Of the 13 job openings last year at power conference schools (BCS conferences, A-10, MWC, WAC), four were filled with head coaches from mid-major programs. Darrin Horn went from Western Kentucky to South Carolina, Jim Christian moved from Kent State to TCU, Craig Robinson jumped from Brown to Oregon State and Keno Davis went from Drake to Providence. All four have improved their new teams, with Robinson having the biggest impact with the Beavers.
Three major programs -- Alabama, Arizona and Georgia -- are already in the market for a new head coach, and more are sure to follow. Here are some names from the mid-major ranks those athletic directors might want to contact:
Todd Bozeman, Morgan State -- Yes, he's got some baggage, but the man can coach. Bozeman took over a team that won four games in 2006, 13 in 2007 and 22 in 2008, when the Bears clinched the MEAC regular-season title. This year, the Bears repeated as MEAC regular-season champs and start their conference tournament Wednesday as the No. 1 seed. Bozeman was out of college coaching for 10 years after he was caught cheating at Cal in 1996, but he paid his dues and has shown he can rebuild a program.
Brad Brownell, Wright State -- Brownell, 40, is in his seventh year as a head coach and has never had a losing record. He was 83-40 in four years at UNC Wilmington that included two NCAA tournament berths. He then took Wright State to the NCAA tournament in his first year. This season, Wright State went 20-13 (10-6 in the Horizon) despite losing all-league guard VaughnDuggins after just four games to a broken finger. Wright State reached the Horizon semifinals before falling at Butler, 62-57.
Anthony Grant, VCU -- The longtime Billy Donovan assistant, Grant nearly replaced his mentor at Florida at the end of the 2007 season. Grant is in his third year at VCU after coaching under Donovan for 12 years (10 at Florida, two at Marshall). The Rams are 76-24 since Grant took over, winning three-straight CAA regular-season titles and two CAA tournaments. VCU beat Duke and lost to Pittsburgh in overtime in the 2007 tournament, and enters this year's tourney as a team no team wants to face.
Tim Jankovich, Illinois State -- After spending five years as an assistant under Bill Self (one year at Illinois, four at Kansas), Jankovich took over at Illinois State last year and is 49-19 at a program that averaged 13 wins the four years before he arrived. The Redbirds made the NIT last year and came within one possession of winning the Valley tournament this year before losing in overtime to Northern Iowa. Jankovich was head coach at North Texas from 1993-97 and has the second-best winning percentage of any coach at UNT.
Brad Stevens, Butler -- Stevens has been a head coach for less than two years, but he has already proven he can lead a veteran or inexperienced team. Butler is 56-7 the last two years and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament last year with a veteran group. This year, with three freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup, Butler is back in the dance. The guess here is Stevens, 32, will see this current crop of freshmen through before exploring other options, but he's still worth a phone call.
Cliff Warren, Jacksonville -- Warren spent five years as an assistant to Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech before taking over at Jacksonville. The Dolphins won one game in Warren's injury-plagued first year, 15 in his second season and 18 last year. This season, Jacksonville (18-13) won the Atlantic Sun regular-season title and will head to the NIT after falling to East Tennessee State in the conference tournament final.