The University of Wyoming is in search of its next head men’s basketball coach.
Allen Edwards was relieved of his duties as head man of the Pokes after compiling a 60-75 record, which included a 17-48 record over the last two seasons.
Whomever is chosen to lead the Cowboys forward, they’ll have a rebuilding project on their hands. Let’s take a look at some of the potential head coaching candidates for the Pokes.
Jeff Linder, Northern Colorado
Linder will be a hot name at Wyoming simply because of proximity. The Lafayette, Colorado, took over a program in Greeley that was slapped with NCAA violations from the previous staff.
Following an understandably bumpy first season, Linder has won north of 20 games each of the past two seasons. He won the CIT Tournament title in 2017-18, and was the No. 2 seed in the Big Sky Conference Tournament this season before the Corona Virus cancellation.
Before UNC, Linder was Boise State head coach Leon Rice’s assistant, meaning Linder knows the Mountain West Conference. He also wouldn’t have to change his recruiting scope that much. Linder has six Coloradans on his UNC roster, and would likely be able to grab an even higher level of talent from the Front Range, sporting some Mountain West Conference/UW gear.
Chris Jans, New Mexico State
Jans is a phenomenally successful coach who is also a good regional fit, and that’s important at a place like Wyoming. Jans has coached the Aggies to a Western Athletic Conference regular-season crown each of the last two seasons, winning the conference tournament title last year, as well.
Jans — a Fairbank, Iowa, native — inherited a very healthy NMSU men’s basketball team from Paul Wier who picked up where Marvin Menzies left off. The Aggies have been the bell cow in a bad WAC for a decade, so that has to be put into consideration. Is Jans simply a byproduct of his predecessors and a weak conference or is he perhaps a solid head coach?
Prior to his time at NMSU, Jans was a special assistant with Wichita State after he was fired following one season at Bowling Green State University. During his first head coaching gig in Northwest Ohio, Jans was caught on video doing some inappropriate acts at a local bar and was subsequently fired by the Falcons.
So there’s baggage that comes along with Jans, but his track record speaks for itself.
Tom Brown, West Texas A&M
Brown may compete at the Division II level, but he has built a dynasty in a short amount of time in Canyon, Texas. He’s in his sixth year with the Buffs and has experienced a meteoric rise, winning 17 games his first season, 21 in his second, 26 in his third, 32 in his fourth and 34 this past season.
He guided West Texas A&M to the Final Four in 2017-18, the Elite Eight a season ago and has the Buffaloes at 32-1 this year before the coronavirus cancellation. Prior to West Texas A&M, Brown was an assistant at Division II Winona State.
So while Brown hasn’t coached at the Division I level, he couldn’t have a more impressive Division II track record. He is also another regional fit that has built Texas recruiting ties that could prove fruitful in Laramie.
David Richman, North Dakota State
Wyoming snagged a successful football coach from Fargo, why not return to that well for a basketball coach? Richman is just a couple days removed from leading the Bison to their second consecutive Summit League Tournament title.
The Wahpeton, North Dakota, native has been the Big Dance in two of his first six seasons and that number would have been three if not for the Corona Virus. Being in his early 40s, Richman will be a hot commodity on the coaching market.
Travis DeCuire, Montana
How DeCuire has remained at Montana for this long is still a mystery. Why he hasn’t been offered one of the PAC-12/MWC openings of the past couple years is befuddling.
The Seattle, Washington, native has done nothing but win at his alma mater. DeCuire has racked up at least 20 wins in four of his five seasons in Missoula, finishing first in the Big Sky three times and guiding the Grizzlies to the NCAA Tournament each of the last two years.
Before Montana, DeCuire was an assistant at Old Dominion and Cal.