In one season as the head coach at Marist Jeff Bower put together a record of 12-19 (9-11 MAAC), increasing the program’s conference win total by three games from the season prior. And with leading scorers Chavaughn Lewis and Khalid Hart returning, the Red Foxes may be able to take another step forward in 2014-15.
However, the Marist program may have to attempt to do so without its head coach. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, new Detroit Pistons president and head coach Stan Van Gundy is expected to hire Bower as his general manager. Bower has plenty of experience at the NBA level, including a seven-year stint as general manager in New Orleans, and he and Van Gundy have known each other since they were young college assistants.
Losing Bower, especially at this point in the offseason, would be a big loss for Marist to absorb. Marist will also have to account for the graduation of guard Jay Bowie and center Adam Kemp, who combined to average 22.2 points and 12.8 rebounds per game in 2013-14.
Marist did sign a five-member recruiting class for the 2014-15 season, a group that includes three front court players to help account for the loss of Kemp. But as is the case with any coaching change, the status of those recruits (and the players in line to return) will be dictated by who the school hires and how quickly that process is completed.
Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has had his fair share of NBA interest over the years.
The 59-year-old Izzo has made six Final Four appearances and won a national championship in 2000, so why wouldn’t The League be interested?
Izzo’s name has been linked to the Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason and it appears the Pistons were pretty serious in their pursuit of Michigan State’s longtime head coach.
According to a report from Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Pistons even put forth an offer to Izzo.
How serious was this offer, you ask?
The Detroit Pistons reportedly offered Izzo the same five-year, $35-million deal the team eventually gave to Stan Van Gundy to run and coach the team:
(Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders) kicked the tires — inquiring about their interest through conversations without formal interviews — on college coaches Tom Izzo and Fred Hoiberg as well as veteran NBA coach Stan Van Gundy, but discussions didn’t go beyond that.
(Izzo was offered the same five-year, $35 million offer to coach and run the Pistons that Van Gundy eventually accepted last week. Izzo also declined when Cleveland fired Mike Brown and called for the second time in four years. Hoiberg, too, appears content to remain in college coaching, at least for now.)
If Izzo really did turn down a $35 million offer to have complete control of the Detroit Pistons, then he must either really love Michigan State or must really not want to coach in Detroit.
With the Pistons coming off of back-to-back 29-53 seasons, they’re not exactly an attractive fit right now and for a first-time NBA coach and president of basketball operations like Izzo would have been, it would have been a very difficult turnaround.
Michigan State doesn’t play again until Friday night against Virginia in the Sweet 16 in New York City. However, its head coach was in the news on Tuesday afternoon.
A report surfaced that the Detroit Pistons were eyeing Tom Izzo as its new head coach after firing Maurice Cheeks during what is now a 26-44 season. Izzo was tempted by the NBA in 2010 when the Cleveland Cavaliers made a push to uproot Izzo from East Lansing. Izzo, in his 19th season as the head coach at Michigan State, went on SportsCenter on Tuesday to remind NBA executives that he is still happy as a college coach.
“I’ve always said I’d never say never to anything because you never know what it brings,” Izzo said. “But I got so much more work to do here. I have a great president, a great AD and a football coach that I really get along [with]. So this is a pretty good place for me right now. We’re in a pretty good spot. Program’s in pretty good shape.
“Ain’t broke, so why fix it?”
The Pistons are looking for their fifth head coach since 2008. Since Izzo took over the Michigan State program in 1995, Detroit has been through 10 different head coaches.
Izzo and his Spartans, the No. 4 seed in the East Region, take on top-seeded Virginia on Friday night inside Madison Square Garden. Tip is scheduled for 9:57 p.m.