No Successor Spotted On Horizon Yet

AP Photo/Michael E. Palmer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The list of prospects for the U-K basketball coaching job includes some familiar names, but U-K Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart has not mentioned anyone yet.

Coach Tubby Smith resigned yesterday to become coach of the Minnesota Gophers.

The names heard most seem to be former Coach Rick Pitino and his former assistant Billy Donovan. Pitino has told the Courier-Journal (in these words) "I've got the job that I want."

The Louisville coach added: "I'm where I want to be." Donovan has taken the Gators to two Final Fours, winning last year's national title and his team is the top seed in this year's N-C-A-A Tournament. Donovan told reporters yesterday he's in the tournament to coach his team and try to win another national championship.

The Courier-Journal says Donovan reportedly is making one-point-seven (m) million dollars this season, about 400-thousand less than Smith was guaranteed this year. The newspaper says that coming off national titles in both football and men's basketball, Florida has the budget to match any offer Barnhart could make to Donovan.

Others mentioned as possibilities for U-K are: Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, but he earned more than seven (m) million dollars last season in salary and bonuses and is a Michigan native.

Marquette coach Tom Crean has been spoken of frequently as a possible Smith successor. Others include: Billy Gillispie of Texas A-&-M and Rick Barnes of Texas.

Also being discussed are: Gonzaga's Mark Few, Villanova's Jay Wright, Ohio State's Thad Matta, Notre Dame's Mike Brey, Memphis John Calipari and Tennessee's Bruce Pearl. Barnhart also could use U-K's big bucks to try and land an established coach such as U-C-L-A's Ben Howland. Travis Ford and John Pelphrey might be interested, but there's talk of their inexperience.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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