University of Washington

Huskies next basketball coach: Seven candidates to consider

Former UW assistant coachT.J. Otzelberger, talking with Andrew Andrews, led South Dakota State to an NCAA Tournament berth in his first season at the school.
Former UW assistant coachT.J. Otzelberger, talking with Andrew Andrews, led South Dakota State to an NCAA Tournament berth in his first season at the school. AP

With Lorenzo Romar out as men’s basketball coach at Washington, here are a few names to keep in mind as the school begins its search for a replacement.

RANDY BENNETT

Job: Head coach at Saint Mary’s

Age: 54

Credentials: Six NCAA tournament appearances and 361 victories in 16 seasons. He’s one of the most respected mid-major coaches in the country, and certainly the most accomplished coach the Huskies could hope to hire on the west coast (you can forget about Mark Few).

Concerns: Bennett is a close friend of Romar, and might feel uncomfortable taking his old job. Also, Bennett is entrenched at Saint Mary’s and has a good thing going ... and with the California job now open, would Washington even be the most attractive Pac-12 job he could get?

ERIC MUSSELMAN

Job: Head coach at Nevada.

Age: 52.

Credentials: A former NBA head coach with the Warriors and Kings, Musselman’s career took him to the college ranks, where he has guided Nevada to a 52-20 record in two seasons. The Wolf Pack won the Mountain West regular season and tournament championships this year to qualify for the NCAA Tournament with a 28-6 record.

Concerns: Musselman grants his players a lot of freedom on the court — NBA-style — which is similar to the way Romar coached. UW might want more of a departure.

TOMMY LLOYD

Job: Assistant at Gonzaga.

Age: 42.

Credentials: Lloyd is coach Mark Few’s top assistant — he’s been with GU since 2000 — and is responsible for much of the Bulldogs’ international recruiting success. He is from Kelso and, obviously, is familiar with the Northwest.

Concerns: He’s never been a head coach. And he is believed to be the coach-in-waiting behind Few at Gonzaga, meaning the UW job might not appeal to him.

T.J. OTZELBERGER

Job: Head coach at South Dakota State.

Age: 39.

Credentials: In his first season as a head coach, Otzelberger led South Dakota State (18-16, 8-8 in Summit League) to this year’s NCAA Tournament as a No. 16 seed. He was a coveted assistant and a strong recruiter at Washington and Iowa State.

Concerns: Only one year of head coaching experience, and UW might not want to hire a coach who worked for the one it just fired.

DAN MAJERLE

Job: Head coach at Grand Canyon University.

Age: 51.

Credentials: A former NBA All-Star, Majerle was an assistant for the Phoenix Suns from 2008-13 before taking the head coaching job at Grand Canyon. He has led the school to an 81-46 record in four seasons as it has transitioned into the Division I ranks.

Concerns: He’s never coached at the high level of major college basketball.

LEON RICE

Job: Head coach at Boise State.

Age: 53.

Credentials: A 142-86 record in seven seasons at Boise State, including a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and a conference title in 2014-15. He’s a Washington native (Richland), an alumnus of Washington State and was an assistant at Gonzaga from 1998-2010.

Concerns: Hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament in two years, nor proved that he can recruit at a Pac-12 level.

TRAVIS DECUIRE

Job: Head coach at Montana.

Age: 46.

Credentials: A Seattle native and Mercer Island High School alumnus, DeCuire has obvious regional ties and could recruit the area well. As a former assistant at California for six years, he understands the Pac-12 landscape. And he has led Montana to a 39-15 conference record in three seasons as the Grizzlies’ coach.

Concerns: He might not be ready. And in three years at Montana, he has yet to make an NCAA Tournament appearance despite finishing as regular-season conference co-champion in 2014-15.

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