The college basketball coaching carousel is buzzing, and in a bit of a surprise move, Washington elected to fire head coach Lorenzo Romar on Wednesday. Romar has been at the school for 15 years but failed to make the NCAA Tournament in the past six seasons. There was some thought that with the top-ranked high school player in the country, forward Michael Porter Jr., on the way, Romar might survive to see another season. However, one of the premier jobs on the West Coast has now opened up.
With a great recruiting base in Seattle, an awesome home-court and rabid fan base, this job will be in demand. Here are five coaches who could be interested:
Randy Bennett (St. Mary's head coach)
Bennett feels like the obvious first call here. He has deep West Coast roots: He grew up in Arizona, played college ball in California and has coached in the Golden State virtually his whole career.
In the process he also built Saint Mary's into a mid-major power, with six NCAA tournament bids in 16 years (including this season) and 10 straight 20-win years.
Eric Musselman (Nevada head coach)
Musselman has a wild résumé that includes two stints as an NBA head coach (with the Warriors and Kings), but has found a new life in the college game.
After serving as an assistant at both Arizona State and LSU, he took the Nevada job two years ago and completely flipped the program on its head. A team which won just nine games the year before he arrived won 24 in his first season, before tallying 28 this year as well as Mountain West regular-season and postseason titles. The Wolfpack open the tournament on Thursday against Iowa State.
Tommy Lloyd (Gonzaga assistant)
Admittedly the first two names on this list are clear-cut choices, and after that there is a clear drop off. Which brings us to Lloyd.
Lloyd is one of the most respected assistants in the college game and has been the key recruiter who has helped the Zags land some incredible international talent over the years. Kelly Olynyk, Ronny Turiaf and Domantas Sabonis all came to Spokane because of Lloyd's efforts.
Point being, Lloyd is long overdue for a head coaching shot. But can one of the better Pac-12 jobs really hire an assistant with no head coaching experience?
Russell Turner (UC Irvine head coach)
In just a few short years Turner has turned Irvine into a mid-major power, winning at least 20 games in five straight seasons and taking home three Big West regular-season titles.
The only reason he hasn't gotten more love is because Irvine has made only one NCAA tournament during that span (it lost in the Big West title game this year).
Turner probably won't be Washington's first choice. But the Huskies could do a lot worse if he's their fallback plan.
Gregg Marshall (Wichita State head coach)
Admittedly, this is a super-long shot, but it is worth noting. Marshall's wife is a Washington native, and there has been some speculation that he and his family would consider a move if this job opened up.
Is it likely he leaves Wichita for Seattle? No. But stranger things have happened.