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May 6th, 2015

9 Candidates For Billy Donovan’s Old Job


It’s been six days since Billy Donovan left Gainesville for Oklahoma City and University of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley hasn’t spoken to a single candidate. He is in no rush to replace Donovan, it seems. Yesterday Foley said, “The key would be to have something in place I would think sometime in June.”

With that timetable in mind, I think there are still plenty of options for Foley and Florida, though he can’t wait too much longer to begin the process. The Shaka Smarts and Gregg Marshalls are no longer available, but a home run hire is still out there if Foley gets to work on this search soon. The hire can wait till June; the search cannot.

So in order to assist Foley with the undoubtedly tough task of replacing Donovan, a two-time NCAA champion, I would like to suggest nine candidates I believe Foley should consider. Will they pick up where Billy D left off? I don’t know. But they’re all deserving of a look, for various reasons.


Tennessee v Florida

Archie Miller, Dayton

Maybe the most popular name in the list of potential Donovan successors, Archie Miller is believed to be the leading target for the Florida head coaching job. The younger brother of Arizona’s Sean Miller, Archie Miller has been very successful at Dayton, where he’s the led the Flyers to an Elite Eight and a Sweet 16 in only four seasons. called Miller, “far and away the best candidate for the job.”

At only 36 years old, he is one of the hottest young coaches in the game.


Richard Pitino, Minnesota

One of three former/current Florida assistants on this list, Richard Pitino is a solid option because he’s not so different than the Billy Donovan that Florida hired in 1996. Like Donovan, Pitino coached under Rick Pitino, his father, and he has only two seasons of head coaching experience under his belt. Though two years older than Donovan when he took over at Florida, Pitino is still very young at 32 years old.

Pitino was an assistant under Donovan on the Gators’ sideline from 2009 to 2011. He was outstanding in those two seasons, if you’re grading him on leaking Eric Bledsoe’s transcripts to media. By that criteria, Richard Pitino was the Coach of the Year. Because he did that. Dick.


Chris Mack, Xavier

Xavier’s Chris Mack is probably due for a bigger job and Florida could very well be that job, without having to break the bank to get him. Mack has been to the Sweet 16 in three of his six seasons at a school that has been a hotbed for college coaches.

Before Mack, Xavier was coached by Sean Miller, Thad Matta, Skip Prosser and Pete Gillen, all of whom went on to have success at other programs.

It could be time he becomes the fifth to move on for new success.

Anthony Grant, Florida

Very rarely is it a good idea to hire a coach who was just fired by a school in the same conference, but very rarely does a coach wear a suit so well. And Anthony Grant wears a suit well.

Grant, who was fired by Alabama this past season, is back in Florida as an assistant coach for next season. He had hoped to coach under Donovan once again, as he did for 12 seasons at Marshall and at Florida, but with Donovan gone, he may be an option to step in and fill his mentor’s shoes.

He was a hot name before underachieving at Alabama.

Jon Pelphrey, Florida

Like Grant, John Pelphrey has spent time a considerable amount of time on Florida’s bench under Donovan. He’s been in Gainesville since 2011, plus another stint from 1996 to 2002, so he knows as well as anyone what it’s like to run that program and just how large of shoes he will have to fill.

If Foley chooses to stick with Donovan’s tree, Pelphrey is likely the first pick.


Will Muschamp, Auburn

Because let’s be honest, we didn’t get enough Angry Will Muschamp in his short run as Florida’s football coach.

Furthermore, if Florida wants to contend with Kentucky in the SEC East, it will help to have a guy who has proven his team can put points on the board after the clock hits zero. That’s what it takes to beat Kentucky, right Wisconsin? Muschamp’s Gators did it last fall on the gridiron and then the Badgers took the same page out of his playbook late in the Final Four game.


Eddie Munster, The Munsters

At first glance, it’ll be like Billy Donovan never left.

I can’t speak for his coaching philosophy, however.

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No One, Get Rid Of The Program

I mean, would anyone in Gainesville really care? It seems the basketball program has been one big inconvenience at Florida, where it’s all football and great weather and the invention of Gatorade. The athletic department could save a ton of money by shutting the doors on the basketball program, money that can be used once they need a new head football coach in two years.

It’s not the worst idea.


Tom Crean, Indiana

Sure, Crean has been absolute garbage at Indiana, but this is the play. The SEC needs Tom Crean because Kentucky fans need more of him in our lives. The IU series is over and we don’t watch Big Ten games, so we only see him when his face goes viral on Twitter or he loses to Northwestern — which is kind of often, actually.

Make the hire, Florida. Get Crean closer to BBN.

And with that…

KSR’s Pick: Tom Crean


There will be three new bowls this season

You know what college football needs? More bowl games. Yesterday, the NCAA certified three new bowl games, bringing the total number of postseason games to 42. FORTY TWO! In the past two years alone, eight new bowls have been added.

