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NMSU coaching search down to eight names per source

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- A source close to the University told ABC-7 that the search for an NMSU Men's Basketball head coach is now down to eight.

ABC-7 has compiled a list of eight names, in no particular order, based off of reports we've seen, people we've spoken to and who we think would be a good fit.

Keep in mind NMSU want a coach with Division 1 experience and success and someone who runs a clean ship.

1. Austin Claunch

Claunch is the current head coach at Nicholls State and has been there since 2018. The Colonels' won the regular season Southland title in both 2021 and 2022. The 33-year-old also won Southland Coach of the year in 2021 and has an overall record of 90-60. This past season the team went 16-14, 11-7 ad finished 4th in the conference.

Nicholls is his only head coaching job. He played for Emory from 2008-2012 before becoming a graduate assistant at Clemson from 2013-2015. From there he joined the staff of Nicholls State as an assistant before becoming the head coach.

2. Jason Hooten

Hooten is the head coach at Sam Houston and has been since 2010, prior to that he was an assistant with the bearkats from 2004. Hooten has an overall record of 260-168. He has helped the team to five 20-plus win seasons, including this season where the team is currently 25-7, 14-4 after beating Santa Clara in the first round of the NIT. It's the second time Hooten has taken the team to the NIT and the first time they've advanced past the third round.

The bearkats also went to the CIT four times under Hooten's reign and went as far as the semifinals in 2019, which is the same year they won the Southland Conference

The 53-year-old began his coaching career as an assistant at Tarleton State from 1993-2004, the same school he finished his playing career at in 1991.

3. Dedrique Taylor

Taylor is the current head coach at Cal State Fullerton and has been since 2013. In 2018 and 2022 they won the Big West tournament which saw the program go to the first round of the tournament. The Titans also went to the first round of the CIT in 2017 and 2019. The 48-year-old has an overall record of 141-161, including three 20 win seasons. One of which came, this past season when the Titans finished 20-13, 12-6 and 4th overall in the Big West.

Cal State Fullerton is Taylor's only head coaching job but he has more than 10 years of experience as an assistant and an associate head coach. Most recently at Arizona State where he was an assistant from 2006-2010, before becoming the associate head coach until 2013.

4. Bob Richey

Richey is the current head coach at Furman, a team who on Thursday knocked off Virginia in the first round of the tournament. This season they also won the Southern Conference regular season title and the tournament and right now sit at 28-7, 15-3 on the season.

Richey has been the head coach at Furman since 2017 and this is his first time taking a team to the tournament. In his six seasons at the helm the team has had five, 20 or more win seasons. In 2019 that saw them make it to the NIT. He has an overall record of 139-54.

Prior to Furman, the 39-year-old was an assistant at Charleston State from 2006-2011, before moving to Furman as an assistant from 2011-2017.

5. Preston Spradlin

Spradlin has been the head coach at Morehead State since 2016. In 2021 he took the Eagles to the tournament and this season they won the OVC regular season title and are playing in the NIT and have a current record of 22-11, 14-4. It is the third consecutive year the team has had a 20 or more win season. Spradlin has an overall record of 114-99 and was named coach of the OVC in both 2021 and 2023.

Spradlin was an assistant at Morehead State from 2014-2016, prior to that he was the director of operations at Kentucky from 2009-2014.

6. Kermit Davis

Davis has roughly 40 years of coaching experience, most recently with Ole Miss where he coached at from 2018-2023 before the two mutually agreed to part ways. The Rebels went 10-18, 2-13 this past season and finished 13th in the Southeastern Conference.

Davis has an overall record of 477-317, has been named coach of the year on four occasions in four different conferences, won seven regular season titles and six conference tournament titles. He has been to the NCAA tournament on six occasions, taking Middle Tennessee to the round of 32 on two occasions. Prior to Ole Miss, Davis coached at Middle Tennessee from 2002-2018.

7. Greg Lansing

Lansing was the head coach of Indiana State for 11 years before being let go in 2021, when his contract ended. In 2010 the team won the conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament. In the next three years, the team went to different postseason tournaments. His overall record as head coach was 181-164, he had just one 20 win season with the program.

Indiana State is his only head coaching job in Division 1 basketball, however he has more than another 10 years of coaching experience at the D1 level as an assistant or in an associate head coach role.

8. Dave Rice

Rice is the former head coach of UNLV who has taken the past two years off from coaching. He coached the Rebels from 2011 - 2016 and took the team to the NCAA tournament in those first two years. In his five seasons as head coach he had three 20-plus win seasons and had an overall record of 98-54. He retired on January 10th, 2016 when the team were struggling to win.

After UNLV he went to Nevada as an assistant from 2016-2017 and then to Washington as an assistant from 2017-2021 before taking a step back from coaching all together. Rice started his coaching career as a grad assistant at UNLV, his alma mater, in 1991.


NMSU are in the process of interviewing the above candidates but keep in mind that three of these coaches current teams are still playing. That not only makes it difficult to interview them but could also mean if their current teams keep winning they could become out of reach of NMSU.

In an ideal world ABC-7 believes NMSU would like to have their coach selected by next week.

As previously reported NMSU hired College Sports Solutions to help with a more thorough search.

Article Topic Follows: NMSU

Rachel Phillips

Rachel Phillips is the weekend sports anchor and reporter


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