Missouri Martin Basketball

Cuonzo Martin shakes hands with the Missouri mascot, Truman the Tiger, after being formally introduced as the new head basketball coach at the University of Missouri Monday, March 20, 2017, in Columbia, Mo. Martin has spent the past three seasons as head coach at the University of California and comes to Missouri with hopes he can revive the struggling program. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Jeff Roberson

Update: LSU has hired VCU's Will Wade.


The coaching carousel is spinning quickly for some Division I schools that are in need of a new men's basketball coach.

Or, were in need.

Some did their shopping early, like when Missouri pried Cal’s Cuonzo Martin away less than a week after the Tigers’ season ended with a second-round loss in the Southeastern Conference tournament.

You can count N.C. State, Illinois and Washington among other "Power Five" schools that have made a significant move since the NCAA tournament started paring its field from 68 teams last Tuesday to the Sweet 16.

As of Monday, there were four major schools that had not made a hire to replace a fired coach or one who departed on his own accord: LSU, Indiana, Cal and Oklahoma State.

Multiple reports have LSU in the hunt for VCU’s Will Wade or perhaps former Indiana coach Tom Crean, who was fired Thursday, but the Tigers for now have nothing to show for their efforts since athletic director Joe Alleva fired Johnny Jones on March 10.

Is the 34-year-old Wade a frontrunner for LSU, as ESPN reported Sunday afternoon? Or is Crean, who led Marquette to the 2003 Final Four but had mixed success in nine seasons at Indiana, in the mix, as well as perhaps a dark-horse candidate?

Or is there another coach in the mix whose current team is still in the NCAA tournament? That, Alleva said during his news conference announcing Jones' firing, could delay his search for Jones' successor.

ESPN reported that Wade had discussions over the weekend with LSU officials before CBSSports.com reported that the school, through a third party, had reached out to gauge Crean’s interest.

One of the private jets LSU uses flew to Richmond, Virginia, early Sunday and returned at mid-afternoon with Alleva and deputy AD Eddie Nunez on board. VCU is located in Richmond, but Alleva declined to comment about their trip to The Advocate.

Wade’s team lost to Saint Mary’s in an NCAA tournament first-round game Thursday. Crean had been fired that morning after his team fell to Georgia Tech in the first round of the NIT two days before.

While LSU continues with its search, other schools are moving forward — some very quickly.

The first to do so was Missouri. It got Martin, a former Tennessee coach, to agree to a seven-year, $21 million contract to replace Kim Anderson, less than 24 hours after Cal dropped its NIT first-round game to Cal State Bakersfield.

N.C. State, which fired Mark Gottfried in mid-February, was the next school to fill its vacancy. It moved quickly to get its man, UNC-Wilmington’s Kevin Keatts, on Friday — a day after his team was knocked out of the NCAA tournament by Virginia.

Illinois did the same Saturday. It hired Oklahoma State’s Brad Underwood, who was in Stillwater for just one season, the day after the Cowboys were dispatched from the NCAAs by Michigan.

Washington didn’t waste any time pulling longtime Jim Boeheim assistant Mike Hopkins away from Syracuse, adding him Sunday after the Orange’s Saturday ouster from the NIT to take over for the fired Lorenzo Romar.

On Monday, Cal reportedly interviewed former LSU associate coach Eric Musselman, who got Nevada to the NCAA tournament this season, and may have its eye on Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett. Musselman was a finalist for the Cal job when Martin was hired in 2014.

According to other reports, Oklahoma State’s list of potential candidates could include Crean and Illinois State coach Dan Muller. Indiana’s wish list may include former Hoosiers star Steve Alford, who has UCLA in the Sweet 16, as well as Dayton’s Archie Miller, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall, Xavier’s Chris Mack and Butler’s Chris Holtmann.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.