VACANCY: 5 coaches who could take over at UW
LARAMIE -- Allen Edwards was fired Monday after compiling a 60-76 record in four seasons as the head basketball coach at Wyoming.
Edwards, 44, became the first coach in school history to win 20-plus games in back-to-back seasons. His last two, however, have resulted in just 17 wins, including eight in Mountain West Conference play. Two of those victories came last week when the Cowboys stunned rival Colorado State in the opening round of the conference tournament in Las Vegas and knocked off No. 3 Nevada 24 hours later.
This will be athletic director Tom Burman's fourth coaching search since his arrival in Laramie in 2006. Burman hired Heath Schroyer to replace Steve McClain in 2007. Larry Shyatt, who was the head coach at UW in 1997-98, was lured back by Burman in 2011. Shyatt's Cowboys won a Mountain West Tournament title in 2015.
Edwards, 44, was a part of that staff. And in 2016, he was named the 21st head coach in UW history.
So, what do we know about Burman's past hires?
Well, he knew Schroyer from their days together at Portland State. Burman was the athletics director when Schroyer was the head coach of the Vikings from 2002-05. Shyatt was the coach in Laramie when Burman served as associate athletics director at UW in the 90's.
Will Burman break the mold with this hire or will the pattern continue?
Here are five coaches -- in no particular order -- who could fill the vacancy in Laramie:
Miles has been the hot name since he was fired from Nebraska following the 2018-19 campaign, though two sources with knowledge of the situation have indicated that it is unlikely he ends up in Laramie. He spent the last year doing television for the Big Ten Network. Miles obviously has ties to the region, coaching at Colorado State from 2007-12. There, Miles led the Rams to a 71-88 overall record and a 28-50 mark in league play. Miles and the Rams punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament in 2012. Then there's the Craig Bohl factor. Wyoming's head football coach was at North Dakota State when Miles was leading the basketball program in Fargo. Miles is 399-334 overall in his coaching career. Will win No. 400 come in Laramie? And, boy, can you imagine the added juice in the Border War with Miles on Wyoming's sideline?
This one might be more of a dark horse. Kennedy didn't coach in 2019-20 after spending the previous eight seasons at Texas A&M. Kennedy compiled an overall record of 151-116 in College Station. He led the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament twice. Both resulted in a Sweet 16 berth. Kennedy does have some local ties -- he also likely has a relationship with Burman. Kennedy was an assistant at UW under Benny Dees during the 1987-88 campaign. Burman was on campus at the time as a student manager for the basketball team. You remember that season, right? Fennis Dembo on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Top-5 ranking, huge expectations, etc. Kennedy has also been a head coach at Centenary, Southeastern Louisiana and Murray State. In his fourth season at Murray State, the Racers knocked off Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Linder, like Miles, has been another name that has been floating around for months. The current head coach at Northern Colorado is in his fourth season in Greeley. The Bears are 22-9 overall and ranked second in the Big Sky Conference, heading into the league tournament this week in Boise. Linder has also faced the Cowboys in three straight seasons. The Bears have won all three, including a 74-53 thumping last December at the Arena-Auditorium. Linder has eclipsed 21 victories in each of the last three seasons. In 2018, the Bears were CIT Champions, racking up a school-record 26 wins. Before accepting his first head coaching job in Greeley, the Lafayette, Colorado, native was an assistant at Boise State from 2010-16. He is certainly familiar with recruiting in the Rockies. Linder also has a staff member who is very familiar with the Cowboy State. Steve Smiley was the head coach at Sheridan College for six seasons. There, he posted a 153-43 overall record and appeared in two National Championship games. Smiley sent 21 players to the Division-I level.
Does that name ring a bell? If you are a die-hard, maybe. Kelsey, the current head coach at Winthrop, was a point guard for first-year head coach Joby Wright at UW during the 1993-94 season. Kelsey eventually transferred to Xavier where he played the final three seasons of his career. He has another tie to Wyoming, too. Kelsey was instrumental in recruiting Cheyenne product and former NBA first-round draft pick, James Johnson, to Wake Forest. The 44-year-old has been at Winthrop since 2012. The Eagles knocked off Hampton Sunday to claim the Big South title and punch their ticket to the Big Dance. Kelsey is 163-93 during his eight-year run in South Carolina. In 2017, Kelsey was hired by UMass. That lasted just two days before he returned to Winthrop. He cited personal reasons for the decision.
OK, this might be wishful thinking. Landing a coach the caliber of Beilein would be nothing short of a heist for Burman. A phone call never hurts, right? Why is this name not so crazy? Well, Beilein, 67, just spent the first few months of the NBA season coaching former Wyoming star Larry Nance Jr. There's one tie. Beilein is also no stranger to small-town living -- and recruiting. Before Beilein took the University of Michigan to the NCAA Tournament nine times in 12 seasons, including two trips to the Final Four, and a five-year stint at West Virginia, he was the head man at Richmond, Canisius, Le Moyne (New York) and Nazareth (New York). Currently, Beilein is serving in a role in the Cleveland Cavaliers organization.
Other names to keep an eye on:
Chris Jans, New Mexico State, 80-17 in three seasons in Las Cruces
Travis DeCuire, Montana, 127-71 in six seasons in Missoula
Scott Duncan, Wyoming (assistant), six seasons under Shyatt in Laramie
Jeremy Shyatt, Wyoming (assistant), 10 seasons in Laramie