The Dagger - NCAAB

If the next the University of Miami basketball coach indeed is one of the seven candidates the Miami Herald reported on Sunday, then the most noteworthy aspect of the list is which name isn't there.

Absent from the list was Kansas State coach Frank Martin, which suggests Miami still isn't prepared to make the financial commitment necessary to contend in the ACC.

Whereas the national perception of Miami is of a lower-tier major-conference program lacking both basketball pedigree and fan support, Martin's South Florida roots make it somewhat of a dream job. reported Friday that Martin is happy at Kansas State but would "walk on coals" to get to Miami if the school committed to increasing its basketball budget and paying him and his assistants a competitive salary.

That Martin reportedly hasn't received an interview suggests Miami administrators think he either isn't the right fit or he's too expensive.  It's understandable if they don't believe there's enough of a financial upside to hiring Martin, of course, yet it's easy to envision the oft-overlooked Hurricanes someday regretting passing up the rare chance to make a splashy hire.

Martin has the instant name recognition to drum up interest in a program that averaged less than 5,000 fans per game last year. He has the connections to land the top local prospects the way Leonard Hamilton once did. And he has the work ethic and sheer force of will to help Miami make the progress that has been fleeting in the 26 years since the school revived its basketball program.

There are some intriguing names among the Miami Herald's list of seven candidates, yet even some of those seem like long shots.

Chris Mooney is an up-and-coming star in the industry, yet it seems unlikely he'd leave Richmond for Miami just weeks after signing a 10-year contract. Tony Barbee took UTEP to the NCAA tournament in 2009 and did well to make talent-starved Auburn competitive in the SEC last season, yet would he really bolt for Miami after just one year with the Tigers?

That leaves Miami with five candidates: UAB's Mike Davis, Murray State's Billy Kennedy, Harvard's Tommy Amaker and Jeff Capel and John Pelphrey, recently fired by Oklahoma and Arkansas, respectively.

Would any of those five be as successful in the long run as Martin? Perhaps. Do any of them match his qualifications or his ability to immediately galvanize the fan base? Probably not.

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