It is not a real surprise, but Assistant basketball coach Mike Jackson has resigned, effective April 30th. This is not a surprise because he was suspended on February 9th after receiving an OWI. Since we're in our slowest part of the year in terms of the news this at least gives us something to talk about with two assistant coaching positions open and a new war chest of cash out there to fill them.
That leaves us with Jack Owens and two open positions with the departure of Paul Lusk. There have been some names floated with current IPFW coach (and IU alum) Dane Fife being one of the top names out there. Brian Neubert at GBI recently posted a blog about Fife, stating that a high profile assistant position might be better in the long run for Fife even though he is currently the head man at another school. He has a good relationship with Painter, and he can likely earn more as an assistant than he can leading the Mastodons.
I don't know about Fife. It would likely upset some IU fans since he is a former player and possible heir apparent down the road. He also is having a nice run of success at IPFW considering that he was the youngest coach in Division I when he started. He is only 82-97 as head coach, but IPFW has never won fewer games than a previous season under him. He is coming off of the best season in program history at 18-12. Does he stay and continue to build his resume, or is Purdue really a better move?
Another factor in our search is that one of the 10 head coaching positions within the state is currently open. The IUPUI Jaguars are still looking to replace Ron Hunter, who is the only coach they have had in their Division I history. Even though Hunter stayed there for 17 years, it is likely that the next coach at IUPUI (perhaps even current IUPUI women's coach and former Purdue player Austin Parkinson?) will try to use that as a springboard to something else. That means a solid young assistant may look for his first head coaching spot instead of taking a potential assistant job with us.
That said, here are some of my top picks for the two open positions. By no means is this the definitive coaching search list, but it merely one fan's wish list of top candidates:
Kenneth Lowe - Kenny is a former point guard and he is the example of Purdue toughness, playing despite 27 (approximate) shoulder injuries. He is currently playing professional in Finland, however, and may want to keep playing. Kenny could be a great recruiter in the one area of the state we normally own (Branden Dawson aside) The Region.
Carson Cunningham - Here is another former point guard and potential asset in The Region. He is coaching at Andrean High school and a professor of History at DePaul. I am sure we could even find a history class or two for him to teach if he was interested.
Austin Parkinson - I know, I am obsessed with point guards, but I can't help it. They often make the best coaches. Parkinson has already served as a graduate assistant and an assistant at IUPUI. He just finished his first season as the women's basketball head coach, going 4-24 after being hired in September following a pretty nasty scandal with the previous coach.
Micah Shrewsberry - He is the first program outsider on this list, but as a Butler assistant the past two seasons he has been part of two straight National Runners-Up. He would be an interesting pick-up in terms of getting some of the better Indy-area players.
Dan Dakich - Hopefully our own players would respect him more than IU did at his last coaching gig. He's becoming too much of a national media personality though (and one of the few good ones). The Boiled Sports guys are high on him.
Linc Darner - this former player is doing well at Florida Southern, but I see him becoming a Division I head coach first, maybe even at Miami, which is still open.
Chris Kramer - How awesome would this be? Although I think he still has another year in the D-League and a shot at making the Bucks roster first.
Me - Why not? lol