Donnie Tyndall is reportedly set to leave Southern Miss for the top job at Tennessee, leaving the Golden Eagles to find a new men's basketball coach.
There is no obvious coach waiting in the wings to fill Tyndall's shoes, especially after top Tyndall assistant Wade O'Connor decided to give up coaching and move back north to be closer to his kids.
These names are very preliminary, and some will be familiar to USM fans:
* Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne - He is a Laurel native and regarded as one of the top recruiters in the nation. He was a top candidate for the Mississippi State job last time around.
* Eastern Kentucky coach Jeff Neubauer - This is a candidate who has an Ohio Valley Conference background much like Tyndall. He's a proven winner at EKU and he was considered a candidate for the job at South Florida not long ago.
* Wichita State assistant Greg Heiar - USM fans are familiar with him from his two years as an assistant at Southern Miss under former head coach Larry Eustachy. He's considered a top recruiter and he's part of a program that had an undefeated regular season.
* Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Bob Marlin - He's got a good thing going at ULL at the moment, so it may be a stretch to consider him a candidate coming off an NCAA Tournament at ULL. He was considered in the mix at one point after Eustachy left.
* Stephen F. Austin coach Brad Underwood - He's reportedly in the running at Marshall, and this guy is a winner. He's a former Kansas State assistant.
* Sam Houston State coach Jason Hooten - The Bearkats went 24-11 this season.
Familiar names that will have some buzz early on, but will have odds stacked against them:
* Southeastern Louisiana coach Jay Ladner - The former USM player just recently took the job at Southeastern Louisiana after leading Jones County Junior College to the junior college national championship.
* Former Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury - He won a lot of games at MSU, but I just don't see it. He has actively pursued jobs this year, but gained no traction in doing so.