Replacing a Legend: Who might UNC turn to after Williams era?

Noahtogo24

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What if today's top college basketball programs had to replace a legendary coach? Where would they turn? Over the next few weeks, analyst Dan McDonald will take a look at who could be next in line for the nation's top programs when they look to replace legendary coaches. This week, a look at how North Carolina could try to replace Roy Williams.

THE LIST (in alphabetical order)
Chris Beard, Texas Tech head coach

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Chris Beard (AP Images)
Beard’s rise through the coaching ranks has been pretty remarkable. He’s now thought of as one of the top coaches in the country and he wasn’t even a Division I head coach until five years ago. His first big break in coaching came working as an assistant at Texas Tech under the legendary Bob Knight before bouncing around semi-pro leagues and non-Division I jobs as he perfected his craft.

In 2015, he took over at Arkansas-Little Rock, flipped nearly the entire roster in his first off-season, and then posted a 30-5 overall record that took the Trojans to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. After one season, he initially took the UNLV job for a couple weeks before the opportunity at Texas Tech presented itself again. Since taking over, he’s put together a 94-44 overall record at what is considered a tough position. The Red Raiders also made an appearance in the national championship in just his third season on the job.

Beard has proven to be an elite coach, but he’s also developed under-the-radar talent into NBA first-round picks, players such as

Zhaire Smith
and
Jarrett Culver
, who was the No. 6 overall pick in 2019. He’s also elevated the Red Raiders to the point where the program is regularly in the mix for top 50 prospects. He’s also been one of the very best in the transfer market.


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*****
Hubert Davis, North Carolina assistant

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Hubert Davis (USA Today)
Fans of college programs always seem to love the idea of hiring one of their own to be the head coach. That’s working in Davis’ favor here, but he also has the resume to back up the idea of this being a real possibility. After starring at North Carolina, he spent several years playing in the NBA. He later built a name for himself as one of the most talented college basketball analysts with a great personality.

For the past eight years, he’s been sitting on the bench for the Tar Heels as one of the assistants to Roy Williams and he’s become a very good recruiter. He has a great reputation with players for his coaching ability.

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*****
Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder head coach

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Billy Donovan (AP Images)
Donovan made the move to the NBA five years ago for the opportunity to coach

Russell Westbrook
and
Kevin Durant
, but there have been rumors for a couple years now that a return to college basketball shouldn’t be ruled out if it’s one of the big jobs. North Carolina clearly fits that definition.


In 19 seasons as head coach at Florida, Donovan won two national championships and made another appearance in the championship game. He had his most recent appearance in the Final Four in 2014 and made the Elite Eight the three preceding seasons. His recruiting classes were usually ranked among the top in the country and he produced several NBA players. If he’s willing to make the move back to college, he’d be a home run.

*****
Chris Mack, Louisville head coach

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Chris Mack (AP Images)
I’m of the opinion that Chris Mack is one of the elite coaches and recruiters in the entire country going back to his tenure at Xavier. In his nine seasons at the helm for the Musketeers, Mack won 215 games, which is an average of just under 24 per season, with NCAA Tournament appearances in eight of his nine seasons. Factor in the fact that he led the program through the transition from the Atlantic 10 to the Big East and it’s even more impressive. In his last season at Xavier, the Musketeers earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

As a recruiter, he’s reeled in talent from all over the country and has been very strong in the transfer market. It might be tough to make the move within the ACC, but it’d absolutely be worth the call.

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*****
Wes Miller, UNC-Greensboro head coach

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Wes Miller (AP Images)
The next two candidates go back to the idea of college fans loving former players taking over as head coach. But both will need Roy Williams to keep coaching for at least a few more years to make it a real possibility. Wes Miller has been dominant in the Southern Conference for the last few years at UNC-Greensboro and has been mentioned as a candidate for high-major openings, including Wake Forest this year.

If he’s going to be in play for the North Carolina job after Williams steps down, he’ll likely need to have some high-major head coaching experience under his belt. If he’s able to move up into an ACC or SEC job next year and has success early, he’s a real sleeper for this job.

