Ben Howland is gone at UCLA. Same goes for Tubby Smith at Minnesota. Who will replace them? The rumor mills are swirling.
Two of the biggest names are Shaka Smart of VCU and Brad Stevens of Butler, two young coaches who have taken mid-major teams and turned them into perennial Final Four contenders. The two coaches have been sought after before for big time jobs (Smart didn't bolt VCU for NC State or Illinois last year), so don't be surprised if they stay put. Especially with sources saying VCU is trying to restructure Smart's contract.
The Star Tribune threw a few names into the ring as possible Tubby Smith replacements at Minnesota:
"Coaches at the top of the search list would include Shaka Smart and Anthony Grant -- both of whom worked for [Minnesota Athletic Director, Norwood] Teague[,] at VCU. Smart is still the coach at VCU, while Grant is the head coach now at Alabama. Brad Stevens, who took Butler to back-to-back NCAA title games, also has a good relationship with Teague. Buzz Williams (Marquette), Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State) and Jay Wright (Villanova) are other names to watch. Former Wolves coach Flip Saunders, a U of M alum, would also be a candidate."
UCLA, meanwhile, with a greater basketball history than Minnesota seems like a dream job for many coaches. The LA Times reported Smart and Stevens as lead candidates, but if they neither of those coaches are interested, UCLA may look for former NBA coaches.
Florida Gulf Coast Coach Andy Enfield is also a name being tossed around, but FGCU is reportedly looking for funds to keep the coach.