Vols land Barnes, Marshall mulling ‘Bama job?

Published on Wednesday, 4/1/15, at 2:32 p.m. Eastern.

Robert Horry helped Alabama to multiple Sweet 16 appearances during Wimp Sanderson's tenure.

Robert Horry helped Alabama to multiple Sweet 16 appearances during Wimp Sanderson’s tenure.

SEC hoops is obviously on the rise. The coaching hires in the past year have been stellar and if Alabama can close with Wichita St.’s Gregg Marshall, the league will have its best set of coaches ever (if that isn’t the case already).

Let’s start with Marshall, who reportedly met with Alabama AD Bill Battle for seven hours in Wichita on Monday. Reports out of Tuscaloosa indicate that the school has offered him an annual salary north of $3 million and the deal could be worth up to $20 million over six years.

Marshall is believed to make about $1.9 million per season with the Shockers, who have been to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Oklahoma St. won’t be getting into the bidding war for Marshall after deciding to stick with Travis Ford, who appeared to perhaps be on the way out until the AD publicly backed him Tuesday night.

As for the Texas job, VCU’s Shaka Smart is reportedly the school’s top choice. If that’s true, then Marshall’s only options are staying at Wichita St. or bolting for Alabama (assuming Smart accepts an offer from Texas).

I didn’t think ‘Bama had any shot whatsoever at Marshall and I still don’t think it’s going to get him. However, nobody wastes seven hours unless there is some sort of interest.

Is Nick Saban involved at this point? Is Mrs. Terry working the phones with Mrs. Marshall? Remember, Billy Donovan’s wife was a major factor in helping Florida get Urban Meyer by selling his wife on Gainesville.

One of BE Sports's favorite punching bags, UT AD Dave Hart, is always providing us with new material.

One of BE Sports’s favorite punching bags, UT AD Dave Hart, is always providing us with new material.

Now obviously, Smart could say no to Texas and if that happens, I would think Marshall would be the Longhorns’ top choice. And the reports about Texas liking Smart more than Marshall could be inaccurate.

If Alabama strikes out on Marshall, reports out of the Capstone have indicated that Richard Pitino could be the next target. The Crimson Tide is clearly making a strong effort to make a splash hire in the wake of Auburn hiring Bruce Pearl last year.

And for you youngsters out there, success at Alabama in hoops is not a foreign concept. Wimp Sanderson took the Tide to five Sweet 16s in a seven-year stretch. Wimp produced NBA players galore like Derrick McKey, Robert Horry, Keith Askins, Bobby Lee Hurt, Latrell Sprewell and James ‘Hollywood’ Robinson. Mark Gottfried took ‘Bama to an Elite Eight.

Marshall could find the SEC a challenge, especially with coaching presences like John Calipari, Billy Donovan, Pearl, Frank Martin, Kevin Stallings, Rick Barnes, Andy Kennedy and Mississippi St’s brilliant new hire, Ben Howland.

Howland in Starkville? What a score by AD Scott Stricklin! Howland took UCLA to three consecutive Final Fours and just decided to move from Santa Monica to Starkville. Stunning.

Back to Barnes, who brings a strong resume to Knoxville. He took Texas to 16 Tournaments in a 17-year span. The downside is that he’s 60, but he has an outstanding reputation and has been successful everywhere, including stops at Providence and Clemson (who could ever forget his gamesmanship with Dean Smith in a UNC-Clemson ACC game that featured several brawls?).

According to a report, Tennessee paid $51,000 to a search firm to assist in its hiring process. What?! Why do you even pay Dave Hart a salary? Don’t get me started on Hart, who has been an incompetent fool for decades. He made the worst hire in ACC basketball history when he brought Steve Robinson to FSU.

I like what St. John’s did in bringing back its most famous alum Chris Mullin to replace Steve Lavin. He’ll have to get to work on the recruiting trail, but the school couldn’t have made a better choice to inspire the fan base and attract recruits.

The Coaching Carousel rolls on…

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