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Report: Two names for Lady Vols coaching search not much for Tennessee

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Tennessee is just two days into its search for Kellie Harper’s successor and two more names have entered the search, per reports.

Yolett McPhee-McCuin from Ole Miss and Oklahoma head coach Jennie Baranczyk have been named as possible successors to Harper, who was fired after five seasons on Monday. Former Lady Vol Kara Lawson, who is currently the coach at Duke, was also cited as a possibility to replace Harper.

Per Chantel Jennings of The Athletic:

“McPhee-McCuin is an obvious choice. She has completely rebuilt the Ole Miss program and energized fans in Oxford. In six seasons with the Rebels, McPhee-McCuin has taken them from the bottom of the SEC to the upper echelon of the conference. When she arrived in 2018, Ole Miss hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament in more than a decade. By 2022, the Rebels punched their ticket to the big dance. Last season, they shocked the basketball world with an upset of Stanford on the Cardinal’s home court, and this past season, they made it to the second round. 

“The number to beat for defense-minded McPhee-McCuin is $1.035 million per year (Harper was at $1.1 million a year), and she would inherit a program that is in a similar standing to Ole Miss but with a much deeper history in the sport.”

My Take:

There are two things I don’t like about this potential hire and one I do. First, I’m not sure McPhee-McCuin is qualified enough with less than 200 games under her belt as a head coach. She’s also not great in those game, going 103-84. A 55-percent winning clip isn’t anything to brag about and certainly wouldn’t do for the Lady Vols. However, I do like the fact that McPhee-McCuin could be very affordable.

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Then, there’s Baranczyk

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Per Jennings:

“Despite holding a power conference job now, Baranczyk still seems like the heir apparent for Iowa whenever Lisa Bluder retires. (She played at Iowa and coached, like Bluder, at Drake.) But could an enticing SEC job be enough to pull Baranczyk away from a potentially predetermined path to Iowa City? Her Sooners are entering the SEC and her style is much different than what some expect from Tennessee, but a fast-paced, high-scoring offense could be exciting.

“In three seasons at Oklahoma, Baranczyk has twice led the Sooners to the top of the table, and they’ve made the second round of the NCAA Tournament every year. Expectations would be higher at Tennessee, but Baranczyk could be an outside-of-the-box hire who might be the right kind of change.”

My Take:

I like the concept of an uptempo attack. Winning is always best, but losing is a bit easier to take when it’s exciting. However, Baranczyk feels like men’s coach Rick Barnes. She gets her team to the tournament only to be bereft of success.

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