The three new bowls will start this year and will be hosted in Austin, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; and Orlando, Florida. So far, they don’t have sponsors, but the Austin bowl will feature a matchup between teams from the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt and the Tucson and Orlando bowls will both feature matchups between teams from Conference USA and the Mountain West.

None of this really affects UK except in that it makes me even more desperate for the Cats to go bowling this season.

How old does the #HowOldRobot think John Calipari is?

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It’s no secret that John Calipari has aged A LOT over his six-year tenure at Kentucky, something Cal jokes about pretty often. If you’ve been on the internet this past week, you’ve probably played with the #HowOldRobot on the website, which predicts a person’s age based on a photo.

The gang at Campus Insiders decided to have a little fun with the tool and see how old it thinks John Calipari is. The results probably won’t surprise you:

It’s okay, Cal. The tool also thinks Rick Pitino looks 85 years old:


Chad Ford discusses Dakari Johnson’s ceiling


Since Dakari Johnson announced he was declaring for the draft, many have questioned how much he could have improved his draft stock by returning to school. Over the past two years, Dakari has slimmed down considerably, but you could argue there’s not much he can do to improve his vertical or handwork. In his weekly chat today, ESPN NBA guru Chad Ford was asked about Dakari’s ceiling at the next level:

Every scout I’ve spoken with sees him as a back-up. But back-up centers are very valuable in the NBA and could get him drafted in the 20s. Remember, this isn’t the NFL draft. Most first round picks, especially those outside the lottery, are rotation players at best.

If Dakari gets drafted in the 20’s, how could you argue that he made a bad decision by going?

Ford says he believes Andrew will be the better twin at the next level and Willie really needs to nail his interviews to keep his stock high. For more details, head on over to the Worldwide Leader.


Got plans tonight? Support the baseball team vs. Louisville in the #AbeOut

It’s a beautiful day in the Bluegrass, and what better way to enjoy the weather than a night at the ballpark? Kentucky takes on Louisville in what the program is dubbing an #AbeOut. (If that promotion sounds familiar, it’s because the UK men’s soccer team has used it in the past.)

Need more incentive? There are $1 hotdogs until the first pitch and the first 1,000 fans get a free #AbeOut t-shirt. The game starts at 6:30 p.m.

Stoops says Bud Dupree is proof UK can develop NFL-caliber players


Thursday night was a huge night for Bud Dupree, but it was also a huge night for the Kentucky football program. On today’s teleconference with Pittsburgh and UK media, Mark Stoops said Bud’s first round selection is proof UK can develop NFL-caliber players.

“I think it’s important for our program. It does nothing but help in exposure. Seeing him selected on TV, draft night, was big for us and our program. If anything, it’s helping prove the developmental phase of our program and what we’re trying to do, so we’re very proud of that.”

In fact, Stoops said Bud and Za’Darius Smith are just the latest in a long line of defensive linemen he and his staff have developed over the years, something they’re using on the recruiting trail.

“I don’t think it’s the first thing that comes out of your mouth, but of course it comes up with the success that we’ve had prior to coming to Kentucky in the great string of linemen we had at Florida State and we’re proud to continue that at Kentucky in Bud and Za’Darius getting drafted.”

From here, Stoops said “the sky’s the limit for Bud,” especially since he can now just focus on one position in Pittsburgh.

“He has been extremely unselfish and really did whatever we asked for the team,” Stoops said. “If we just left him in a 4-3 and let him rush the passer and be a 4-3 defensive end, you’d see his numbers go through the roof with sacks, but he did a lot of things with us and he was very versatile.”

Tony Neely added that Bud will receive his bachelors degree in community and leadership development on Saturday. What an awesome time for him.

EJ Floreal shows off the 2015-2016 Kentucky Wildcats

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EJ Floreal posted this edit by @ukwildcat_forever on Instagram today with the caption “Excited for the future #BBN.”

It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but me too, EJ.

Bud Dupree’s got a new ride



Mark Stoops is talking about Bud on a teleconference right now, so we’ll pass along any interesting quotes as they come along.

Campus Insiders comes up with nicknames for Tyler, Skal, and Alex

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Everyone and their grandmother has an opinion about Willie Cauley-Stein changing his name to Willie Trill Cauley-Stein, but it’s opened a debate about what middle names the rest of the roster should have. Campus Insiders’ Jordan Cornette gave it his best shot in this short video on Twitter:

What do you think? “Big Blue Haitian” is pretty great for Skal, but Alex’s nickname will always be “Roar” to me.

UK Hoops suspends Makayla Epps

NCAA Womens Basketball: Baylor at Kentucky

And now for some unfortunate news. According to WKYT’s Steve Moss, UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell has suspended star guard Makayla Epps from the team indefinitely. Last week, Epps pleaded not guilty to several alcohol-related charges in Marion County District Court, including possession of alcohol by a minor and having an open container in a motor vehicle.