*****
Jerry Stackhouse, Vanderbilt head coach

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Jerry Stackhouse (AP Images)
Stackhouse has the most unique background of anyone on this list. He was a star for the Tar Heels and a star in the NBA. His first coaching experience came from coaching his travel program, Stackhouse Elite, in the Atlanta area with some North Carolina talent such as

Brandon Ingram
mixed in. He eventually made the transition to NBA coaching with stops as an assistant for the Raptors and Grizzlies along with being the head coach for the Raptors G League team, where he won coach of the year honors in 2017.


His first season as Vanderbilt's head coach was a bumpy one with injuries hitting hard and a roster in need of talent infusion. As with Miller, if Williams can coach for another few years to give Stackhouse time to build up his program, he could absolutely be a top candidate to be the next head coach in Chapel Hill.

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*****
Others under consideration

Virginia head coach Tony Bennett, Stanford head coach Jerod Haase, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann and Florida head coach Mike White were also considered for this list. Word in coaching circles is that Bennett would be more likely to leave for an NBA job than another college job, especially within the ACC. White’s father is the athletic director at Duke, so that’d be tough to overcome. Haase, like Miller and Stackhouse, just needs some time to get the Stanford program rolling to be a legitimate candidate, but his time working as an assistant under Williams makes him intriguing. Holtmann is also a possibility if this drags out longer and he has more success with the Buckeyes.

The choice
Assuming each candidate would accept the job if offered, this is a really, really tough call. I’ve always been a huge fan of Donovan and the way he coaches and the way he recruited at Florida. He’s become an even better coach with his NBA experience, and now he could tell recruits he coached Durant, Westbrook and

Chris Paul
.


Assuming this decision gets made in the next few years, Donovan could easily coach 10-plus years in Chapel Hill, and he would likely hang another championship banner inside the Dean Dome.

https://basketballrecruiting.rivals...end-who-might-unc-turn-to-after-williams-era-

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SIhoosier26

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A majority of those coaches aren't leaving their current jobs for UNC.
 

ExitFlagger

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A majority of those coaches aren't leaving their current jobs for UNC.

I’d say they’re all pretty realistic options. Maybe not Bennett, but it certainly wouldn’t be a shock.

Imagine going from Roy’s style to Bennett’s. Laughing
 
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SIhoosier26

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I’d say they’re all pretty realistic options. Maybe not Bennett, but it certainly wouldn’t be a shock.

Imagine going from Roy’s style to Bennett’s. Laughing
Bennett just won a national title at Virginia, a program he built himself, why would he leave just to be another coach at UNC? I don't see Holtmann leaving OSU or Donovan leaving the NBA either. I could be wrong though.
 
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SheriffBufordTJustice

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In the minds of the ignorant
Bennett just won a national title at Virginia, a program he built himself, why would he leave just to be another coach at UNC? I don't see Holtmann leaving OSU or Donovan leaving the NBA either. I could be wrong though.

Donovan is at the end of his contract.
There hasn't been movement but Donovan surprised a lot of people in the NBA this season.
Even if OKC wants to move on Donovan would be a #1 target for NBA teams.
Would be a personal decision. Does he prefer the NBA or college.
 

ExitFlagger

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Bennett just won a national title at Virginia, a program he built himself, why would he leave just to be another coach at UNC? I don't see Holtmann leaving OSU or Donovan leaving the NBA either. I could be wrong though.

There are rumors that Donovan could be interested in the right job.

I would assume that UNC would raise Bennett’s pay. Virginia might be in a stretch in which they’re succeeding at UNC’s level, but let’s not act like he’d have no advantages at UNC. The only reason to stay at Virginia is because he built the program. There are many reasons to potentially leave. It’s one of a handful of jobs that coaches dream about.

And I’m guessing Holtmann would take it in a heartbeat.
 
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SheriffBufordTJustice

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In the minds of the ignorant
They would have to push out Roy next season.
Donovan doesn't get a new contract and doesn't take another NBA Job you could see him do TV for a few months and then take a job next March or April.

But UNC or whoever will need an opening.

Maybe Roy will retire after next year. There are a few schools who could position themselves.
Even Duke would be smart to look at that.
 

jhmossy

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There are rumors that Donovan could be interested in the right job.

I would assume that UNC would raise Bennett’s pay. Virginia might be in a stretch in which they’re succeeding at UNC’s level, but let’s not act like he’d have no advantages at UNC. The only reason to stay at Virginia is because he built the program. There are many reasons to potentially leave. It’s one of a handful of jobs that coaches dream about.

