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DeVries to WVU, Sprinkle to Washington, What’s Next for Oklahoma State?

There are still plenty of solid options available.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Oklahoma State’s coaching search has been going on for a little more than a week, and these past few days has taught us three things: Dusty May, Darian DeVries or Danny Sprinkle will not head the Cowboys’ program next season.

Formerly Florida Atlantic’s coach, May on Saturday agreed to terms to become Michigan’s next coach in the first domino of the coaching carousel falling. Then Sunday, DeVries agreed to become the guy at West Virginia. Monday, Sprinkle went to Washington.

From the jump May seemed to be blue-blood bound, so the Cowboys not landing him didn’t seem overly surprising. Many, including myself, thought the Cowboys were in the running for DeVries, so that one probably stung the OSU fanbase a tad more, especially seeing him go to a Big 12 rival. As for Sprinkle, Washington was always the favorite with the only hold up being athletic director Troy Dannen leaving for Nebraska. But that, in the end, didn’t seem to be an issue.

A report surfaced Sunday night from CBS Sports that OSU’s process has been “a mess.” That seems a little harsh considering the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament just ended, and, by that time, only two schools had really taken a bite out of OSU’s candidate pool — a pool that seems fairly deep this offseason with a lot of solid, up-and-coming coaches.

It has the potential to get a bit dicey, though, as we get a clearer picture of where OSU is in the pecking order of college hoops. It makes sense that Michigan would be ahead of OSU in line given that the Wolverines rank among the best nationally in terms of resources. The same could be said about Washington. Various factors could’ve sent DeVries to Morgantown, but I’m not sure many within the OSU fanbase would’ve expected West Virginia to hire such an esteemed candidate when the Cowboys still had an opening.

So, who else could be in front of OSU in the pecking order?

Louisville has an opening after two woeful years under Kenny Payne that saw the Cardinals go a combined 12-52. Louisville hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament since 2019, but the Cardinals still seem closer to their glory days than OSU is to its. The Cardinals won an NCAA title in 2013.

SMU is also open. Sure, the Mustangs have made just two NCAA Tournaments since the turn of the century, but no one can deny the money around that athletic department. The evidence spans all the way back to the Pony Express days up until Mike Boynton saying Tyreek Smith wanted to stay at OSU but SMU had more to offer from an NIL perspective.

There has been a lot of speculation regarding Arkansas’ Eric Musselman being a candidate at SMU. If that were to happen, the carousel would turn again with Arkansas being a sought-after job.

Washington State is also open after Kyle Smith left for Stanford. It’s hard to imagine Wazzu would be a better job than OSU right now considering the Pac-12 falling to pieces.

That’s it, as of writing, but there could be more carousel turns that open more jobs. For instance, John Calipari speculation has been rumbling. Not saying he is leaving Kentucky, but if he did, it could set up a handful more dominoes that could have to fall before OSU got its guy.

What other coaches are out there?

OSU twitter seemed pretty excited about the thought of DeVries or Sprinkle captaining the S.S. Cowboy, but the reality is there are still plenty of eligible bachelors available.

Western Kentucky’s Steve Lutz is a name that has picked up some steam in various reports lately. All Lutz has done since making the leap from assistant to head coach in 2021 is make the NCAA Tournament — literally. He put Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Big Dance in his two seasons there before moving to WKU and leading the Hilltoppers straight to the tourney (their first since 2013). In that stretch, Lutz won three conference tournaments and a regular season crown.

USF’s Amir Abdur-Rahim is another name that has started to pop up on more reports as of late. Abdur-Rahim led the Bulls to an American regular season title this season, his first at the helm. Before that, he led Kennesaw State to an A-Sun regular season title, tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance last season, his fourth with the Owls.

The Tulsa World has started writing a lot about Nevada coach Steve Alford as of late. At 59, Alford isn’t exactly an up-and-coming option, but he has a track record of success. Starting his head coaching career in 1995, Alford has taken Missouri State, Iowa (x3), New Mexico (x3), UCLA (x4) and Nevada (x2) to the NCAA Tournament.

Then there are a lot of guys that have been mentioned from jump street — guys like Colorado State’s Niko Medved, Charleston’s Pat Kelsey, Grand Canyon’s Bryce Drew, Samford’s Bucky McMillan, New Mexico’s Richard Pitino, McNeese’s Will Wade and even Northwest Missouri State’s Ben McCollum. All of those guys have legit resumes. We’ve broken them down here. And went through some play styles here.

So, though some might be freaking out about DeVries and Sprinkle heading elsewhere, there are still a lot of good coaches out there.

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