clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Could Mike Neighbors Be The Next Head Coach of the Arkansas Women's Basketball Team?

New, 1 comment

It is the only head coaching change for the Razorbacks this offseason, but it's a huge hire for a once proud program that had over 14,000 for a WNIT championship game.

As of now, it sounds like current Washington Huskies head coach Mike Neighbors is a serious candidate to replace Tom Collen and lead the Razorback women's basketball program.

Like any coach who is mentioned in a coaching search would do, he denied any interest to the the Seattle Times last week. Everyone knows that doesn't truly mean a lot, considering how fluid coaching searches can become.

Neighbors graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1993 and was the director of basketball operations at Arkansas from 1999-2001 and an assistant coach from 2006-07. He also has daughter attending UA and a son living here as well.

He is completing his first season at the helm of the Washington program after being the program's top assistant for the two seasons prior to his promotion. The Huskies are 17-13 (10-8) in the Pac-12 this season and earned a 1-seed in the Women's NIT. They beat Hawaii and Oregon in the first two rounds and play San Diego Wednesday night.

Before arriving as an assistant at Washington, Neighbors spent four years as an assistant at Xavier. In 2009, basketballscoop.com named him a "Rising Star" in women's college basketball. Before his second stint at Arkansas, he was an assistant at Colorado and Tulsa.

Known for his ability to develop post players and recruit, Neighbors has sent eight of his players to the WNBA. Also, he has signed eight McDonald's All-Americans. At every school he has coached, he has had a hand in developing the schools first or second all-time scorer.

However, it is well known how quickly coaching searches can change. There are two other names that have been linked to the job.

Waldo, Ark native and former Razorback roundballer Sytia Messer, who was the NCAA West Regional MVP during Arkansas' 1998 run to the Final Four, has also been rumored as a candidate. Messer is currently an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Baylor. Before that, she was the associate head coach at Georgia Tech. She has three seasons of head coaching experience at Tennessee Tech, where she compiled a 54-41 overall record. She was named 2011 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Golden Eagles to the conference regular season championship. She has also been an assistant at Arkansas State and Memphis. During her playing days, she finished seventh all-time in scoring and tenth in rebounding as a Razorback.

The longshot of the group is Marshall head coach Matt Daniel. It has been rumored that he has some donors backing him, but his 20-41 record his last two years with the Thundering Herd probably keeps him from being a serious candidate. He was the 1994 Mr. Basketball for the state of Arkansas his senior year at Jonesboro high school. He is a 1998 graduate of Harding University and spent four seasons at UCA prior to Marshall. He was 66-26 his final three seasons with the Sugar Bears, including a 2011 appearance in the WBI and a 2012 appearance in the WNIT: He was the 2010 and 2012 Southland Conference Coach of the Year.

*Update* Wichita State head coach Jody Adams is rumored to be a serious candidate. The Shockers were a 14-seed in this year's NCAA Tournament and were knocked out in the first round. She has SEC ties, having played for Pat Summit at Tennessee. You can read her extensive bio here.