USC fired men’s basketball coach Kevin O’Neill back in January, with few signs of finding a replacement since.
With more and more top coaches dropping out of the NCAA Tournament each week, the number of potential candidates also increases for a job that should be one of the more attractive in the country.
Pat Haden, the athletic director since 2010, is in charge of finding a coach to improve a Trojans team that missed the tournament for the second straight year, and has gone 20-44 in that same span. Making the tournament in year one, while very difficult, may enamor a USC fan base that really only comes circling during football season. It also doesn't help that O'Neill failed to land any high-profile recuits for the 2013-2014 season.
However, the USC job has great perks. The Trojans play in a new arena, are located in a warm location, and whoever gets the jobs won't have a mountain of pressure on them like in Westwood.
Below are some available coaches, who appear to be in the mix, or should be on Haden's short list.
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Maybe the very definition of making something out of nothing, Amaker and his Harvard squad besmirched a strong New Mexico team for the school’s first ever NCAA Tournament victory. And he did it without any scholarship players.
A cross-country jaunt would put the former member of the Mike Krzyzewski coaching tree back in the mix of big time college basketball since he was fired from Michigan in 2007. At age 47, he is probably in his coaching prime.
The Crimson won 20 or more games in three straight years, and the L.A. Daily News cited sources in February that Haden and the Trojans were interested. That same report points out that Amaker was offered the job in 1997 when he was an assistant at Duke, but turned it down.
A poor 46-62 Big Ten record may have been the clincher in Smith’s firing from Minnesota, but he is known for running a clean program and consistently wins. He captured a championship with Kentucky, and has a career 511-226 mark. Smith isn't the young coach that the Trojans are probably interested in, but he bring in instant credibility.
His stint with the Trojans from 2005 to 2009 brought in top recruits like O.J. Mayo, but also resulted an NCAA investigation.
Floyd, currently coaching UTEP, interviewed with Haden earlier this month despite that fact the Miners were about to face Memphis in a pivotal Conference USA matchup.
The long-time Syracuse assistant was also interviewed, though he’s been seen as Jim Boeheim’s successor for years. According to Syracuse.com, Hopkins has generated interest from schools like St. Bonaventure, Charlotte, and Providence in the past.
Hopkins also grew up in Southern California, attending basketball powerhouse Mater Dei High School, and has been the Orange's top recruiter.
As covered by Mike Whicker at The Orange County Register, Howland has the resume, and proven success to recruit, but his failure to be a “people person” may have guaranteed his firing.
Still three Final Fours, two All-Star point guards in the NBA, and 10 years of experience recruiting in California give him the edge over most any other candidate. Plus, Howland would be sticking it to his former employers.