Possible Replacements at Arizona

Replacing Lute Olson is not going to be an easy task for Athletic Director Jim Livengood, but at least he has time. Russ Pennell will man the ship this season giving Livengood until April to find the right guy. It’s very early in the process, but here are our top candidates:

4. Brad Brownell (Head Coach, Wright State)

Career record: 127-60 (.679) 2 years at Wright State / 4 years at UNC-Wilmington

A great X’s and O’s guy as well as a strong recruiter. Has won at both of his stops. May not have big enough name yet to follow a legend. Will get a big-time job soon, and will definitely get a sniff from Arizona, but this may not be the right situation.

3. Mark Few (Head Coach, Gonzaga)

Career record: 236-60 (.797) 8 years at Gonzaga

Big-time west coast ties. Has done nothing but win at Gonzaga – his .797 winning percentage is absurd. Has been recruiting PAC-10 level talent in the WCC for years. Would be an excellent choice, but is he willing to leave what he’s got at Gonzaga?

2. Andy Kennedy (Head Coach Mississippi)

Career record: 66-37 (.641) 2 years at Mississippi / 1 year at Cincinnati (interim)

Has high major conference experience in the SEC where he’s done a terrific job at Mississippi. This guy can flat out coach. Also a great recruiter. Has all of the tools to win and win big in Tucson.

1. John Calipari (Head Coach, Memphis)

Career record: 408-135 (.751) 8 years at Memphis / 8 years at UMass

Our choice to get the job. Has been at Memphis for 8 years and is itching to get out. The PAC-10 is definitely a step up from C-USA. Would give Arizona the best shot at winning a national title quickly. A great situation for both sides. The perfect guy to follow Olson – a big time name who will own Tucson and return the Wildcats to national prominence.


Tony Bennett (Head Coach, Washington State)

A good choice, but will most likely wait until Bo Ryan retires at Wisconsin before he makes his next move.

Josh Pastner (Assistant Coach, Memphis)

A popular name for Arizona fans. Was an assistant with the Wildcats for 6 years before joining Coach Cal. Hard working recruiter who will be a head coach soon. Livengood needs a bigger name though.

Anthony Grant (Head Coach, VCU)

Won a national championship as an assistant at Florida. Was going to replace Billy Donovan before the Orlando Magic flip-flop. Has an outside shot if they can’t get it done with the top tier guys.

Reggie Theus (Head Coach, Sacramento Kings)

A west coast guy with college head coaching experience. Led New Mexico State to a 41-23 record in his two years there. Gained valuable experience working for Rick Pitino at Louisville. Played 13 years in the NBA (a great selling point to recruits).