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Five Potential Candidates to Replace Mike Boynton at OSU

Five names to keep an eye on as OSU looks for a new coach.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The Mike Boynton era of Cowboy basketball is officially over.

Oklahoma State fired Boynton on Thursday after seven seasons where the Cowboys went 119-109 with one NCAA Tournament appearance. So, the search is on for OSU’s next coach.

Here are five initial names that stand out. I tried to get a bit of a variety in mid-major standouts, proven winners and one name that is synonymous with OSU basketball coaching searches at this point.

Pat Kelsey, Charleston

Get this, Pat Kelsey has qualified for the NCAA Tournament five times since 2017 — four of those have come since 2020.

Perhaps the most impressive part of that is that he did that at two schools. He started at Winthrop in 2012 before leading the Eagles to the tourney in 2017. Winthrop then qualified for the Tournament in 2020 (before the pandemic shutout) and again in 2021.

Then he made the move to Charleston, turning a 9-10 team into a 17-15 team in his first year before winning the Colonial Athletic Association regular season and conference tournament the past two years. So, it wasn’t as if he caught lightning in a bottle at Winthrop. He went and did it again at Charleston.

In 12 seasons as a head coach, Kelsey is 261-121.

The only knocks against him being OSU’s next coach are that he hasn’t coached at the high-major level yet and him being an out-of-region hire. From Cincinnati, Kelsey played at Wyoming and Xavier, so he doesn’t have recruiting ties in Oklahoma and Texas.

Darian DeVries, Drake

A Northern Iowa grad, Darian DeVries has a 150-54 record at Drake since taking over in 2018.

Those six seasons have seen DeVries lead the Bulldogs to three NCAA Tournaments, including each of the past two years. Winning the Missouri Valley tournament last season and this season, Drake is 55-14 in that time.

Prior to Drake, DeVries was a longtime assistant at Creighton under Dana Altman and Greg McDermott.

Knocks against the hire would again be that he hasn’t done it at the high-major level, but a 0.797 win percentage over the past two seasons might be enough to overlook that.

Will Wade, McNeese

You could say a lot about Will Wade, but one thing is for certain, the man knows how to win basketball games.

Wade took VCU to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 2016 and 2017 (his only two seasons with the program) before being hired at LSU.

LSU was 10-21 the season before Wade’s arrival. The Tigers went 18-15 in his first year before making the NCAA Tournament and climbing as high as No. 9 in the AP Poll in his second season. In total, Wade took LSU to the tourney three times in five seasons.

He was then caught up, fairly substantially, in the same FBI probe that ended in sanctions for OSU. He sat the 2022-23 season before resurfacing at McNeese this season. And all he has done is lead those Cowboys to a 30-3 record (a year after the team went 11-23).

I don’t know that OSU would or should make this hire, but Wade has proven he has an acumen to win games no matter where he has coached.

Doug Gottlieb/Brian Montonati

Hello, old friend.

What case could be made that hasn’t already been made over the past decade for Doug Gottlieb being OSU’s coach?

Does he have Division-I coaching experience? No. But he has done consulting work — most recently with OSU. He comes from a family of coaching. And he loves OSU.

Gottlieb is also good friends with fellow alum Brian Montonati. Montonati is the coach at Owasso right now, leading the Rams to their first state title this past season. That in and of itself is impressive. But there’s another layer to it: the best player on that team is Jalen Montonati.

Jalen, Brian’s son, has all the makings of a future pro. He’s a five-star recruit in the 2026 class. He has length at 6-foot-7 and can shoot.

OSU basketball needs a fan rejuvenation — evident by the fact that 6,023 people showed up to OSU’s Senior Night game. A Gottlieb/Montonati ticket would no doubt put butts in seats and could lead to NIL support, but it would also be a risk considering neither has coached at this level.

Dusty May, Florida Atlantic

Dusty May led Florida Atlantic (Florida Atlantic!!) to the Final Four last season, finishing the year with a 35-4 record.

The Owls are 24-7 this year and got as high as No. 7 in the AP Poll at one point. They’re on pace to make the NCAA Tournament again.

In six years with FAU, May is 125-67.

A potential issue OSU could run into in hiring May would be the fact that he just signed a 10-year extension this past offseason. With OSU buying out Boynton, needing to inject money into NIL and paying a new coach’s salary, buying out May would be another expense.

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