Coaching carousel rumors

Top candidates in the running for vacant head-coaching positions

Updated: March 27, 2014, 11:47 PM ET
By Jeff Goodman | ESPN Insider

Shaka Smart, Ben Howland and Mike HopkinsGetty Images, USA TODAY SportsShaka Smart, Ben Howland and Mike Hopkins have all appeared in the rumor mill.

The college hoops coaching carousel is already spinning, with jobs opening up at several big programs. (And plenty of others have been filled already.) Jeff Goodman surveys the coaching scene to identify the top candidates for the most notable head-coaching vacancies around the country. The file will be updated as more jobs open up and as vacancies are filled.

Last update: March 27, 3:30 ET

The Big Openings

Marquette | Boston College | Wake Forest | Washington State


Marquette Golden Eagles

After Buzz Williams jumped to Virginia Tech, the big question is where Marquette goes to replace a coach who led the program to five NCAA tournament appearances in his six seasons.

Despite not having a permanent athletic director -- and finally hiring a full-time president earlier in the week -- the Golden Eagles took a swing at VCU's Shaka Smart.

Smart is a Wisconsin native, and Marquette has deep pockets. Sources told ESPN that the program, which was slated to pay Williams $3 million this season, was tossing around a figure in excess of that number to try and lure Smart -- who has declined several high-major gigs in the last few years.

Smart likewise took a pass on Marquette. When Marquette finally moves on, there are several candidates in play: Former UCLA coach Ben Howland is in the mix, as is Syracuse coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins, and former Marquette player and assistant Brian Wardle -- who is currently the head coach at Green Bay.

Remember, this is a program that hired a virtual unknown in Williams after Tom Crean left for Indiana -- and it paid off. There's also another mystery candidate, sources told ESPN, who is still playing in the NCAA tournament.