WSU Basketball: 5 NCAA Tournament and NIT Coaches to Keep an Eye On as Bill Moos Searches for Winners

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Jan 8, 2014; Storrs, CT, USA; Harvard Crimson head coach Tommy Amaker watches from the sideline as they take on the Connecticut Huskies in the first half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Tommie Amaker – Harvard Crimson

The 48 year-old Amaker is perhaps my favorite idea as far as replacements you wouldn’t ever think of, but it’s also probably the most far-reaching of any I’ll bring to the table today. Still, it’s right up Moos’ alley as far as outside-the-box but still within realism thinking so I’ll bring forward the argument.

Any former Duke star would draw a good following on the Palouse, but Amaker is particularly hot right now as a coach for a program that he brought out of the depths and is now making annual trips to the NCAA’s. He’s coached under Coach K at Duke then moved on to Seton Hall and Michigan as well for head coaching stints but obviously with the current success is probably a little more comfortable outside of a big media limelight.

Under his guidance Harvard struggled for two seasons (mostly because they were simply terrible when he took over). But then he broke through with some overachieving recruiting (notably one Jeremy Lin) and ultimately brought the program their first ever Ivy League championship in 2011 while winning Ivy League Coach of the Year, then took them to their first ever NCAA Tournament victory last season.

Harvard has won 21, 23 and 26 games the past three seasons and last year beat 3-seed New Mexico before falling to Arizona in the round of 32. This year they moved up to draw a 12-seed and will face 5-seed Cincinnati to open it up. With Michigan State probably waiting in round two if they advance, chances again are that Moos could have that brunch set up for early next week. The problem with Amaker is that he’s already been offered a humongous raise (in 2011 Miami (FL) went after him) but secured a position at Harvard Medical for his wife and said he was “proud to represent Harvard” in shunning the Canes. Also, he wouldn’t make that much more at WSU as of right now, if the prognosis of about $1 mil available is correct (and it is). He makes $700,000 with some serious Harvard perks.