ATLANTA — The silence coming out of Athens these days may reveal much about the coaches Georgia athletic director Damon Evans hopes to interview in his search to replace Dennis Felton. For example: Missouri’s Mike Anderson, Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel and Xavier’s Sean Miller are still coaching in the NCAA tournament and are unavailable to be interviewed.
Any of the three may be difficult hires for Georgia, but Evans has said he will aim high and come armed with sufficient funds. Why not wait to learn if coaches who have their teams in the Sweet 16 would be interested in trying to take Georgia to the same heights?
Another hot name in more than one school’s coach search, Anthony Grant of Virginia Commonwealth, is available but may be looking at another Southeastern Conference school.
Alabama athletic director Mal Moore received permission from VCU’s Norwood Teague to speak with Grant about its coaching vacancy, Teague said Tuesday.
On Monday, Georgia associate athletic director Claude Felton said Grant had not been contacted by Evans or University of Georgia president Michael Adams.
Evans was out of his office on Tuesday and did not immediately return a message left on his cell phone.
Evans fired Felton on Jan. 29, leaving assistant coach Pete Herrmann to serve as interim coach for the remainder of the 12-20 season.
Felton was making $760,000 per year. Evans may have to at least double that salary to land an established coach.
Evans said his "goals and expectations" for basketball include "playing for championships at both the conference and national levels."
When he fired Felton, Evans said he was willing "to commit more resources that we have in the past" in order to hire the "best possible" candidate.
"I don’t want to hold us back from doing what needs to do in order to be successful in our men’s basketball program," Evans said.
"Our commitment and my commitment to building Georgia basketball is strong, and when I say strong I’m going to add very strong onto that," he said, adding "Our resources are abundant."
Anderson, in his third year at Missouri, has two years remaining on his contract which guarantees him $850,000 per year.
Anderson left open the possibility on Monday he is willing to talk to Georgia. When asked during a news conference for his response to reports he could be a candidate at Georgia or Alabama and to reassure fans that he would remain at Missouri, Anderson said: "We’re in the Sweet 16. We’re talking about the Memphis Tigers today."
Anderson is a Birmingham native and coached four years at Alabama-Birmingham before joining Missouri in 2006.
Miller, in his fifth season, has a 10-year contract with Xavier that runs through the 2017-18 season.
One year ago, Capel agreed to a new deal to be paid $1.05 million per year through the 2013-2014 season.
Capel, the former Duke guard, was 79-41 in four seasons at VCU, which hired Grant after Capel moved to Oklahoma.
Evans has hired the Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search firm. Dan Parker of the search firm did not return a phone message on Tuesday.