The search at East Tennessee State to replace Steve Forbes is underway, and has been a pretty interesting one so far. Many thought assistant (and current interim head coach) Jason Shay would be promoted fairly quickly – that obviously hasn’t happened. I have heard that the president is actively involved in this one, and interviews began over the weekend. Here are names that I’ve heard with their current odds:
- Jason Shay – Interim Head Coach ETSU (4 to 1). Has been at ETSU since 2015, and with Forbes before that at Northwest Florida and Tennessee. Opinion: he should get the job. Fact: the longer this goes, the worse his odds get.
- Chris Jans – Head Coach New Mexico State (5 to 1). Biggest question here is if Jans would actually take the job if offered. He’s absolutely murdered it in 3 years at NMSU going 82-17 (42-3 WAC). Would be a pay increase, but the lure of a HM gig could be out there next season if he stays put.
- Kellen Sampson – Assistant Coach Oklahoma (20 to 1). The “coach in waiting” at Houston, but that won’t stop him from taking a head coaching job if offered. Has been a big part of a very successful run on his dad’s staff at UH for the past 6 seasons.
- Joel Justus – Assistant Coach Kentucky (25 to 1). Was reportedly involved earlier this year at UNC Wilmington. Has been on John Calipari’s staff for the past six seasons. Had success at the prep level as a head coach before joining the UK staff.
- Penny Collins – Head Coach Tennessee State (30 to 1). A former ETSU assistant (2015-17). Doubled TSU’s win total from last season (his first year) to this past season. He’s a Tennessee native who played at Belmont.
- Darris Nichols – Assistant Coach Florida (35 to 1). A long shot here, but his name keeps coming up. Has been at Florida since 2015, and also worked at Louisiana Tech, Wofford, Northern Kentucky, and West Virginia.
- Matt Figger – Head Coach Austin Peay (40 to 1). Heard his name early here, but that seems to have died out.