ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- You’ve heard it before, the idea that most athletic directors in Division I college sports programs have a short list of candidates in their figurative back pockets in the event that they have to go out and hire a new head basketball or football coach. We will say up front that we have no idea who might be on St. Louis University AD Chris May’s list as he prospects for someone to succeed Jim Crews. But the swift nature of Thursday’s announcement tells you he’d been thinking about this one for a while already.
Who are some of the names out there to consider? We’ll suggest a few and pass along some others who have surfaced.
- Chris Harriman (New Mexico Assistant): One of several former Rick Majerus assistants who could be in play. He was a key recruiter in the SLU turnaround, bringing in foreign imports Rob Loe and Cody Ellis.
- Porter Moser (Loyola Chicago Head Coach): Another Majerus alum, Moser would have a good handle on recruiting in the St. Louis area, even after he left for Loyola, which has been in the Missouri Valley Conference in recent seasons. Crews’ fate was sealed in part because of his inability to capitalize on the class of 2016 locally, which will rank as one of the best in recent memory. The following classes aren’t too shabby, thanks to talent at SLUH, Althoff, Chaminade and Whitfield, among others. Whoever the next coach is will need to sell kids who will have lots of options on the benefits of staying home.
- Jeff Boals (Ohio State Assistant): Boals has also been lauded as a sharp recruiter and, the hope would be, the latest Thad Motta disciple to strike success as a head coach, following in the footsteps of Sean and Archie Miller, among others. But remember, John Groce also came from that tree and has had mixed results at Illinois.
- Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt Head Coach): He’d be the most accomplished and tenured head coach in consideration. His Vanderbilt team sits today squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble thanks to a stunning upset by Tennessee in the SEC tournament this week. Stallings has talked openly about frustrations with his club, which had big things expected of it heading into this season. It could be a chance for Stallings to get out before Vanderbilt decides to make a change. Stallings is a Collinsville, IL native, and knows about recruiting in a private school environment.
- Chris Carrawell (Marquette Assistant Coach): The St. Louis native would be the least experienced of this group as far as college coaching experience goes, with only 2 years under his belt at Marquette. He has NBDL coaching experience and worked in a variety of roles at Duke, his alma mater. He’s helped his Duke teammate Steve Wojciechowski assemble a top flight recruiting class in Milwaukee. Could the Cardinal Ritter grad get players to stay home?
There are two important wild cards and former Bills who could play a role in this process: CBC Head Coach Justin Tatum and SLUH Head Coach Erwin Claggett. Tatum, a two-time state champion as a high school coach, has been interested in a spot on a college bench before. When I asked for his thoughts on what his college alma mater should look for in a head coach or if he’s ready for people to ask if he’s interested, he said he’d talk about it after his season ends. His Cadets take on his son Jayson’s Chaminade Red Devils Saturday with a spot in the state final four on the line. Claggett’s club is also still alive in the state tournament. Both would be valuable recruiting assets to any new SLU staff, and depending on how the search progresses, could be considered candidates to lead the program under the right circumstances.
It all depends on who is on Chris May’s list.