Mitchell says Epps is banned from all team activities and will only be allowed back on the team when she has met his and the team’s goals. From there, she’s looking at at least a one-game suspension.

Derek Willis’ high school coach says Derek can be UK’s x-factor…if he works hard


The one glaring spot on UK’s roster right now is a big wing player. With no Jaylen Brown and various back-up options hovering on the horizon, it sure would be nice if a player on the current roster would step up and fill that void. Last year in the Bahamas, it looked like Derek Willis was ready to accept the challenge. After sitting behind two platoons, Derek will now have his shot, and his high school coach Troy Barr told’s Chris Fisher he thinks Derek is ready…but he’ll have to work for it.

“I think Derek is ready,” Barr told Tuesday. “He knows he can be a difference maker. He can make them a top five team if he plays well.”


The staff gave Derek a chance to assert himself in that platoons early last season, but even Derek admitted he had “fallen out with the game” and wasn’t putting in enough effort. With one more big chance ahead of him, Barr says it’s time.

“I think he’s got to amp up his work ethic. That’s the number one thing. If he does that, he’ll be a major contributor. He’s talented enough that if he puts in the work, people are going to be really happy with how he plays next year.”

Interesting stuff here, so go check it out on



Donte Rumph invited to Giants minicamp

About a week ago, we told you about Donte Rumph, the former Kentucky defensive tackle who is camping out outside the Atlanta Falcons practice facility in what he calls the “Tent of Faith.” Rumph was cut by the Falcons last year and due to snafus with several agents, wasn’t able to get back on another roster even though teams were interested. The Tent of Faith isn’t a stunt–Rumph and his wife are currently homeless–but he hopes it will inspire others to never give up on their dreams.

Over the past week, Rumph tried out for the New York Jets, but wasn’t offered a contract, and also had an offer to try out for the Oakland Raiders. Now, the New York Giants are giving him a shot at their Rookie Mini-Camp this weekend. Dozens of players will be there and only a few might get contracts, but best of luck to Rumph. We’re all rooting for you.

In case you missed it last week, here’s the video Rumph made explaining his mission:

Miss the GOP Gubernatorial Debate? Here’s the podcast

It was an interesting morning on KSR today as Matt moderated a GOP Gubernatorial Debate with Matt Bevin, James Comer, Hal Heiner, and Will T. Scott. The streaming numbers were THROUGH THE ROOF–four times as many people listened to this than listened to the Kentucky Derby. Dang, y’all.

I’ve already shared the candidates’ preferences on Rick Pitino and John Calipari, but here are some quick highlights of the rest of it:

— A few days ago, the Courier-Journal published some major allegations against James Comer, which Comer has vehemently denied. When asked, Comer said he’s working with a lawyer to take legal action against the Courier-Journal for the story. Comer accused the Heiner campaign of being behind the story, which Heiner denied.

— Although Bevin, Scott, and Heiner said they don’t think the allegations against Comer should disqualify him from the race, Bevin dropped a big bomb, claiming that Heiner told him he knew things about Comer that were dirty a year ago. Of course, Heiner said Bevin was making that up. Bevin added that Heiner’s campaign is made up of the “surliest and sorriest” types of people.

— From there, things got pretty tense, with Comer and Heiner in full attack mode. Comer went as far to call Heiner the “Christian Laettner of Kentucky politics,” a pretty heavy blow to an audience of Kentucky sports fans.

Did you miss it? Here’s the podcast:

Candidates split on whether they’d hire Pitino or Calipari

The KSR GOP Gubernatorial Debate rolls on, and we may have just heard the toughest question. Matt asked all four candidates which coach they’d hire: Rick Pitino or John Calipari. Their responses? Split down the middle, two for Rick and two for Cal.

Both Hal Heiner and Matt Bevin said they’d hire Rick Pitino. “Pitino is the better coach with players, Calipari is the better recruiter,” Bevin said.

James Comer and Will T. Scott said they’d hire John Calipari. Comer is wearing a UK tie today, but Matt wasn’t going to be fooled, and quipped “But aren’t you a longtime Cards fan?” after his answer.

The debate continues on

KSR’s GOP Governor’s Debate is finally here (Wednesday Show Thread)

Good morning, boys and girls, and welcome to the DEBATE DAY edition of Kentucky Sports Radio. The four leading Republican candidates for governor–Matt Bevin, James Comer, Hal Heiner, and Will T. Scott–have made their way to the Louisville studios for this morning’s debate, and brought a few of their media friends with them.

There’s definitely a different air around today’s show, but have no fear: we’ll still do things in the most ridiculous manner…for the most part. The debate will only last the first hour. In the second, the guys will get back to doing their thing.

Join in on the fun by calling (502) 571-1080.

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