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Johnson Officially Resigns At LSU; Where Do The Tigers Turn?

Trent Johnson’s days on the Bayou are officially over after four seasons.  The LSU basketball coach officially resigned yesterday and will be introduced as TCU’s new hoops coach today.

Johnson — who led the Tigers to one SEC regular-season title, one NCAA Tournament and one NIT — was never viewed as a good “fit” with the LSU fanbase.  So while the school is losing a coach with a proven track record, there will be few tears shed in Baton Rouge today.

Tiger AD Joe Alleva admitted as much yesterday:

“Sometimes coaching changes work out well for all parties involved, and we will take this opportunity to see out the best coach for the long-term future of LSU men’s basketball.

We will move quickly but deliberately to find a coach who will lead our program with integrity and discipline, someone who will recruit effectively in order to build championship teams while inspiring success in academics, and someone who will energize our fan base.  I wish Trent all the best in his new job.”

Key phrase: “Someone who will energize our fan base.”

Johnson had had success at Nevada and Stanford when he arrived at LSU.  He was the example of a proven, “name” coach who did not work out.  Will Alleva now chase another proven, “name” coach — as South Carolina did with Frank Martin — or will he go the assistant/up-and-comer route — as Mississippi State did with Rick Ray?

Already, several coaches with ties to the Pelican State have been mentioned as potential candidates:

Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew was born in Baton Rouge while his father Homer Drew served on Dale Brown’s Tigers staff in the 1970s.  Drew met with AD Scott Stricklin about Mississippi State’s job before deciding to remain at Valpo.  Drew’s brother, Scott, has turned Baylor into a national power, but news is out today that he and his staff — as well as BU’s women’s staff — have made more than 1,200 impermissible phone calls and text messages to recruits over the past two-and-a-half years.  That’s Scott, not Bryce, but still, it bears mentioning.

UTEP’s Tim Floyd played at Louisiana Tech and coached at New Orleans before moving on to Iowa State and the NBA.  Working against Floyd is the fact that after the NBA, he landed at Southern Cal.  There he resigned after a report claimed he paid money to a street agent in order to sign OJ Mayo.  The Trojan program got smacked around by the NCAA and Floyd landed in El Paso.

Marquette’s Buzz Williams was an assistant at Northwestern State before becoming the head coach at New Orleans for a season.

Whoever lands in Baton Rouge will inherit a program featuring only eight returning players at the moment.  Justin Hamilton announced last week that he would turn pro early.


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