With the regular season concluded, the coaching carousel is spinning into high gear and decisions are being made about the fates of several coaches.
Washington has decided it will retain Lorenzo Romar, sources have confirmed to Yahoo Sports.
Thad Matta will return at Ohio State, sources told Yahoo Sports. There had been speculation that health issues might persuade him to step down.
Georgia is exploring its options to replace Mark Fox, according to sources. Fox has not been fired, but the school is gathering information on potential successors. Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity refuted that Fox’s job was in danger Tuesday morning.
“In response to the report by Yahoo Sports, we are NOT in the process of exploring our options to replace Mark Fox,” McGarity said in a statement. “We look forward to Mark leading our program next year and all of our efforts are centered on postseason play. It’s unfortunate we need to respond at this time but it was necessary to quiet these unfounded rumors.”
At Washington, Romar will be retained for a 16th season, despite losing 21 games this year and – barring a miracle Pac-12 tournament championship – failing to make the NCAA tournament for the sixth straight year. Romar has signed the No. 1 player in the class of 2017, Michael Porter Jr., and although past recruiting coups have not resulted in great on-court success, the school is unwilling to pay his $3.5 million buyout. Romar is well-liked at Washington, which also has helped his cause.
Matta, whose Buckeyes appear headed for a second straight season without an NCAA tournament bid, has been considered a candidate to retire. Back issues have plagued the 49-year-old for years, and the combination of physical discomfort and declining returns led to speculation that he may be ready to walk away. However, a well-connected industry insider said flatly Monday night that the Ohio State job “is not going to open.”
Fox is trying to eke out a third NCAA tournament bid in eight seasons on the job. The Bulldogs are 18-13, 9-9 in the Southeastern Conference, and considered on the wrong side of the bubble heading into the SEC tournament.
Among currently open jobs, Missouri is vetting candidates and California’s Cuonzo Martin almost certainly will be one of them. Martin is prepared to leave Cal after two seasons and return to the Midwest, but could also be a candidate at Illinois if that job opens. Other possibilities at Missouri could include North Carolina-Wilmington’s Kevin Keatts, and if Tom Crean wishes to leave Indiana he could be an attractive candidate for the Tigers.
Crean’s future is unclear at this point, as is the situation at Clemson, where Brad Brownell is finishing his seventh season and hasn’t been to the NCAA tourney since his initial year. This year’s Clemson team is on the wrong side of the bubble entering the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, after a succession of agonizing losses.
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