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“Paul ran our program with integrity,” athletics director Kyle Moats said. “Almost without exception, his student-athletes represented the university and the department in a positive fashion. He is a class individual who has always respected and appreciated the history and tradition of Bears basketball.”
Though Lusk improved their win total each of the last three seasons after an 11-win dud in 2014-15, he still went just 106-121 in seven years, only won 20 games once and made one postseason appearance, the 2014 CIT.
With Lusk out, who might Missouri State hire as their next head coach? Here are four potential replacements.
Current Position: Head Coach – Missouri Southern State
Jeff Boschee is an "Ohhhh yeah, him" guy.
The former Kansas guard who averaged in double figures in each of his four seasons (1998-2002) is now the fourth-year head coach at Missouri Southern State, a D2 program in Joplin. The 2018 MIAA Coach of the Year, Boschee has won at least 18 games in each of his four seasons, including 20 this year.
He has no experience outside of Missouri Southern (assistant, 2010-14) but is a 38-year-old rising star in the profession.
Current Position: Associate Head Coach – Xavier
Travis Steele has become one of the most sought-after assistant coaches in the country.
Now in his ninth season at Xavier, including the last three as associate head coach, Steele is a Butler grad (2004) who's been lauded by current head coach Chris Mack and former head coach Sean Miller for his scouting, recruiting and game-planning, among other things.
Current Position: Assistant Coach – Purdue
Might Kyle Moats take a second dip into Matt Painter's assistant pool?
Moats hired Lusk, a sixth-year Boilermakers' assistant, as Cuonzo Martin's replacement in 2011. Now first-year Purdue assistant Steve Lutz could be on his radar.
Lusk arrived in West Lafayette after seven years at Creighton, a Missouri Valley member until 2013. He knows the region and conference and is a highly respected recruiter, especially after landing Justin Patton and Marcus Foster in 2015.
Current Position: Head Coach – Pittsburgh
This is a deep, deep wild card.
Not only does Kevin Stallings have to be fired by Pittsburgh — which he should — he needs to be interested in a significant step down after 19 years of high-major basketball.
It's hard to see Stallings getting another high-major head-coaching job, so if he's not interested in becoming an assistant, why not a return to the midwest?