The Illinois Fighting Illini fired head coach Bruce Weber this morning after nine seasons, and there are already a plethora of names being tossed around as potential replacements. News spread this afternoon that VCU's Shaka Smart is the presumed front-runner for the job, and, according to one report, he could be leaning towards taking it.
Intrepid ESPN Chicago reporter and friend of our little operation here Scott Powers put together a list of more potential coaching candidates. Here are a few of the interesting names mentioned:
Duke assistant coach Chris Collins: There’s an assumption Collins will eventually be a head coach someday. Illinois might be too high of a job for his first gig. He is originally from the Chicago area and has recruited Illinois for Duke.
Illinois assistant coach Jerrance Howard: He is a long shot. Howard has been key to Illinois’ recent recruiting success, which included a nationally-ranked No. 11 class in 2011 and No. 13 in 2010. He has time remaining on his contract, so he could also stick around under a new coach. A number of other programs have tried to steal him away as an assistant in recent years.
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar: He has been at Washington for 10 years and has compiled a 216-111 overall record and 109-72 Pac-12 record. Washington won the Pac-12 regular-season title this season with a 14-4 conference record and will be headed to the NCAA tournament. Washington has been to six NCAA tournaments and made it to the Sweet 16 three times under Romar. Romar played with Jabari Parker’s dad Sonny in the NBA. Romar signed a 10-year extension in 2010.
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