] is happy at Kansas State but he would listen to Miami,” he told TheMercury.com.
Still, he sounded dubious that Miami could make it happen given the fact that it has an interim AD and has shown an inability to fully support its basketball program in a football-mad environment.
“I don’t know that Miami, not having an A.D. present, is prepared to put together the kind of package that would sway him in this direction,” Rodriguez said.
Martin is also not a squeaky clean candidate.
He was fired from Miami High’s coach in 1998 after the FHSAA ruled the school had illegally recruited, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The school was fined $2,500 and forced to reimburse $5,000 in expenses.
At Kansas State, the NCAA suspended New York product Curtis Kelly for six games for taking clothing at a local apparel store, and guard Jacob Pullen got three games for the same offense.
The Sun-Sentinel also pointed out that Martin hit guard Chris Merriewether on the arm with the back of his hand.
Amid all this, acting AD Tony Hernandez told the Sun-Sentinel: “At this point, we’re considering everybody. We’re going to take it on a case-by-case basis. But I assure you that integrity and ethics will be a high priority in the search.”
UNLV: AD Jim Livengood announced on Tuesday that the four finalists were Mike Dunlap, Ernie Kent, Dave Rice and Reggie Theus.
Rice, a UNLV alum and the associate head coach at BYU, and Theus, the former UNLV star, are considered the favorites.
“We have completed the interviews of the four finalists,” Livengood said Friday. “All of the candidates did an outstanding job and all would certainly be great choices for UNLV and our head coaching position. We now want to spend the next couple of days continuing with a thorough review of the interview process and further consult with the president [Neal Smatresk].
“The hope is to be able to make a decision sometime on Sunday. We would then announce that decision at a press conference on Monday.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.