Let’s Speculate! Potential Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma, coached by Lon Kruger for the last ten seasons (retired on March 25).

  • Grant McCasland – North Texas head coach
    • The North Texas coach was a rising star even before the Mean Green’s first-round upset of #4 Purdue in this year’s NCAA Tournament. McCasland went 20-12 in one season at Arkansas State and is now 79-51 in three seasons at UNT, a program that had not been to the postseason in eight years prior to his arrival. A former Baylor player and Texas native, McCasland is going to get a bigger job and OU certainly fits the profile. One potential roadblock: is Scott Drew going to stay at Baylor after this year?
  • Paul Mills – Oral Roberts head coach
    • Another up-and-comer with ties to Baylor and the Big 12, Mills is doing a great job up the road at Oral Roberts and is poised to make the move to the Power Five in the coming years. It’s been a successful rebuild so far, as win totals have increase over the last three years culminating in the 2021 NCAA bid that his burst Mills onto the national scene. The Eagles are still alive, becoming just the second-ever 15-seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen. Like with McCasland, Mills would be a candidate at Baylor if that job opens up, as he spent 14 years on Drew‘s staff there before getting the ORU job in 2017.
  • Joe Golding – Abilene Christian head coach
    • Golding is the final 2021 NCAA Tournament star on this list, as his ACU squad pulled the upset of all upsets by toppling the mighty Longhorns in the first round. He has been the head man at Abilene, where he also played and served as an assistant, since 2011 and during that time has taken the Wildcats to their first two NCAA bids in program history. Golding is a Texas-native and is not going to stay at his alma mater forever, especially now that the college basketball world has taken notice of the job he’s done.
  • Porter Moser – Loyola (IL) head coach
    • Though the Ramblers didn’t return to the Final Four this year, Moser proved once again how great of a coach and how much of a program-builder he is. Moser has a sweet situation at Loyola, living in Chicago and recruiting the talent-rich Midwest. But he is going to make the move when the right situation presents itself and rumblings around the college basketball world indicate that he is interested in what OU has to offer.
  • Mark Turgeon – Maryland head coach
    • We have considered Turgeon to be on the hot seat for the last several seasons, then last year he won a share of the Big Ten title and this year won an NCAA Tournament game, which likely buys him more time at Maryland. But is that the situation he wants? Always coaching for his job year-to-year? Recent murmurs indicate Turgeon may be looking for a job elsewhere to cut ties with Maryland before it does so with him. He’s a Kansas-native who had the most success in his career during his stints at Texas A&M and Wichita State, so it would make sense for him to be interested in coming back to the Midwest. Is the interest mutual, though?
  • Carlin Hartman – Oklahoma assistant coach
    • The logical internal option, Hartman has been a key member of Kruger‘s staff since 2016 and has a big hand in recruiting much of the current Sooner roster. Hiring Hartman would not just be for continuity, either, as his name has popped up with several coaching searches over the last couple years and it is only a matter of time before someone scoops him up. Oklahoma is in a great position here if they are OK with a guy that doesn’t have prior head coaching experience.
  • Kellen Sampson – Houston assistant coach
    • The other assistant coach worth looking at it is Kellen Sampson, who is currently working on his dad’s staff at Houston. His dad being former OU head coach Kelvin Sampson, who took the Sooners to the Final Four back in 2003 a few years before taking the Indiana job (he got in some trouble there largely for things that are no longer against the rules). Kellen played for the Sooners and spent some time on Jeff Capel‘s OU staff earlier in his career. In addition to his current role, he has spent time at Appalachian State and Stephen F. Austin.
  • John Beilein – former Michigan head coach
    • Credentials are obvious here and there seems to be a desire on Beilein’s end to get back into coaching – surely he doesn’t want the Cleveland debacle to be his final rodeo. Beilein is a proven program builder but honestly the Oklahoma situation may be great for him. It’s not (necessarily) a full rebuild and there was no coach firing, so he may have an easy time ramping things right back up when he arrived.
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