On Feb. 7, I broke the news that Wyoming had fired head basketball coach Heath Schroyer.
(Gillispie and Kent: Two guys who could use a hug)
At the time I suggested that the job was perhaps the worst in college coaching because of Schroyer’s salary, a paltry $160,000, and Wyoming’s somewhat lacking hoops facilities.
Since that time things have apparently changed in Laramie.
I was told yesterday that Wyoming Athletic Director Tom Burman is attempting to make as splashy a hire as possible under the circumstances. (A hire that may go a long way to saving his job.) Facilitating Burman in that endeavor has been Univ. of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan, who has stepped up the school’s financial backing to allow Burman to pursue more recognizable names.
Until recently, rumored candidates throughout the process have been former Wyoming head coach and current Florida assistant Larry Shyatt, BYU assistant Dave Rice, USF assistant Jeremy Cox, St. John’s assistant Mike Dunlap and Kansas assistant Joe Dooley.
I’ve also been told that there was a major push by Wyoming boosters to try to get Billy Gillispie some consideration for the job. Despite the search firm involved in the process signing off on BCG and school president Buchanan also approving of Gillispie consideration, Burman nixed an interview for the former Kentucky coach. That despite Bill Self personally calling the school to recommend his former assistant at Tulsa after Gillispie made it known he had interest in the job. (Regardless of what you may hear, he did.)
I’ve since been told Burman’s top candidate for the job is now Ernie Kent. And that the interest is mutual.
Rice and Shyatt are also still under consideration. I was told Dunlap and Dooley did not reciprocate interest.
The job will pay $450,000 per season base salary with an extra $200,000 per season kicked in for appearances and media. Also included is a $500,000 signing bonus.
Meanwhile, Gillispie may soon land at Texas Tech after the school decided to not hire a search firm to fill its head basketball coaching vacancy. A headhunter service would’ve likely drawn out the hiring process and increased scrutiny on individual candidates.
Instead, I’m told new Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt spoke to the agent-less Gillispie this week and that the coach has the backing of prominent TTU boosters. A hire for the job could come as soon as next week.