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Providence coaching candidates list: Who will replace Ed Cooley at PC?

Credit: Louisville athletics

With Ed Cooley headed across the Big East conference to Georgetown, Providence needs a head coach. In no order, here are the candidates that will be floated around for the job.

Bobby Hurley, head coach, Arizona State: Hurley got his start in coaching with his brother Dan at Wagner and Rhode Island, before going to be the head coach at Buffalo. Buffalo got to the NCAA Tournament, the first in their history, and then he took the Arizona State job. He’s been good, but not great at ASU. His highlights include getting the Sun Devils to a No. 3 ranking in the country and having a few big wins under his belt, like a two-year sweep of Kansas on the road and at home, and then beating Arizona on the road for the first time on a buzzer-beater this year.

However, there are issues that have popped up with the biggest being that Bobby Hurley seemed to feud with the athletic director, Ray Anderson, over the behavior of a booster around his wife and others. The school president also publicly said there’s no need for a new basketball arena, despite Hurley being vocal about it. This past season was also seen as an evaluation year and while ASU made the NCAA Tournament, the administration has seemed slow to respond with an extension.

Reports, including from our own Aaron Torres are that he wants out. A landing spot in the Big East - especially after a tournament appearance could make sense for both sides.

Chris Mack, former head coach, Xavier/Louisville: Chris Mack is a very good coach that’s out there and waiting to be picked up by someone. He spent nine years at Xavier taking them to extreme highs including three Sweet 16's, an Elite Eight and No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in his final season in 2017-2018. He then went to Louisville where he briefly had the Cardinals at No. 1 before the bottom fell out there and he left in the middle of the 2021-2022 season. Mack recently said in a guest spot on the Field of 68 that he has no interest in returning this coming season, but that was before Providence opened. And a Big East school in a pro-centric region of the country where his team isn't a 365-day a year obsession (like it was at Louisville) could be the perfect fit. Is this the one he comes back for if offered?

Kim English, head coach, George Mason: This is an underrated name to watch for this opening, and was named as a potential candidate by Jon Rothstein right as teh job opened. English has been at Tulsa, Colorado, and Tennessee as an assistant before being offered the job at George Mason. His first season at George Mason was a struggle in 2021, but they improved a lot this past season and finished with a winning record. English is a rising coach after playing in college at Missouri. He then spent three seasons playing professionally before getting into coaching. He also has connections to Tad Boyle and Rick Barnes who are respected enough in the sport, especially Barnes. This is a name that needs to be tracked for this opening because English is seen as a rising star, and this could be seen as a long-term bet on a young coach.

Speedy Claxton, head coach, Hofstra: Another underrated name to watch in this search is Speedy Claxton. He played college at Hofstra under Jay Wright, was once considered one of the best players in the history of the school and had a long NBA career. He got into coaching after his playing days. He started as a college scout for the Golden State Warriors and then joined the Hofstra coaching staff in 2013. In 2021, He was hired as the head coach of Hofstra. Hofstra was good in his first season, but this past season they tield with Charleston atop the CAA standings. That's right, that Charleston team that nearly upset San Diego State in Round 1 of the tournament didn't even win its own league outright - splitting with Claxton's Hofstra squad. He's another big bet on a young, up and coming star in this business.

Ryan Odom, head coach, Utah State: On paper, it might not make sense for the head coach of a Mountain West school to take this job, or even be a candidate. But remember, Odom has big-time East Coast ties, as the head coach at UMBC the year that they stunned No. 1 seed Virginia in the NCAA Tournament in 2018. After a few more successful seasons there, he moved onto Utah State, where he got the Aggies into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large this year. The guy has build two programs into a consistent winner in a short amount of time, and at some point he'll get his big shot. This might be the right fit.

Micah Shrewsberry, head coach, Penn State: Shrewsberry might be the hottest name in the entire college coaching profession right now, after leading Penn State to a runner-up finish in the Big Ten Tournament and a dominant first round win over Texas A&M.

Still, this is probably the biggest longshot of the options listed here. Penn State can offer him more money in an extension, and reports are that the school has ramped up its financial commitment in recent weeks in the NIL space. If Shrewsberry does leave for another job, the ideal landing spot for him would be Notre Dame because of his connections in Indiana as a former assistant under Matt Painter.

Follow Jake Faigus on Twitter - @Jake_Faigus


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