Check out the discussion below as we go over "dream coach," "most realistic target" and "who Wake's next coach will be." Will Wake #GetSmart ?
Shaka Smart. Shaka’s Havoc defense would install an exciting style of play on that end to a Wake fan base who hasn’t seen too many bright spots over the past few years. Smart would instantly be the best hire Wake has ever had and I think he would stay here for a long time.
Shaka Smart has the charisma and basketball-wit to make diehard fans out of apathetic students and unite disenfranchised Deac fans from the B-word era. The cherubic Smart recruits, gets the most out of his players and has a smile worth $3+ million/year. He showed that he isn't scared of the top dogs with his rebuttal after Coach K took shots at the Atlantic-10. Get. Your. Checkbooks. Ready. Please.
Shaka Smart. I don't think I need to explain this decision to anyone. Shaka is basically every beleaguered program's dream coach right now. Young, energetic, seems to really connect with players, good track record, been to a Final Four...I think that says enough.
Gotta be Shaka for all the reasons that the other guys will mention. He should be the dream coach for everybody on here. Phenomenal motivator, has his own brand, is young and in tune with collegiate players, extremely likable. I could go on and on, but I see no reason why Wake Forest should not throw absurds amount of money towards Smart.
If we're truly talking "dream," then I'll go ahead and take Brad Stevens because I think he is arguably the best basketball mind on the planet. That said, I have a better chance of going out with Kate Upton this Friday night than Wake has of landing Brad Stevens as its next head coach.
My dream college basketball coach is Jay Wright from Villanova. Wright has been at Nova since 2001 and has made the post-season numerous times, including two Sweet Sixteens (2005 and 2008), an Elite Eight (2006) and a Final Four (2009). Wright's teams are usually stacked with talent with names such as, Scottie Reynolds, Allan Ray, Randy Foye, Kyle Lowry, Jason Fraser, Dante Cunningham, and most recently James Bell. His teams tend to very efficient on offense and defense, including his current team which is in the top 20 in both categories.
Wright is only 52 years old and his best years are ahead of him, he also graduated from Bucknell and looks like freakin George Clooney. Wright is married to a former Villanova cheerleader and seems to be well compensated and content at Nova. After the 2006 season he was given a 7 year extension. There has been evidence that he been locked in further, but the details are unknown. However, the recent conference re-alignment may force him to look for a better conference situation. I think Wake is beyond a long shot, but you can't land a guy if you don't send him an offer.
Best Realistic Candidate
Again I think Shaka is the answer for this one. I don’t see why Shaka wouldn’t be interested in Wake Forest if he is in fact willing to move on from VCU. Although there are some rumors out there about Shaka going to Marquette, I think if he moves somewhere he will move to Winston-Salem.
While March Madness has put Archie Miller's coaching prowess on a pedestal, he has been a pesky, defensive-oriented coach for three years. He was a lead assistant with his brother, Arizona's head coach Sean Miller and is renowned for his recruiting skills. Still only 35 years old, he is known as an eloquent speaker and good motivator. While he agreed to a contract extension with Dayton through 2018-2019 (terms were not released), that hasn't stopped coaches from moving to larger conferences in the past (Steve Alford, cough cough).
If you ask me, Archie Miller. Young up and comer, good track record so far, success in tournament play, doesn't coach in a terrible league. Admittedly, he doesn't have the amount of a track record of an Amaker or a Howland which could be a blessing or a curse. He could be an under the radar legend, or he could be coaching above his pay grade right now. Either way, it'll be a bit of a gamble, but I'd sooner take that gamble than the one I'm about to talk about.
Chris Mack is a very good, realistic target. I like him over Howland for a few reasons: he knows Wake Forest well, knows the ACC well, is younger and knows how to utilize social media effectively, and has a tie into the community as a whole. While I would certainly take Smart over him, I think the only negative is that he is part of the Prosser coaching tree. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I want a clean break. Aside from that, Mack makes a lot of sense.
Call me crazy or a homer, but I think there is a legitimate chance that Shaka Smart is Wake Forest's next head basketball coach. We're the best job available and play in the best basketball conference. If Shaka is going to move, I think he'd be wise to move now.
Obviously "realisitic" is a subjective term. Though I would slightly prefer Gregg Marshall and Shaka Smart, I would put those two in the "possible" category. With that said, Ben Howland would be my "realistic" target. If you would have said Ben Howland would be a realistic target for Wake Forest 5 years ago people would have laughed in your face. Howland took UCLA to 3 straight Final Fours from 2005-2008. He won numerous PAC 10 regular season and conference tournament titles. Howland is also an excellent recuiter bringing in big names like Kevin Love, Aaron Affalo, Darren Collison, Jordan Farmar and Shabazz Muhammad. He has also shown the ability to find and develop underrated talent such as Russell Westbrook. Howland's teams are known for their top notch defense and their ability to score inside the paint. I believe Howland has all the pieces he needs to take Wake Forest to the post season the next 2 years, and also recruit the local talent in the 2016 class.
Who We Get
I honestly believe that Wake will be a big hire here and will hand Shaka. Smart decides to jump ship to a school that is small, based around academics, and has a tight-knight community. The Deacons would welcome Shaka with open arms.
Who We Get: Chris Mack looks and feels like the classic Ron Wellman pick. He has SAFE written all over him. He has five years of experience as a mid-major head coach with four NCAA berths. Mack is familiar with Wake Forest, serving as an assistant under Skip Prosser. He is a strong recruiter and known to relate well to his players. Hey, he's even from OHIO!!! While he might not be the eye-popping name or personality that Wake fans desire, Wake could do far worse than Chris Mack.
We'll see what happens but I think we'll get Amaker, and certainly be better off, but still left with some question marks/displeased fans, which is...not ideal.
I am with Bart. I think we get Shaka. We have the money, we have the passion, and Ron Wellman knows that this is an absolute "do or die" coaching hire as far as his legacy goes. I think we throw 2.5-3 million at him (we can make that money up in no time with gate receipts and donations), and the Wake fan base gets who they want all along---SHAKA SMART!
Shaka Smart. Perhaps more heart than head, but we're a small liberal arts school like his alma mater Kenyon. We can offer his wife a teaching job at an elite school, will be playing in the best basketball conference, are investing $40M into our basketball arena, are building a $30M sports performance center and have a fan base begging for success.
In the end I think the hire will be made the first week of April. I think the most realistic hires are Ben Howland and Archie Miller. Both would be excellent hires, but I think Howland would be able to make an impact sooner. I will also say I have both guys in my top 5 list of candidates (1. Marshall, 2. Smart, 3. Howland, 4. Miller, 5. Masiello). In the end I think Ben Howland is the guy.