Howland Among Candidates For Wake Job

Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik resigned on Thursday, meaning the Demon Deacons join Virginia Tech and Boston College as ACC teams going through coaching searches this offseason. Here are a few potential targets for the Wake Forest job.

Ben Howland

The former UCLA coach is looking to get back into coaching as soon as next year after being terminated this past offseason. He’s one of the top candidates for coaching vacancies across the nation, but Wake Forest is also one of the best available jobs, so it’s a natural fit in that way. Howland coached the Bruins from 2003-13 and compiled a 398-205 record, which included three consecutive Final Four trips from 2006-08. Howland was painted as an unpopular figure within the UCLA program in a Sports Illustrated article in 2012, which could give athletic director Ron Wellman some pause before pursuing Howland. Still, he’s one of the best coaches in the nation, and there are rumors that Howland has had his eyes on the Wake Forest job. 

Michael White

White is currently in his third season with Louisiana Tech, where he’s quickly built the Bulldogs into a winning program. He went 18-16 his first season, but he’s a combined 54-11 in the past two seasons with consecutive shares of the Conference USA regular-season championship. White is coaching Louisiana Tech in the NIT this postseason, where he just topped Iona in the first round. At age 37, he’s a young, energetic, inspiring coach who could breathe new life into a floundering Wake Forest program. He has ACC ties, as his father, Kevin White, is the athletic director at Duke. White, who also has a reputation as a good recruiter, is one of Wake Forest’s top candidates.

Tommy Amaker

Amaker’s name will be tied to pretty much any job opening in the country this year. We already wrote about him being the top candidate for the Boston College job. (Actually, most of the candidates for the BC job are applicable here, too). For all same reasons he would be a good fit at BC, he’d be a good hire for Wake Forest. While his only stint at a major program (Michigan) was far from prosperous, he’s done a tremendous job bouncing back at Harvard. 

Archie Miller

The former N.C. State guard knows this area from his playing days and two seasons as an assistant for the Wolfpack from 2004-06. He’s 61-37 in three seasons at Dayton, and he just led the Flyers to a first-round upset of Ohio State. If his older brother’s success at Arizona is any indication, Miller has a bright future as a college basketball coach.

LeVelle Moton

If you’re Wellman, you at least place a phone call to Moton, right? The North Carolina Central coach is one of the most beloved college basketball figures in North Carolina. He led the Eagles to a 28-5 record this season, which included a win at N.C. State, and he has NC Central in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. He’s probably a little too inexperienced for the Wake Forest job now, but the Demon Deacons could pick a lot worse people to hitch their wagons to.

Danny Manning

Manning has Tulsa in the NCAA Tournament in his second year at the helm. The former Kansas star only has two years at Tulsa as the extent of his head coaching experience, but he was previously a top assistant at Kansas from 2003-12. He comes from the Bill Self coaching tree, and he’s had early success at Tulsa, so he’s a strong candidate. He also projects as a star recruiter.

Gregg Marshall

Marshall is the No. 1 guy Wake Forest fans hope to get. But it would take a whole lot of money and heck of a recruiting pitch to get him to leave Wichita State. For now, we’re going to say Marshall to Wake Forest is highly improbable.