Knight, Westphal possibilities at ASU - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Knight, Westphal possibilities at ASU

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Posted: Thursday, March 2, 2006 5:54 am | Updated: 2:57 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

If a basketball coaching change is made, the potential candidates for Arizona State include:


The coach at Pittsburgh may be willing to make the move to ASU after three years with the Panthers. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and served as an assistant to Ben Howland at Northern Arizona and at Pitt. He’s just 40 years old and is perceived as having the necessary energy to tackle a tough job. A potential downside: He’s reluctant to coach against Howland, his friend and mentor who’s now the UCLA coach.


He was a wildly successful coach at Stanford for 18 seasons and at Montana for eight years before that. He’s been the coach of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors the past two years, and things haven’t gone as well. If the Warriors are willing to dump him with two years left on his deal, he would give ASU big-time credibility instantly.


His name was the buzz around ASU a few weeks ago, perhaps less so now. He’s on the verge of becoming the winningest NCAA coach of all time and would give ASU the biggest name in the nation and the obvious ability to sell tickets. He was considered highmaintenance, in the extreme, during his days at Indiana, though this seemingly hasn’t been the case at Texas Tech. That he’s now starring in a basketball reality TV series indicates he’s trying to market his way out of Lubbock. His age, 66, suggests he wouldn’t be a fix, but he might be a great option until that fix is found.


He would seem to be a natural candidate. He was a star player at ASU in the mid-1970s, helped lead the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA title in 1978. He later served as an assistant coach at ASU and with the Suns. He’s currently an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies, a team for which he’s also served as head coach. Though a strong supporter of Rob Evans, he’s known to be interested in the job should a change be made.


He’s still a big name in the Valley because he helped lead the Suns to the NBA Finals as both a player and a coach; as the ASU coach he would put fannies in the seats. Westphal, now the coach at Pepperdine (where he recruits the same territory as ASU), is known to have interest, but he also would support Hollins for this job.


He’s considered an upand-coming coach at Wichita State. He played at Kansas during the 1980s and later coached there under Larry Brown (he was part of the 1988 NCAA title team) and Roy Williams. He also has Pac-10 experience as an assistant coach at Oregon.


The coach at St. Mary’s in California has strong local ties; his father is longtime local coach Tom Bennett (Mesa Community College, Gilbert High). He led his team to a surprise run to the NCAA tournament last season and is coming on strong again this year.


Though his program went downhill at the end, he consistently led UCLA to the Sweet 16. He knows the lay of the recruiting land. Some of his recruits (including centers 7-foot-0 Michael Fey, 6-11 Ryan Hollins and guard Cedric Bozeman) are still helping the Bruins contend for the Pac-10 title.


Like Lavin, he’s a successful ex-coach now working as a broadcaster. He led Utah to the NCAA title game; at one point the Utes were as good as any basketball program in the West. But his unkempt image and the fact that he accepted, then gave up the job at USC, may make it tough for recruiting prospects to think he’ll stick around long.


The successful Alabama-Birmingham coach is getting play around the country as somebody who is ready to make a move up the ladder.

Washington at Arizona St.

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