November 11, 2012; Louisville, KY, USA; Manhattan Jaspers head coach Steve Masiello reacts during the second half against the Louisville Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville defeated Manhattan 79-51. Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Masiello – Manhattan Jaspers
Masiello is only 36 years old and played as a walk-on with Kentucky in the late 90’s. Like Amaker, he makes sense as someone who has high-pedigree and could easily get the fan base on board. Unlike Amaker, he could probably be sold on the Cougars’ salary option without blinking. One asst. coaching stint plays particularly beautifully; 2005-2011 at Louisville. Granted, they aren’t the team they are today, but they have always been among the top-25.
A couple things that stand out about Masiello as a first-time head coach are that he took over a 6-win program and went 21-13 his first year. Last year the Jaspers struggled mightily with youth and depth, falling to a losing record but then he’s turned it back around this season with a 25-7 record and that trip to the Dance. Bill Moos really likes the thought of WSU in the postseason 3 out of 5 years, so the ability to rekindle the fire is necessary, and something that it seems Masiello has proof of.
Masiello’s team is probably going to be taken down in the first round by the defending champs (Louisville), so Moos could talk to him this weekend. Still, a 13-seed for a team that hasn’t been to the tourney in a decade is admirable and WSU has far more resources than does Manhattan. Money in this case is an easy sell and we already know Moos will go far East to pull a coaching hire off.