Let’s Speculate! Potential Texas Tech 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 Texas Tech, coached by Mark Adams since 2021 (stepped down Wednesday).
- Grant McCasland – North Texas head coach
- The number one name floating around, even before Adams officially resigned, was UNT head coach Grant McCasland. In six years with the Mean Green, McCasland has built a consistent winner in the Conference USA. He’s won 20+ games in all but one year (18-10 in COVID-shortened 2021) and has two C-USA titles, one NCAA Tournament bid, one NIT bid and won the CBI Championship in 2018. The Texas-native played at Baylor and is a prominent member of the Scott Drew coaching tree, having worked under Drew at his alma mater for five seasons.
- Paul Mills – Oral Roberts head coach
- The other former Baylor assistant that has been making waves as a head coach is Paul Mills, who is taking Oral Roberts to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. Mills spent 14 years on Drew‘s staff before getting the ORU job, and was there from the beginning when Drew was hired for one of the biggest rebuilding jobs in college basketball history. Two years ago, behind Max Abmas and (future Texas Tech Red Raider) Kevin Obanor, Mills led the the Golden Eagles to the Sweet Sixteen as a 15-seed.
- Rodney Terry – Texas interim head coach
- Why not add some more fuel to the UT/Tech rivalry?! Outside of McCasland (and maybe Mills), every one else on this list is a long-shot anyways. Terry has done a great job in a difficult situation at Texas, keeping things rolling when it easily could have gone off the rails back in December. Despite that, most believe he is unlikely to keep the UT job beyond this year barring a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. He’s proven he is more than capable of running a power conference program after successful runs at UTEP and Fresno State. Someone is going to hire him, and Texas Tech makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons.
- Scott Cross – Troy head coach
- Cross was unceremoniously let go by his alma mater, Texas-Arlington, back in 2018 after a successful 12-year run at the helm. He won 225 games, two league titles and went to the NCAA Tournament for the first (and still only) time in program history. Cross quickly caught on at Troy, where he is now four years in and coming off a second-straight 20-win season. Texas Tech needs a Texas guy with head coaching experience and a track record of winning, and Cross can definitely be that guy.
- Kellen Sampson – Houston assistant coach
- Considered by many in the industry to be the next Tommy Lloyd or Jerome Tang – right-hand man at a successful program who will make an immediate impact as a head coach – Sampson has been an assistant under his father, Kelvin, at Houston since 2014. He played for his dad at Oklahoma and also coached there later on, also having stints at Stephen F. Austin and Appalachian State before arriving at UH. The younger Sampson has played a prominent role in the Cougars’ success over the last nine years and is poised to jump right into the head coaching chair for a power conference program.
- Ulric Maligi – Kansas State associate head coach
- Maligi has been recognized as a rising star by a number of publications, including The Athletic and ESPN. He is associate head coach now at Kansas State under the aforementioned Tang, but before that spent his entire coaching career in Texas. He was on Chris Beard’s staff for three years – one at UT and two at Texas Tech – and before that worked at Texas A&M, SMU, Houston, Stephen F. Austin and UT Arlington. The 38-year-old Texas-native is ready to take the reigns and going back to Tech makes a lot of sense.