The wait for a Dayton Flyers coach continued Tuesday. Athletic Director Neil Sullivan said he planned to be deliberate and methodical in the search, while conceding there were advantages to getting it done sooner rather than later.
Dayton fans were pulling out their hair all over town, seizing on the smallest shreds of evidence, but the search affects no one more than the current and future Flyers.
Brooks Hall, who played for the Flyers from 1999-2003, the last four seasons of the Oliver Purnell era, sympathizes with what the players are experiencing.
“The guys that are locked in and late in the game, the juniors and seniors, you’ve just got to come together and whatever’s in front of you, you’ve got to attack it,” Hall said. “It’s almost out of your hands. A lot guys don’t want to transfer late in their careers, so they’re at a disadvantage. It really affects them the most and puts them in a tough spot, those juniors and seniors.”
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Five Dayton recruits, four of whom have signed national letters of intent, are also waiting to see what happens. The top recruit in the class, Minnesota point guard McKinley Wright, told a Minnesota TV station he has a spot waiting for him at Indiana with Archie Miller if he wants it. Wright also said he was waiting to see if UD hired assistant coach Tom Ostrom.
Hall counts himself among the many concerned about UD losing recruits.
“Archie was the reason these guys were coming in,” Hall said. “There’s just something about Archie. You want to be around him. You feed off his toughness and his competitive nature. Losing him, it’s really going to depend on who they bring in if those guys stay because he absolutely was the reason they’re coming here.”
Until Dayton hires a coach, the speculation game will continue. Here’s a rundown of a few names people are talking about in relation to the UD job, starting with the three assistant coaches still on staff:
Kevin Kuwik: An assistant coach at Ohio University from 2001-2008, Kuwik took an 18-month leave of absence at one point to serve in the Indiana National Guard in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served on Miller’s staff for all six seasons at Dayton. He’s a Notre Dame graduate from Lackawanna, N.Y.
Tom Ostrom: Ostrom also coached under Miller for all six seasons. He arrived at Dayton after a stint at Arkansas. He also coached at South Alabama and spent seven seasons on Billy Donovan’s staff at Florida. He’s a University of Minnesota graduate.
Allen Griffin: He played at Syracuse and coached under Miller for the last five seasons. He was the assistant coach who recruited Scoochie Smith.
Tom Crean, former Indiana coach: Would Dayton and Indiana just trade coaches? Crean wasn’t terrible at Indiana despite being fired an 18-16 finish this past season. Just a year ago, Indiana was 27-8 and won the Big Ten regular-season championship.
Dane Fife, Michigan State assistant: Fife was one of the names mentioned for the Indiana job. He’s a 2002 Indiana grad in his sixth season on Tom Izzo’s staff. He was the head coach at IPFW for five seasons.
Dwayne Stephens, Michigan State assistant: Stephens played at Michigan State from 1989-93. He has coached there under Izzo for 14 seasons.
John Brannen, Northern Kentucky head coach: He just guided the Norse to the NCAA tournament for the first time.
Greg Paulus, Ohio State assistant: The former Duke star followed UD President Eric F. Spina on Twitter. That got everybody talking about whether he’s a candidate. He has coached under Thad Matta for five seasons.
James Whitford, Ball State head coach: A longtime Miami University assistant, he has a 54-75 record in four seasons at Ball State. He has posted back-to-back 21-win seasons.
John Groce, former Illinois coach: He was fired this season by Illinois after going 95-75 in five seasons. He coached the Ohio Bobcats to the Sweet 16 in 2012.
Anthony Grant, Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach: Grant is the UD grad with the best Division I coaching resume. He’s been the head coach at VCU and Alabama.
Kenny Payne, Kentucky assistant: Payne has coached under John Calipari for seven seasons. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at Oregon for six seasons.
Ron Hunter, Georgia State head coach: A Chaminade Julienne and Miami University graduate, Hunter is 123-74 in six seasons at Georgia State.
Travis Steele, Xavier assistant coach: Steele has spent the past eight seasons with Xavier, the last six on Chris Mack’s staff.
Luke Murray, Xavier assistant coach: Another member of Mack’s staff, Murray has spent the last two years with Xavier after two seasons with Rhode Island’s Dan Hurley.
Pat Kelsey, Winthrop head coach: The Xavier grad pulled out of the Massachusetts job at the last minute, leaving some to wonder if he had another job in mind.
Matt McCall, Chattanooga head coach: He is 48-18 in two seasons with the Mocs. He won at Dayton in December 2015.
Dan Muller, Illinois State head coach: He is 104-65 in five seasons. He beat Dayton in December 2013.
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