Sports

Who could replace Travis Steele at X?

Xavier has begun a national search to find their next men’s basketball coach

By Joe Clark, Sports Page Editor

Xavier announced that it was parting ways with Men’s Basketball Head Coach Travis Steele On Wednesday afternoon. With Steele gone, here is a look at some of the potential candidates to become the next men’s head basketball coach.

Xavier and Travis Steele parted ways yesterday, leaving the Musketeers in the market for a new men’s basketball coach. One candidate Xavier may consider is former Xavier and Arizona coach Sean Miller. 

Sean Miller

Miller, who coached at Xavier from 2004 to 2009 before heading west to Arizona, is likely the favorite to get the job. He racked up a record of 167-120 with the Musketeers and led them to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including one Elite Eight and one Sweet Sixteen appearance. At Arizona, Miller racked up 411 wins and seven NCAA Tournament appearances, which included three Elite Eight appearances. 

Miller still has potential NCAA sanctions looming from his time at Arizona, but it’s unlikely to result in more than a suspension. 

Miller would be a home run hire for Xavier. If Miller wants the job, expect things to wrap up quickly.

Matt McMahon

McMahon has been at Murray State since 2015, and this year marks his third NCAA Tournament appearance with the Racers. Murray State went 30-2 this season, their best mark since they went 28-5 and made a Sweet Sixteen appearance with Ja Morant at the helm. 

He has experience of success and developing players’ skills, and Morant is the prime example. If Xavier looks for an on-the-rise coach, McMahon could find his way to Victory Parkway.

Eric Henderson

Henderson doesn’t have nearly as much experience as the other two candidates, but he has South Dakota State (SDSU) in the NCAA Tournament this year after a 30-4 season and Summit League Championship. Henderson, who replaced T.J. Otzelberger-now at Iowa State-at SDSU, has only been a head coach since he took over the program in 2019, but he’s won the Summit League regular season every year he’s been head coach. 

Ultimately, Henderson’s lack of experience will probably cost him, but he’s definitely a coach to keep an eye on. 

Bob Richey

Richey has yet to make an NCAA Tournament, but he’s been on the cusp every year at Furman, which plays in the ever-competitive Southern Conference. Richey has 111 wins in five years and was a miracle buzzer-beater away from having the Paladins in the NCAA Tournament this year. 

His track record of success and ability to beat power five teams makes him an intriguing outside candidate. 

Jonas Hayes

Hayes, Xavier’s associate head coach under Steele, got a lot of buzz for the University of Georgia head coach opening that was eventually filled by Mike White. 

Hayes is known as a great recruiter and big man coach. He still remains an outside candidate, as it’s unlikely Xavier will hire someone from Steele’s current staff. 

Hayes will likely end up as a top assistant at Xavier or another program next year. He could still opt to return to Georgia as an assistant under White.

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