And I’m guessing Holtmann would take it in a heartbeat.

Bennett turned down a pay raise after winning it all and said to give the money to other coaches at UVA. Plus, UVA has plenty of money to offer Bennett. If he leaves UVA for UNC or any other college job, I don’t think it’ll be because of money.

https://www.jsonline.com/story/spor...t-turns-down-hefty-raise-virginia/2340977001/
 
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AWilli6995

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Stackhouse, Miller or Davis. 1 of those 3 IMO will get the nod. I don't see either duplicating what Doherty did but he did recruit the bulk of the team that won it all in 2005.
 
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uncfan in ky

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Stackhouse, Miller or Davis. 1 of those 3 IMO will get the nod. I don't see either duplicating what Doherty did but he did recruit the bulk of the team that won it all in 2005.
Would love to a head coach/ assistant coach of Stackhouse & Davis together
 

coryfly

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Holtmann and Beard would be my top options. Not sure either wouldn't be interested. If it stays in the family Stack or Miller are the only two I'm even remotely interested in.
 

AWilli6995

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Would UNC fans be ok with an AA coach?


With Stackhouse, yes. He had a good NBA career, coached in the G League, currently at Vandy so if the timing is right and he’s winning I’ll say UNC fans would be ok with that. Also being from NC wouldn’t hurt either.
 

uncfan in ky

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With Stackhouse, yes. He had a good NBA career, coached in the G League, currently at Vandy so if the timing is right and he’s winning I’ll say UNC fans would be ok with that. Also being from NC wouldn’t hurt either.
Plus he has great AAU connections.
 

IUBtown

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There are rumors that Donovan could be interested in the right job.

I would assume that UNC would raise Bennett’s pay. Virginia might be in a stretch in which they’re succeeding at UNC’s level, but let’s not act like he’d have no advantages at UNC. The only reason to stay at Virginia is because he built the program. There are many reasons to potentially leave. It’s one of a handful of jobs that coaches dream about.

And I’m guessing Holtmann would take it in a heartbeat.

Holtmann doesn’t want to be in the spotlight. Wasn’t interested in the Indiana job because of it. UVA to UNC would be a lateral move at the moment for Bennett. The only coaches who go back to college are ones who can’t get/keep NBA jobs. I’d bet a lot of money that none of those 3 take over UNC.
 

EKUcatfan

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I think Donovan is the man to replace Cal @ UK. I see UNC hiring Miller or Stackhouse.
 

topps coach

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Do u Carolina fans think that ur next hire should be from the Carolina Family?
 

RipThru

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If Texas was winning the Big 12 they wouldn't need a new coach.
Your logic doesn't make any sense.

Why would he?
Recruiting
Money
Doesn't have the pressure he would elsewhere

If he decides to come back to College Basketball Texas is probably the school who is in the best position

Can’t win at a high level there. That’s been proven. And that’s the point.

And wherever he goes he’s getting paid. Your logic doesn’t make sense. And if he goes to a blue blood he can recruit who he wants. Your logic doesn’t make sense.
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

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In the minds of the ignorant
Can’t win at a high level there. That’s been proven. And that’s the point.

And wherever he goes he’s getting paid. Your logic doesn’t make sense. And if he goes to a blue blood he can recruit who we he wants. Your logic doesn’t make sense.

He can at Texas as well.
Shaka Smart bringing in Top classes playing average basketball.

Texas can win at every sport at a high level.
 

RipThru

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If Texas was winning the Big 12 they wouldn't need a new coach.
Your logic doesn't make any sense.

Why would he?
Recruiting
Money
Doesn't have the pressure he would elsewhere

If he decides to come back to College Basketball Texas is probably the school who is in the best position


and I’ll make a ban bet with you; if he comes back it won’t be Texas.
 

SheriffBufordTJustice

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In the minds of the ignorant
and I’ll make a ban bet with you; if he comes back it won’t be Texas.

If Billy Donovan doesn't get extended by OKC or takes another NBA Job and Shaka Smart gets fired ..

Where else would he go?
Not going to sit out waiting for another job.

Unless Duke or UNC wants to get rid of their coaches

Kansas because of the NCAA could be a possibility.
Heard rumors that Bill Self may be thrown under the bus if it comes to it.