Who Should Eventually Replace Amaker as Michigan's Head Coach?
Bill Martin has repeated a certain phrase enough times to give most Michigan fans both the chills and a serious case of heartburn. That phrase is: "Tommy Amaker is here to stay."
The unfortunate reality for Michigan basketball fans is Tommy is here for at least another year. Should the planets align, the "Rapture" occurs, dolphins turn out to be the second smartest spieces on earth after mice, and as a result Michigan somehow squeaks into the NCAA's this year, I wouldn't be surprised if Martin rewarded Amaker with a contract extension.
Michigan's latest road embarrassment, which drove Varsity Blue to fits of profanity (Sooooooo there with you on that one), seems to have sealed their third straight NIT appearance. Michigan's remaining schedule is an imposing gauntlet where a .500 record would be spectacular. Ohio State and Michigan State appear on the schedule twice. Indiana comes calling and Michigan is staring at a worrisome trip to Illinois. Only two games against Minnesota and Wednesday's home game against Iowa look like wins.
Realistically Michigan needs to win five of its last nine to make the tournament. To do that it will take stealing two games from teams that have either pounded Michigan already or have pounded everyone else. More importantly, it will require a road victory over a ranked or should be ranked team. Something Michigan hasn't done in ages.
Michigan will steal a home game from OSU, MSU or Indiana. It's just the law of averages and the Murphy's Law that the sun shines on a dog's ass from time to time. Michigan should beat Iowa on Wednesday and Minnesota is so bad this year that even Tommy's team can't screw that up (knock on wood). Whether Michigan can steal a road game from OSU, MSU or Illinois is the invitation question. The way Michigan played Indiana on Saturday tells its fans to plan for another trip to New York and the also ran tournament.
If Michigan ends up in the NIT for the third time in with four Seniors and a Junior in its starting lineup, no true center even remotely in the pipeline, and a history of failure since Michigan was again made post-season eligible, Amaker needs to be fired.
But who can replace him? A trained seal can probably get the same level of effort out of Courtney Sims. However, with Legion, Harris, and Grady on the way Michigan desperately needs a tactician on the bench who can make use of their considerable skill. Michigan also need a recruiter with the savvy to keep the pantry stocked for the future.
Therefore it's time to name some
Maize n Candidates:
Billy Gillispie, Texas A&M - Turned A&M from a 0-16 in conference disaster into a team that could win the NCAA tournament and sits 5th nationally. He's known as a miracle worker at Texas A&M. Prior to taking the reigns at A&M, Gillispie turned around UTEP leading them to 24 wins and an NCAA appearance in 2004. Since taking over for the Aggies Gillispie has three top 25 recruiting classes and an NCAA appearance for a team that hadn't had a winning season in 10 years or been in the NCAAs in 19-friggin-years. Candidate 1A on the Maize n Brew Wish List.
Rick Majerus, ESPN - How awesome would it be to have Tons of Fun on the bench in Ann Arbor? Just listening to him on Saturday reminded me that he's everything that Amaker isn't. Firey. Insightful. Emotional. Capable of recognizing when his players are doing well and when they're not. Majerus was all over Amaker and Courtney Sims during the broadcast. Just another reason why Maize n Brew is so enamoured with him, it's like he reads my mind. On the downside, he's got diabetes and a history of heart problems. But hell, why not get `em while he's still upright?
Reggie Theus, New Mexico State - Hell yeah! Reggie baby! I'm a huge fan of Theus from back in the day when he was rockin' the short shorts and the drive to the rim. He's done some excellent things in just two years at NMS, leading the Aggies to a HUGE turn around in 2005 (6-24 to 16-14) and a 17-4 record tying them for 1st in the WAC right now. Reggie learn a thing while he was an assistant under Pitino at Louisville for two years and a TV analyst for Fox. Reggie would be a big name at a big name school, and he's shown he can coach. Imagine the talent he could bring in on "19,000 point 6,000 assists in the League, Biatch!"
Todd Lickliter, Butler University - Has Butler ranked 11th as of today and has led the Bulldogs to the Sweet 16. Lickliter's guided Butler to well over 100 wins and seems intent on guiding them back to the NCAA's with Horizon League talent, which at this point is significantly better than anything Michigan is sporting these days.
Mark Fox, University of Nevada - Two straight trips to the NCAAs and an offense that actually does things like, um, score. He's 53-19 at Nevada since becoming their head coach in 2004. He's a little further down on my list because I'd like to see a little more on his recruiting, but two straight NCAA appearances is nothing to sneeze at. He recently turned down the Nebraska job, so we know he's looking.
I'm open for suggestions as to who else belongs on the list.