New Mexico Basketball: Possible Candidate List
From the SEC to the WCC, there are plenty of names.
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Names tossed around to replace Paul Weir at New Mexico.
It was made public last night that the University of New Mexico will part ways with current men’s basketball coach Paul Weir at the end of the season.
“This is the perfect time for a transition in Lobo Basketball,” Weir said in a news release sent out the Albuquerque Journal. “I can’t imagine a more optimal epoch than now for all of us to embrace a fresh start. I am incredibly thankful to Eddie (Nuñez, athletic director), President (Garnett) Stokes, and the UNM personnel that have kindly provided the opportunity for me to segue my career in such a courteous manner. Their leadership will surely make this next chapter of Lobo Basketball the greatest one yet.”
Still, 11th place in the Mountain West is simply not good enough, and even given the ongoing pandemic and toll it took on this program, this seemed for the best.
New Mexico Athletic Director Eddie Nunez held a press conference on Saturday morning to discuss the news that was first reported by the Albuquerque Journal on Friday.
“This is one of the areas in my past that I am going to use to our benefit here. Having a basketball background, having been a former coach in division-I. I have a lot of resources that I can utilize. And already have if necessary.” Said Nunez “It’s going to be a very tight process, there is not going to be a lot of individuals involved.”
When asked whether or not Nunez would utilize the use of a search firm to help complete the hiring he spoke of his past and connections at the division-I level and his intention to use this to the universities advantage. All of that adds up with several names on this list.
This certainly seems like an absolutely huge decision for those involved. As the program’s overall dip in competitive play and along with declining fan support cannot continue. To try and summarize some of the early names mentioned by Mountain West pundits in the last twenty-four hours, we have this list.
Something I tried to keep in mind was what the university could possible pay their new head coach. Weir made $775,000.00 this season and started at New Mexico making $625,000.00 back in 2017. Many coaches on this list would come at a much cheaper price, which is something to keep in mind during this process. Especially with the current financial toll universities and colleges everywhere are experiencing.
So with a quick search, I have listed all salaries I could find to keep candidates chances as close to reality as possible.
Big names to get the fans excited
These candidates have recognizable names for most college basketball fans. Many feel out of reach at second thought, either due to better opportunities, their current gigs or a perceived lack of funds.
Steve Prohm – Iowa State
Base Salary: $2,425,000.00 (Yikes)
Overall Record: 201-119 (Murray State 104-29, Iowa State 97-90)
Current Season Record: 2-17 (0-14, 10th in the Big 12)
Prohm built a strong program at Murray State in just four seasons (four regular-season championships and one NCAA Tournament appearance). And continued those winning ways at Iowa State at the beginning of his tenure in Ames.
Prohm took the Cyclones to the NCAA Tournament in three of his first four seasons in charge. But since has gone 14-37 over his past two seasons (.247%). It appears his time in the Big 12 may come to an end soon after receiving a contract extension in 2019.
Prospects: medium, Prohm would come at a high price but came from the Ohio Valley where he developed a future NBA guard and won games. His exit seems forthcoming, so if the administration looks to hire a high major coach looking for a bounce-back situation, New Mexico can offer that.
Damon Stoudamire – Pacific
Base Salary: Undisclosed as Pacific is a private institution
Overall Record: 70-76
Current Season Record: 8-8 (5-7, 7th in the WCC)
Stoudamire is a name any basketball fan knows from his time in the NBA and playing for regional powerhouse Arizona in the 1990s. He also seems to be the next in line at his alma mater given the uncertainty surrounding current head coach Sean Miller‘s contract.
It’s set to expire this year and after the mess Sean Miller has made for himself in Tucson, many speculate he is out at the end of the season. In steps Stoudamire, who is coming off of a 3rd place finish in the WCC in 2019-2020. Earning him the WCC Coach of the Year award ahead of Randy Bennet, Mark Pope, and Mark Few.
Prospects: Slim to medium, this would be the flashy hire but many may be reading a little too much into the success from last year and not looking at the 39-58 record
Stoudamire posted in his first three seasons at Pacific.
I say let him take over in Tucson and look elsewhere, as I am not convinced this is the best option even though I would love to see him in Albuquerque under the right circumstances.
Frank Martin – South Carolina
Base Salary: $3,050,000.00
Overall Record: 269-185 (Kansas State 117-54, South Carolina 152-131)
Current Season Record: 5-12 (3-10, 13th in the SEC)
Frank Martin is one of the top-25 highest-paid coaches in all of college basketball. With most of his success coming at Kansas State nearly a decade ago (Five 20-win seasons, four NCAA Tournament appearances and a top-5 ranking). With the Gamecocks he has a Final Four appearance but no consistency otherwise when it comes to making the big dance, especially this year.
He is likely out at South Carolina after nine seasons and one NCAA Tournament appearance but I don’t see him coming to Albuquerque at a good enough price to make it all work. But, he does have some ties to the University as he coached New Mexico AD Eddie Nunez back in high school in Miami. There are a couple of candidates who have personal ties to the Lobo’s AD, which could make things surprising.
Prospects: medium, Martin costs a lot of money, even given an understood big price cut he would likely cost near or over a million dollars.
Tim Miles – unemployed last stop Nebraska
Base Salary: $2,500,00.00 (At Nebraska)
Overall Record: 187-202 (Colorado State 71-88, Nebraska 116-114)
Miles name gets thrown around a lot online for this vacancy. His time at Colorado State can be highlighted by his last season, in which the Rams went 20-12 and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
At Nebraska, he never quite found a winning rhythm. Coaching in one of if not the best college basketball conference in the country is challenging. But miles only hit .500 twice in Lincoln and made the NCAA Tournament once in his second year. Still, seven years and some questionable comments later, Miles is well respected and the name many think the administration should hire.
Prospects: medium, he is working at the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports at the moment and the only immediately available candidate on this list. Still, he started at Nebraska at $1.4 million and turned down a contract extension of around $700,000.00 base when he left Fort Collins. He would come at a price, but Big Ten experience, similar to that of a past Lobo coaching great.