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Let’s Speculate! Potential DePaul head basketball coach candidates

Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.

Today’s program is DePaul, coached by Tony Stubblefield since 2021 (fired on Monday).

  • Josh Schertz – Indiana State head coach
    • The latest example of a successful sub-DI coach coming up to the top level and quickly continuing that success, Schertz won 23 games last year at Indiana State after just 11 wins in year one. The Sycamores are a serious contender for the Missouri Valley title in 2024 and have hopes to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. Schertz went to ten NCAA D-II Tournaments in thirteen years at Lincoln Memorial (TN), including three trips to the Final Four. A jump up to the Big East is a logical next step in his career, but he is likely to have better options than DePaul this coming offseason.
  • Ron Hunter – Tulane head coach
    • A power conference team needs to hire Ron Hunter and DePaul should have hired him in 2021 when they went with Stubblefield instead. Hunter is a proven winner, a fantastic college basketball personality and beloved by players and fans alike. He’s doing great things at Tulane but there is a ceiling there. He’s from the Midwest and coached for many years down the road at IUPUI, a tenure that just gets more and more impressive as his successors there continue to flounder hard. He won three Sun Belt titles and went to three NCAA Tournaments in eight years at Georgia State despite never having coached south of Indianapolis before he was hired. He led the Green Wave to 20 wins last year (their first time in ten years). Let the CBB world see what Hunter can do in the Big East!
  • Will Wade – McNeese State head coach
    • Wade mostly escaped the LSU situation unscathed and has paid his minimal dues to the NCAA overlords. McNeese offered a lifeline, surely knowing he wouldn’t be there long, and he is already a winner there. The Cowboys are 16-2 (5-0) at the time of this writing and Wade is going to get offers as soon as this offseason. Coming to the big city could be enticing, though there will likely be programs more suited for quick success than what he would be getting in DePaul. A rebuild (or just a build, at this point?) is not for everyone.
  • Brian Wardle – Bradley head coach
    • Wardle has been at Bradley since 2015 and is coming off of a Missouri Valley title and Missouri Valley COY award in 2023. He took the Braves to the NCAA Tournament in 2019 and the NIT last year, plus two additional NIT bids during his five-year stint at Green Bay. A Chicago-area native and Marquette grad, Wardle is a member of the Tom Crean and Tod Kowalczyk coaching trees and is a proven winner with significant area ties. He may not be the most “exciting” name on the list but he is certainly someone that could be successful and that is what really matters.
  • Bryce Drew – Grand Canyon head coach
    • Drew was a legendary player and later a successful coach at Valparaiso, just about an hour’s drive from DePaul. His short tenure at Vanderbilt was a career setback but now he is back on top at Grand Canyon and should be in the discussion (as he already has been) for a number of major program jobs in this cycle. DePaul is the hometown school option, unless he is holding out for a shot at Indiana in the (near?) future.
  • Bryan Mullins – Southern Illinois head coach
    • Mullins is in his fifth year as head coach at his alma mater Southern Illinois, and while he has yet to break through to the NCAA Tournament he is coming off his best year yet – 23-10 and tied for 3rd in the MVC. This year’s team doesn’t look like it will be able to match that, but Mullins has Chicago ties (he’s from Downers Grove and also spent six seasons at Loyola before getting the SIU job) and is the son of Mike Mullins, who founded the Illinois Wolves AAU powerhouse. He is probably happy to be at his alma mater and may not want to leave without getting the Salukis back to the Big Dance, but DePaul could be an interesting opportunity for the 37-year-old.
  • Alan Huss – High Point head coach
    • We’ve already seen Huss floated as a potential candidate at DePaul despite only being in his first year at High Point. But the success he is having with the first place Panthers, including already surpassing last year’s win total before the end of January, has captured the attention of many in coaching circles. He is a Midwestern guy who was a successful high school coach in both Illinois and NW Indiana and he also spent six years coaching under Greg McDermott at alma mater Creighton before getting hired by HPU last year.
  • Bobby Hurley – Arizona State head coach
    • Hurley is on and off the hot seat at Arizona State and is rumored to be wanting to come back East, and while Chicago isn’t the East Coast the DePaul job is in the Big East, where his brother just won a national championship with UConn. The Hurley bros have stated that they don’t really want to be coaching against each other, but we can’t imagine that would stop Bobby from coming to the league if the situation was right. Hurley also recently hired Nick Irvin from the famous Mac Irvin Fire AAU family in Chicago and has already landed a local prospect for the Sun Devils’ 2024 class, so there are some new ties to the Chicago area that a large segment of the DePaul fanbase sees as a must-have for their next head coach.
  • Porter Moser – Oklahoma head coach
    • It’s becoming a more and more open secret that Moser wants out of Norman, as the marriage between he and Oklahoma just hasn’t been working out. Moser hasn’t done a bad job, but he’s nowhere near the success level that the fanbase was used to before his arrival – or what he has shown he is capable of during his time at Loyola Chicago. A move back to the Windy City might be good for him to get back to his winning ways, though the DePaul job (as is a problem for everyone on this list) is not set up for immediate success. Remember when he took the Ramblers to the Final Four in 2018 with a roster full of unheralded and/or under-recruited Chicagoland and Midwest guys? DePaul fans sure do.
  • Mick Cronin – UCLA head coach
    • Cronin, like Hurley, is rumored to be wanting to leave the West Coast for a better situation back East and, unlike Hurley, he is actually a Midwest guy that should have regional ties that can make him successful at DePaul. He had consistent success at both Murray State and Cincinnati and actually did very well at UCLA over the last few years before his core guys exhausted their eligibility. The Bruins are taking a major slide backwards in 2023-24 and Cronin has been very vocal (and negative) to the press in recent weeks. The team is moving to the Big Ten after this season which maybe creates a natural reset for both Cronin and the program.
  • Drew Valentine – Loyola (IL) head coach
    • Valentine’s name really cooled off last season, as he went from winning 25 games and getting a NCAA bid in his first season to just 10-21 (4-14) in the program’s first year of A-10 play. However, he and the Ramblers have bounced back so far this year and they are in the hunt for a league title (outside shot, maybe, but definitely possible). He’s the best available option currently in the city and at just 32 years old has a long career ahead of him still. Plus he was one of Porter Moser‘s assistants for the aforementioned Final Four run.
  • Jerrod Calhoun – Youngstown State head coach
    • Calhoun is a member of the Bob Huggins coaching tree, serving as one of his student assistants at Cincinnati and later as an assistant for five seasons at West Virginia, and got his head coaching start at D-II Fairmont State in 2012. He went 124-38 there and led the Falcons to a National Runner-Up finish in 2017. Now at Youngstown State, Calhoun just led the Penguins to their first-ever Horizon League title and just missed out on their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid. The 41-year-old is going to get a lot of interest in the coming years if he keeps things up at YSU – though he could be headed to West Virginia instead.