Chuck Landon: Marshall's next coach may be one of these six
Who will be hired as Marshall's next head basketball coach?
That is the $400,000 question.
I am speculating that it could be one of six candidates who are expected to get interviews at the Final Four this weekend in Dallas.
Brad Underwood, Stephen F. Austin: The first-year coach made quite the inaugural splash. Besides leading the Lumberjacks to a 32-3 record, Underwood pulled an NCAA Tournament upset by defeating Shaka Smart's VCU squad, 77-75 in overtime.
Pretty impressive, huh?
A native of McPherson, Kansas, Underwood coached under Frank Martin at both Kansas State and South Carolina. He played for K-State, graduating in 1986.
It also doesn't hurt his chances that Stephen F. Austin defeated Marshall in overtime, 80-73, last season.
Jeff Neubauer, Eastern Kentucky: The 43-year-old would be a popular choice. During his nine seasons as the Colonels' head coach, Neubauer has led EKU to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and four 20-win seasons.
Eastern Kentucky posted consecutive records of 25-10 and 24-10 during the last two seasons. In the ongoing 2014 NCAAs, the Colonels played Kansas on even terms before losing, 80-69.
Neubauer is a disciple of Michigan coach John Beilein. He served as Beilein's assistant at WVU (2002-05) before taking the Eastern Kentucky job. His overall record with the Colonels is 167-122.
LaVelle Moton, North Carolina Central: He had quite a run with the Eagles in 2013-14. Besides winning the MEAC tournament and advancing to the NCAAs, Moton led N.C. Central to wins over North Carolina State, 82-72 overtime, and Old Dominion, 76-69 overtime.
Then in the NCAA Tournament, N.C. Central lost to Iowa State, 93-75.
Moton, 39, is a native of Boston, Mass.
Andrew Toole, Robert Morris: He is quite the phenom. Although Toole, 33, is the sixth youngest head coach in Division I basketball, he has led the Colonials to three consecutive 20-win seasons during his four-year tenure -- 26-11, 24-11 and 22-14 in 2013-14.
Toole, who played at Elon before transferring to Penn, is a native of Staten Island, N.Y.
If Toole's name seems vaguely familiar locally, it's because his claim to fame is upsetting the Kentucky Wildcats, 59-57, in the first round of the 2013 NIT.
Saul Phillips, North Dakota State: Spotting a trend?
Here's another guy on a roll, whose team was impressive in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. I mean, who wasn't pulling for unsung North Dakota State during a stunning overtime win over Oklahoma, 80-75?
Although the Bison fell to San Diego State, 63-44, in the next round that didn't diminish the 41-year-old Phillips' performance. He has coached North Dakota State to consecutive records of 24-10 and 26-7.
Besides all that, what's not to like about Phillips from a Marshall stand-point? After all, he coaches a green-clad team whose nickname is the Bison.
Murry Bartow, East Tennessee State: Talk about a veteran. Bartow has been a Division I head coach for 17 straight years with, first, UAB and, now, ETSU.
He compiled a 103-83 record in six seasons at UAB, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1999. Then, Bartow led East Tennessee to three NCAAs in 2004, 2009 and 2010.
In 11 seasons, Bartow has a 208-151 record at ETSU.
I like Neubauer.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Email him at email@example.com.
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