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Who could be the next Duke women's basketball head coach?

For the first time since 2007, a new coach will be roaming the sidelines for Duke women's basketball.
For the first time since 2007, a new coach will be roaming the sidelines for Duke women's basketball.

Who’s Next, the seminal Who album, describes the question in every Duke fan’s mind.

But with former head coach Joanne P. McCallie having resigned around a month before most players report to their campuses, the window to hire a head coach away from a smaller program may have closed. The Blue Devils aren’t an elite-tier program anymore, either, so no, Adia Barnes isn't going to leave Arizona. And Duke Athletic Director Kevin White hasn’t shown any predilection for internal hires during his tenure, so don’t go running out to bet on current assistants.

That being said, the facilities and the resources at Duke are second-to-none, and recruiting is far easier in Durham than Starkville, Miss., or Corvallis, Ore. And though there isn’t significant booster support, the athletics department has shown its willingness to put significant funds behind the team in the past.

Here’s who Duke might be looking at to get itself back to elite status:

Gail Goestenkors is not being considered because “the school wanted to…not look to the past,” according to an ESPN source. The report disclosed that Duke is using a search committee—smart choice—though the immediate exclusion of one of the more well-known candidates is a head-scratcher. Perhaps they’re confident in another, newer face to the program.

The favorites

Jennie Baranczyk, Drake head coach

Baranczyk has led her team to three conference titles in the past four years and a would-be four straight NCAA tournament bids, securing two Missouri Valley Conference and one Mid-Major Coach of the Year awards. Though Baranczyk might not even currently be the best coach in her own conference, Missouri State’s Amaka Agugua-Hamilton is only entering her second year, so the Drake head coach remains a top candidate.

Mark Campbell, Oregon associate head coach

What if I told you there was an associate head coach, defensive coordinator and lead recruiter who’s helped build two powerhouses and isn’t in line to succeed his current head coach? Campbell has seen both sides of the Oregon-Oregon State rivalry, and with a 2020-21 salary that’s at best one-sixth of what McCallie’s was going to be, his loyalties may not be hard to buy. You want a shot at building a title contender? You make Campbell an offer he can’t refuse.

Tina Langley, Rice head coach

Langley has rebuilt the Rice program in no time, leading to their best-ever four-year stretch, after having spent seven years as an assistant coach at powerhouse Maryland. There’s little known about her Power 5 ambitions, though.

Kelly Bond-White, Texas A&M associate head coach

Bond-White has been the associate head coach under legendary Gary Blair for over a decade. She’s known for helping recruiting efforts, and confirmed her interest in the Blue Devil opening to The Chronicle Saturday night, adding "that’s all [she] can say out of respect for Duke & Texas A&M."

Joy Smith, Clemson assistant coach

Smith is young, recently played at Duke (from 2006 to 2010) and is a highly-regarded assistant. The Maryland native checks a number of boxes, including coaching both wings and bigs and recruiting for four different schools, including Duke from 2011 to 2013. It’s hard to fault her for a lack of results at Clemson, a school with no basketball DNA that’s deep in a complete program build. But it does mean that you’re having to project her up to the next tier.

Lindsey Harding, Sacramento Kings player development coach

Harding has one of the better resumes of former Blue Devils; she started her career as a scout and player development coach for the Philadelphia 76ers, a team with a recent history of great development, and was a part of two years of great drafting before moving into a similar role with the Kings. It’s hard to say exactly how ready she’d be to coach and recruit at the DI level, but she’s overqualified for an assistant role.

The contenders

Katie Meier, Miami head coach

Meier is the highest caliber of coach that Duke could lure away. The title of “Miami women's basketball head coach” comes with a defined ceiling: third or fourth in the ACC. But a 15-year head coach rarely up-and-leaves a program right before the season, even for her alma mater. As a coach whose expertise lies more in on-court production, she’d be a change of pace for the Blue Devils, so White need only worry about an all-star recruiting staff if he can secure Meier.

Kevin McGuff, Ohio State head coach

McGuff has been one of the best recruiters in the nation, of both freshmen and transfers, throughout his career, and has consistently led teams to over-performance. He’s not as much of an elite basketball mind as other options, but there’s basically no candidate with a better mix of proven talent and top-tier results.

Kyra Elzy, Kentucky associate head coach

Elzy is one of the better recruiting assistants and development coaches at the Power 5 level and has a wealth of assistant coaching experience. Her recruiting prowess is more Kentucky-based than nationwide, however, and little is known about her current aspirations.

Alana Beard

Arguably the greatest Duke women's basketball player in program history plans to open opportunities for female athletes in venture capital, though she told The Chronicle Saturday afternoon that “Duke holds a special place in my heart and will be the only institution that would force me to re-evaluate my thoughts on coaching." While she noted that the search committee had not reached out to her at that time, there’s no doubt she would be a wonderful assistant coach with strong potential for head coaching.

The long shots

Ryan McCarthy, Alaska Anchorage head coach

The Anchorage native has recorded an .860 winning percentage at UAA, led by a "mayhem" strategy that has them punching well above their recruiting weight. He’s still at DII on his own terms, having said “I haven’t seen a [DI administration] where they care about the women’s team like they do [at UAA].” Failure to entice him may say more about Duke than McCarthy.

Vanessa Blair-Lewis, Bethune-Cookman head coach

Blair-Lewis took her program worst-to-first while being lauded for her interpersonal relationships. This would be an out-of-the-box hire, but her accomplishments are frankly more impressive than Langley’s or Baranczyk’s.

Al Brown, former Duke assistant coach

It's a complete shot in the dark, but if you’re looking for high-level coaching on short notice, consider recent Assistant Coaches Hall of Famer Al Brown, who last coached in 2017 as an assistant under McCallie and now advises Tennessee. Hey, what’s one quick unretirement stint?

Other names to watch: Sam Miller and Jim Corrigan, Duke assistant coaches; Jackie Nared, Arizona assistant coach; Dean Lockwood, Michigan State associate head coach; Shannon Perry-LeBeauf, UCLA associate head coach and former Duke assistant coach; Jonas Chatterton, Oregon State associate head coach; Lindsay Gottlieb, Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach; Michelle Clark-Heard, Cincinnati head coach 


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