Who could be IUPUI’s next coach?


The Jaguars moved on from Byron Rimm on Friday

We finally got clarity on the status of IUPUI’s head coaching job on Friday, when the school announced it wouldn’t retain Byron Rimm II. Rimm was named interim coach for the 2020 season after Jason Gardner abruptly resigned following an OWI arrest, and led the Jaguars to a 3-15 Horizon League record. Despite reports of candidates interviewing for the position, the school opted to retain Rimm for another year. The result was a much-improved team, finishing 8-10 overall and 7-9 during the Horizon League regular season. Nonetheless, the school decided to go in a different direction. A likely contributing factor is that Marcus Burk, Jaylen Minnett and Elyjah Goss three Gardner recruits who carried an insane amount of the workload for the Jaguars have indicated they won’t be returning for next year.

As a result, the first Horizon League Men’s Basketball coaching search of the season is underway.

As with Green Bay last offseason, listed candidates will be limited based on previous salaries offered by the involved schools. While that’s not how things played out for UIC last year when the school gave Luke Yaklich half a million dollars per season, those types of dramatic increases aren’t the norm. That doesn’t completely exclude coaches making more than IUPUI’s projected salary which should be about in line with the 175,000 Green Bay is paying Will Ryan annuallyas Dennis Gates took a six-figure pay decrease to leave Florida State for Cleveland State. It will still make it difficult to list a coach like Gates who went from making 400,000 dollars per year at FSU to 280,000 per year at CSU for this opening.

Here are some names that could be in play for the IUPUI job:

When the position appeared open last year, Stan Gouard seemed like a home run hire for IUPUI. The then-University of Indianapolis coach put together a team that finished the season nationally ranked in Division II and likely would’ve finished in the top half of the Horizon League despite having fewer scholarships to offer. Now he’s returned to his alma mater Southern Indiana and staying put might prove to be a strong long-term move if USI chooses to follow former conference rivals Northern Kentucky and Bellarmine to Division I in the near future.

Greg Lansing was recently let go by Indiana State at the end of his contract despite a fourth place finish in the Missouri Valley conference. That result becomes even more impressive when you consider that Lansing’s 250,000 dollar annual salary is lower than eight of 12 Horizon League coaches and is nowhere near the seven-figure high end of MVC salaries. Lansing has proven himself as a quality head coach in the same state as IUPUI, and he’s done it in a tougher conference than the Horizon League. Throw in the potential portal additions that would come with him and Lansing seems like a home run if he wants to stay in college basketball.

David Ragland is a Valparaiso, Indiana native with extensive experience both in the Horizon League and in the state of Indiana throughout his coaching career. He was an assistant at Northern Kentucky in the school’s first year in the Horizon League before spending two years in the league with his hometown school Valparaiso. Ragland spent the past three seasons at Utah State, but following Craig Smith’s departure to Utah it doesn’t seem like a guarantee that he’ll be moving to the Pac 12. With that said, Utah State’s coaching search is still ongoing and the fact that Ragland hasn’t been asked to join the Utes could mean he’s a candidate for an internal promotion that would obviously remove him from contention.

A name frequently linked or…Linc’d (I’m sorry) to the job is ex-Green Bay Head Coach Linc Darner. But if I’m being honest, Lansing has similar strengths and no reason to choose to sit around collecting buyout money. This one is mostly fan service. It would be a blast to watch if Burk, Minnett and Goss were coming back!

Another unconventional way for a cash-strapped program to approach this hire would be to tap its own Women’s Basketball Coach Austin Parkinson for the job. Parkinson took over a three-win IUPUI team in 2010 and won just four games in his first season, but hit the 20-win plateau in his third year and has now met that mark in seven of the last eight seasons. He led IUPUI to its first NCAA Tournament automatic bid in 2020 after winning the regular season crown outright. The weird nature of this season may very well have cost the Jaguars another regular season crown, as the team’s 6Before taking over the women’s program, Parkinson spent two years as an assistant for Ron Hunter with the men’s team. Clearly he knows how to build a program and how to win at IUPUI. Conventional wisdom might not be the answer with the Jaguars’ budget, so Parkinson might be the perfect fit for the job.

With all of that said, there are rumors swirling that the search might be a little further along than has been indicated. It would explain the seemingly late decision for a school that’s been done with the 2021 season for over a month.

If the final candidate pool truly is limited to Big 10 assistants and Division II coaches, here are some names that could be involved:

Gouard fits the criteria and could still be listed here, but outside of him it’s going to be a crapshoot trying to pick out a single Division-II Head Coach. Former North Dakota State and Ohio coach Saul Phillips put forth another excellent season at Northern State and was frequently mentioned during the Green Bay search last year, though he’s had far more success out west than closer to Indianapolis. It would be an interesting development for Phillips to wind up coaching in the same conference as his former assistant Will Ryan.

If the Jaguars opt instead for a Big 10 assistant, Ohio State’s Terry Johnson would make a lot of sense. Johnson previously coached in the Horizon League as an assistant Butler from 2007 until the school’s departure to the Atlantic 10 in 2012. Johnson had two stints as an assistant at Purdue Fort Wayne and spent two years at Indiana Tech. He has experience in the Horizon League, with current league members, and generally in the state of Indiana throughout his career. Chris Holtmann has pushed hard for his assistant to get a head coaching job, and this could be the offseason where it happens.

Brandon Brantley is another current Big 10 assistant with local ties that could make him a strong hire. Indiana’s coaching staff is in a flux, though IU assistant . Meanwhile, Micah Shrewsberry recently left Purdue for the head coaching job at Penn State. As a result, Brantley seems to be the strongest in-state option for a Big 10 assistant that IUPUI could target. With that said, Shrewsberry’s departure is a potentially complicating factor. Although Matt Painter wouldn’t want to hinder his assistants from opportunities to run their own programs, he also likely doesn’t want to lose as many assistants as many programs that change head coaches in a single offseason. Shrewsberry’s departure should also leave more money available for Purdue’s assistants, which could put Brantley out of IUPUI’s price range.

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