Coaching search continues
Several names on short list for LSU basketball coaching vacancy
By BEN LOVE
Tiger Rag Editor
There isn’t a whole lot we know for sure yet.
The one thing we do know is that athletic administrators Joe Alleva, Eddie Nunez and the other members of the search committee are hard at work trying to fill the void left by former LSU men’s basketball coach Trent Johnson.
Tiger Rag reported over the weekend, citing a source close to the program, that the top three candidates in the early going were Johnny Jones, Jamie Dixon and Reggie Theus — and probably in that order.
All three remain viable candidates as of Tuesday morning.
But several additional names have surfaced recently which deserve to be added to the list of serious candidates for the job.
Josh Pastner, Memphis’ 34-year-old skipper, is one of college basketball’s most celebrated up-and-coming coaches. He has compiled a 75-29 (.721) record leading the Tigers, a run which includes a Conference USA title this past season. Pastner served as an assistant under Lute Olson at Arizona (where he also played on the 1997 national championship team) as well as John Calipari at Memphis.
Several sources familiar with his situation have confirmed to Tiger Rag that Pastner has reached out to LSU in the past 24 hours to gauge their interest and inquire about the job.
Steve Prohm, 37, just finished his first season as the head coach of the Murray State Racers, who went a remarkable 31-2 last season, including a 15-1 mark in league play to win the Ohio Valley Conference regular-season title. Prohm has a strong connection to Louisiana, having served as an assistant under Billy Kennedy at Centenary from 1998-99 along with stints as an assistant at Southeastern (1999-2005) and Tulane (2005-06).
At this time Tiger Rag has not learned of any interest or contact attempts from the Prohm camp.
LSU is also rumored to be considering a few “long-shot” candidates, coaches who are more national names at this point, but people that the Tigers may make tell them “no” before moving on.
On that list are Shaka Smart (VCU), who recently turned down a lot of money to be the Illinois coach, and Tony Bennett (Virginia), who has some Baton Rouge connections through his wife.
While it’s still premature to tab any concrete favorites, consider Dixon, Jones, Pastner, Theus and possibly Prohm the current leaders in the clubhouse.
For more on the LSU basketball coaching search, CLICK HERE to view Derek Ponamsky’s Tuesday morning report. (You will have to sign up for the Tiger Rag-BBI bundle to view this report.)
Editor Ben Love is Tiger Rag’s lead reporter on LSU men’s basketball. Reach him at email@example.com.