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Alabama Basketball Coaching Search: Who Does Alabama Turn to Now?

Bill Battle and company put nearly all of their eggs in one basket, so what happens now?

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

With the news that Gregg Marshall will stay put at Wichita State, the Crimson Tide basketball program finds itself at a bit of a loss. Athletics Director Bill Battle zeroed in on Marshall as Alabama's favorite for the job opening, and now the 74 year old will have to move quickly to Plan B in order to right the ship and bounce back from a desperately disappointing miss. The question now becomes: where will Battle go next? With Option #1 no longer available, will Battle continue to search for a "home run" type of hire? Or will he settle for a safe, easy choice? The Marshall Plan took almost a week after the end of Wichita State's run to the Sweet Sixteen, and because of that, time is now of the utmost essence. Alabama simply can't afford another whiff on a potential coach. However, with the clear top target no longer on the board (and with Shaka Smart likely on his way to Austin), maybe Battle can start to really widen his focus. There are a number of options available, but which prospective coach is the right one?

The Rumored Favorites

If Greg Marshall was option "A-1", and Shaka Smart was option "A-2", consider these next coaches the likely Plan "Bs". Each one of these guys have either been rumored to be linked to the Alabama job, or they have been mentioned time and again as secondary options for the Crimson Tide.

Archie Miller


  • 90-47 career record (all four seasons at Dayton)
  • Two NCAA Tournament appearances in those four seasons
  • 5-2 record in the NCAA Tournament, with a pair of Round of 32 appearances and an Elite Eight run in 2014
  • Great basketball pedigree


  • Recently extended his contract with Dayton and added a huge chunk of change to his buyout
  • No power conference experience
  • No recruiting ties in the Southeast

Richard Pitino

  • 61-42 career record at two mediocre basketball schools (FIU and Minnesota)
  • NIT Championship in 2014
  • Excellent basketball coaching pedigree
  • Familiarity with the South for recruiting (FIU, assistant at Louisville and Florida)
  • No NCAA Tournament appearances
  • No winning seasons in a power conference (14-22 in the Big Ten at Minnesota)
  • Very young and inexperienced

Tom Crean

  • 311-207 career record (Marquette and Indiana)
  • Eight NCAA Tournament appearances in sixteen seasons
  • Final Four appearance in 2003 with Marquette
  • Three Sweet Sixteen appearances
  • Ability to recruit at a high level
  • Currently on a pretty warm seat in Bloomington
  • Has underachieved in recent seasons
  • Lack of familiarity in the Southeast (though he did snag Christian Watford out of Shades Valley High in Birmingham)

Steve Prohm

  • 104-29 career record (all four seasons at Murray State)
  • Two regular season Ohio Valley Conference Championships
  • Made it to the Round of 32 in 2012
  • Alabama alum, plenty of experience in the area
  • Only one NCAA Tournament appearance despite being in a weak conference
  • Has never built a program up from scratch; took over and sustained success at Murray State
  • No experience in a power conference

Michael White

  • 101-40 career record (all four seasons at Louisiana Tech)
  • Three straight regular season conference championships (WAC/C-USA)
  • Familiarity with the Southeast and its recruits; White played at Ole Miss in the 90's
  • Never made the NCAA Tournament
  • Poor showings in tournaments (both conference tournaments and NITs)
  • No experience in a power conference

Outside of the Box Candidates

There are a few quality coaches that haven't been discussed much that could be possible candidates. Many of them hail from the NBA or are guys that haven't drawn tons of attention.

Avery Johnson


  • 254-186 career record (all in the NBA)
  • Four NBA Playoff appearances (Western Conference Championship in 2006)
  • Ability to sell recruits on NBA experiences
  • No experience as a college coach
  • No experience in recruiting
  • Has been fired twice, albeit on another level entirely

Mark Jackson

  • Took over a rebuilding roster in Golden State and took them to back-to-back playoff appearances in two of his three seasons with the Warriors
  • Long career as a player in the NBA
  • Ability to sell recruits on NBA experiences
  • Excellent basketball IQ
  • Multiple off of the court issues (long ago extramarital affair; clashes with ownership in Golden State)
  • No college coaching experience
  • No experience in recruiting

Bobby Hurley

  • 42-20 career record (both seasons at Buffalo)
  • Coached the Bulls to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance this past season
  • Mike Krzyzewski protege
  • Little coaching experience
  • No experience in a power conference
  • Few ties to the Southeast in recruiting

Leon Rice

  • 102-63 career record (all five seasons at Boise State)
  • Two NCAA Tournament appearances (the first two ever for the school)
  • Long time assistant at Gonzaga
  • No experience in a power conference
  • No ties to the Southeast in recruiting
  • Never made it past the First Four of the NCAA Tournament

With Ben Howland and Rick Barnes both being locked up by two of Alabama's hated rivals, many of the major names are currently off of the board. The Crimson Tide will either need to get creative, settle for an up-and-comer, or try and pull off a shocker (too soon?) where Bill Battle goes all in on stealing an elite coach away from another school. Stay tuned for what has turned into a wide open search.