After Ted Woodward

Now that University of Maine Director of Athletics Karlton Creech (left) correctly decided to relieve Ted Woodward of his head coaching duties on Monday, it is officially time to turn the page on the Maine men’s basketball program.  The natural question now becomes, who’s next?

Candidly, Fill The Steins has no insider information regarding who Creech and his deputies are looking at, nor do we know if the university will look for a candidate in the same (low) price range as Woodward.  Although, based on recent results, we’d advise against that.

What we do believe, however, is that there is a formula for success in building the men’s basketball program in Orono.  That formula involves hiring a young, hungry, motivated coach who’s looking to make his mark on a Division I program before moving on to greener pastures.

That’s right…we’re suggesting that Mr. Creech look at candidates who will want to move away from the university after 5-6 years and a successful turnaround.  Why?  Because, given the external factors, that’s the best we can do.

To be clear, that’s not to say “the best we can do” is bad.  It’s just a reality.  The University of Maine is not a “destination job” for most men’s basketball coaches.  Ours is the type of program where a first-time D1 head coach can build a resume, win a conference championship, and then move on to a more prominent mid-major school on his way to what he ultimately hopes is a power conference job.

So, what happens if that’s the route Mr. Creech takes?  Won’t we be in the exact same head-scratching situation five years down the road, searching for the next stop-gap head coach?  Not if this selection is made correctly.  By hiring a coach who can turn the program around and compete for a conference championship, Creech will show other young, aspiring coaches that they can be successful here.  So, while Maine will never be that “destination job” for an already-established head coach, it can be a destination for exactly the type of coach described above.

With that in mind, Fill The Steins has assembled a hypothetical list of candidates we believe fit the mold we’ve outlined.  Again, we must qualify this list by saying we have exactly zero idea how much Mr. Creech is willing to pay, if these candidates are in Maine’s price range, and if they have any interest in spending their winters in Orono.  Having said that, predicting the next coach is way more fun than predicting the next player to transfer out of the program, so let’s have at it!

C.B. McGrath, UNC Assistant Coach: As everyone in Fill The Steins Nation knows, Karlton Creech came to Orono from the University of North Carolina, a school with one of the proudest, richest basketball traditions in the country.  We can’t help but think Mr. Creech will look to leverage some of those connections and try to bring a member of Roy Williams’ staff to Orono.  From that staff, McGrath seems like the best fit for Maine.  He played for Williams at Kansas, almost immediately transitioned into an assistant coach after graduating, and followed Williams to UNC 11 years ago, where he has functioned as an assistant ever since.  What better place (in our eyes, at least) for McGrath to begin his head coaching career than under former UNC administrator Creech at the University of Maine?

Tom Ostrom, Dayton Assistant Coach: Whenever a school makes an unexpectedly deep run in the NCAA tournament, as the Dayton Flyers did this year, it seems their entire coaching staff becomes up for grabs.  The head coach is seen as a leading candidate for the same job at bigger schools, while his assistants’ names get tossed in other head coach vacancy discussions.  Such is the case with Ostrom, who gained national attention during the Flyers’ Elite Eight run last month.  Ostrom is best known for being a superior recruiter while on staff at Arkansas and Florida prior to joining the Dayton coaching staff in 2011.  We also know he’s not averse to the cold weather nor the idea of being at a hockey school, as Ostrom is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.

T.J. Sorrentine, Brown Associate Head Coach: Does that name ring a bell?  Well, it should, particularly in America East circles.  Sorrentine, along with Taylor Coppenrath, led the University of Vermont to an NCAA tournament victory over national power Syracuse in 2005.  Since his playing days, Sorrentine has established himself as a top-level assistant at Brown, where he joined the coaching staff in 2008 and was named Associate Head Coach in 2011.  With ties to both New England and America East as well as interim head coaching experience after his former boss, Jesse Agel, was fired, Sorrentine would likely assimilate quite nicely in Orono.

Who do you think should succeed Ted Woodward as head coach of the University of Maine men’s basketball team?  Leave your recommendations in the comments section below and join the conversation on Twitter using #FillTheSteins!


Photo courtesy www.goblackbears.com 

5 Responses to “ After Ted Woodward ”

  1. Interesting and intriguing group of possibilities!

  2. take a look at steve curran at st. Bonaventure. he has great ties to the new England prep league.

  3. I agree with Brian 100%. We need to find that next up and coming coach who will likely leave after 5-6 years. Thus, making UMaine an attractive destination for that next coach to do the same thing and you never know, one of those guys may like it so much that they forego a promotion for a couple of years and they may stay and have a successful 7 or 8 year run a la Joanne Polumbo.

  4. Al Skinner would be perfect….what's he doing as an assistant at Bryant anyway?

  5. Why would Al Skinner be perfect, in your opinion? We don't think a power conference retread/reject is the way to go…

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