“Samford has parted ways with head coach Scott Padgett after six seasons, sources told ESPN,” Jeff Borzello tweeted on Monday, 10 days after Samford’s season ended with a first-round loss in the SoCon Tournament, their 15th loss in 17 games.
Padgett, a national champion and all-conference player at Kentucky in the 1990s, went 84-115 at Samford, including just 34-74 in conference play. He led the Bulldogs to only one postseason appearance (2017 CBI) and never finished better than sixth in the SoCon.
Without Padgett out, who might Samford hire? It’ll be the third men’s basketball hire for 10th-year athletics director Martin Newton, who promoted Padgett in 2014, just two years after hiring Bennie Seltzer.
Two in-state Division-II coaches to watch: West Alabama’s Allen Sharpe and Alabama-Huntsville’s John Shulman. Sharpe won big at nearby Wallace State (and Arkansas-Monticello) before landing at West Alabama in 2014, where he’s delivered their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth and broke the single-season win record. Shulman, meanwhile, won 145 games and four regular-season titles at Chattanooga and just finished his first season in Huntsville.
Does Tony Shaver want another job? The 66-year-old former longtime William & Mary head coach led the Tribe to four 20-win seasons and one CAA regular-season title over his final 10 years. Or former Murray State and Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy? He couldn’t find consistency at Texas A&M but rebuilt Murray State and has recruited most areas of the south and southeast. Current Murray State assistant Shane Nichols could also be in the mix, as could Ole Miss assistant (and former JUCO head coach) Win Case.
Also worth nothing: Prior to arriving at Samford in 2011, Newton worked with the men’s basketball program at Kentucky, where John Robic and Kenny Payne were (and still are) assistant coaches. Both, most notably Payne, are well-paid assistants who’ve had head-coaching opportunities, therefore it’s unlikely they’ll leave for a SoCon job. Still, something to consider.