The search process for the next Wyoming head coach is progressing now that we are moving into the second half of March. The newest addition to candidates is Billy Kennedy who is currently at Murray State of the Ohio Valley Conference. Eric Schmodlt first reported the news this morning and it appears that Kennedy has ties with Reggie Slater who may be on the hiring committee.
Kennedy served as an assistant at Wyoming from 1987-88. The rest of his coaching career has been spent at schools in the Southeast. He is native of Louisiana and coached at Centenary and his alma mater SE Louisiana. At Centenary he coached the Gentlemen to a .500 record which is impressive for that school. At SELA he turned around the program that dismal. In his final two years he went 44-18 and made it to the first round of the NCAA tournament.
At Murray State has kept the Racers above .500 and had tremendous success the last two years. Back to back Ohio Valley regular season championships and 54-14 record. In 2010 the Racers went 31-5 including knocking off Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA tourney.
There is a a couple of interesting clauses in the Kennedy's contract.:
Murray State lost coach Mick Cronin to Cincinnati after last season. When Murray State hired Billy Kennedy as its new coach, it added language to his contract anticipating that he might be wooed by other schools someday.
Kennedy owes Murray State $25,000 if he leaves to take a head coaching job in the six power leagues or in Conference USA, the Missouri Valley, Mountain West, Western Athletic or Ohio Valley. The buyout is $10,000 if he leaves for a school in another conference.
Another clause says if Kennedy leaves for any Division I school, he agrees his new school will play at Murray State within two years.
"With Coach Kennedy coming in, and the success I expect from him, I thought that was something that might pay off for Murray State in the future," athletics director Allen Ward says.
The salary increase at Wyoming would easily cover the $25,000 buyout. Playing one game in Murray, KY but it would look bad if the Cowboys lost. Kennedy seems like a solid get for Wyoming. Has experience in Wyoming and has had success at the three schools where he has been a head coach. He is losing two of his top three scorers to graduation this year so it may be the right time for Kennedy to make a jump.
Now that teams are being knocked out the tournament except the hiring process to speed up. Mike Dunlap of St Johns and Blaine Taylor of Old Dominion are both free after being knocked out in the first round.