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Coaching Candidates - Who's Out There?

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Now that both Springfield and Portland have hired their inaugural coaches, I thought I'd take a look at who the remaining candidates are - there are still two (or three?) teams without a coach after all.* This probably isn't a comprehensive list - I had no idea that Austin Ainge or Dee Brown were candidates for their respective jobs, for instance, and yet there they are - but this is a collection of guys who have gotten or should get interviews in Bakersfield and Idaho (and perhaps Rio Grande Valley)

* "or three" because I'm still not sure whether the Rockets will want Clay Moser to stay on as head coach of the Vipers or look elsewhere.

Deane Martin (former Baskerfield and Dakota assistant, has also worked for Milwaukee Bucks) - We know that Martin interviewed for the Wizards job, and he's worked for both Duane Ticknor and Scott Roth, so the pedigree is there. As a former Bakersfield assistant, though, one would think that he would have that head coaching job by now if the team was interested. They've had other thing on their mind, but still. Maybe Idaho?

Mike Sanders (former CBA head coach, NBA assistant coach and player, D-League front-office guy, USBL and IBL head coach) - Sanders has a lot going for him, with a wide variety of experience and a strong degree of familiarity with minor league basketball, as well as credibility as a guy who lasted in the NBA for a while. Not to mention his work as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats. Unfortunately neither of those teams are affiliated with either Idaho or Bakersfield, otherwise he'd probably be a shoo-in. Still, there's a lot to like about Sanders' resume.

Paul Woolpert (former Tulsa head coach, also former head coach in CBA) - Woolpert won multiple championships in the CBA, though his work with the 66ers last season was rather less than stellar, though injuries had a hand in that, and there are some questions as to his temperament. He's unquestionably a talented coach, though, and a team could do a lot worse.

Randy Livingston (Idaho assistant, former NBA and D-League player) - Livingston has been thought of as an up-and-comer, though his situation is somewhat analogous to Martin's in that, as an assistant with the Stampede, the fact that they haven't hired him as a head coach yet means the odds get longer by the day that it will happen this year. At the same time, though, how many D-League coaches have their own day?

Bob MacKinnon (former Colorado head coach, also a former head coach in the NBA and ABA) - MacKinnon led the Colorado 14ers to the D-League championship last year, and while that normally would've pushed him to the top of this list, one can't help but think that he would've been hired by now if he was going to get a D-League job for next season, especially since he used to coach the New Jersey Nets, who are affiliated with the new Springfield team. Idaho is now affiliated with the Denver Nuggets, so perhaps they'll look at MacKinnon for continuity there, but another possibility is MacKinnon resurfacing with the new incarnation of the 14ers in Frisco

Jeff Ruland (current Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach , former Albuquerque head coach, former NBA player, former college head coach) - I have no idea if ruland is interested in leaving the NBA bench, though he might be for a head coaching opportunity. Ruland did pretty well at Iona, winning three conference championships, and in Philadelphia his main job has been working with big men, something that might come in handy with Kurt Looby in Rio Grande Valley should that job come open.

Rod Baker (PBL coach, former ABA and CBA head coach, former college head and assistant coach) - Baker's kind of an "off-the-radar" candidate, in that he has no D-League experience, but he's won both the PBL championship and coach of the year honors the past two seasons. He also won that honor along with the championship in the ABA a few years ago. He might need some time to adjust to the D-League's quirks, but Baker is clearly a top minor league basketball coach.

Bob Thornton (former D-League assistant, former assistant coach and NBA player) - Thornton is a multiple-time finalist for a head coaching gig with the Dakota Wizards and recently has worked as an advance scout for the Oklahoma City Thunder. It may be worth wondering why he's been a finalist but never "the guy," but the fact that he keeps getting head coaching consideration should speak in his favor.

Paul Mokeski (D-League assistant, former NBA assistant, former CBA and ABA coach, former NBA player) - Yes, that Paul Mokeski. Mokeski's coaching career has been tied to Sam Vincent in a few places, and that didn't work out so well, but the experience is there and the trend seems to be towards former players.

Casey Owens (former CBA head coach, former NBA and D-League assistant) - Owens won the CBA championship with the Dakota Wizards, and he was the video coordinator for the Chicago Bulls under Scott Skiles, so he knows what to look for with players. I have no idea if Owens has been interviewed for any of these openings, but he'd be an interesting candidate.