In all likelihood when students across the country return to their respective campuses in the fall Oakland's Greg Kampe will be in his office. A lot can happen in six months, but given that the Golden Grizzlies head coach has been there every fall since 1984, there's a strong chance that isn't going to change. But that doesn't mean larger programs won't come calling, because they will, with good reason.
Despite having won nearly 60% of his games in 27 seasons, appearing in four straight Division II NCAA Tournaments from 1994-1997 and guiding his team to a 2005 berth in the Division 1 Tournament, the still relatively young Kampe (55) has never been a hotter coaching commodity.
The same can be said for North Texas's Johnny Jones, now in his 10th season with the Mean Green. When the NCAA coaching carousel begins anew in a just a few weeks following the conclusion of March Madness, these two will be popping up on a lot of vacant lists around the country. It's just a question of if either one will be the leap to a bigger program and leave behind what they've worked so hard to build.
Jones arrived in Denton, TX in 2001 after serving as interim head coach at Memphis for a season and a one-year stint as an assistant at Alabama. Suddenly the former LSU Tiger (from his playing days) was at the helm of a program mired in a four-year stretch where the team averaged five wins a season. Since then, the former high school All-American has built North Texas into a power within the Sun Belt conference as the Mean Green have averaged 17 wins per year over the last decade, including 20 or more wins in each of the last five seasons.
The Mean Green have been to three NCAA Tournaments, two have come in the last four years under Jones. Since 206 North Texas has stepped outside it's conference and won six games against programs from the SEC, Big 12, WAC and Atlantic-10, not earth shattering, but certainly outside the realm of what had been considered the norm in the program's history.
Certainly earning a second consecutive conference championship and subsequent NCAA berth would have solidified Jones as a hot coaching commodity, but in spite of that it still seems an opportune time for him to cash in on his success. With a decade of experience as a head coach no one will question his ability to run a program and he has proven that winning at North Texas hasn't been an evanescent product. Four years remain on his contract so he may not be in a hurry to bolt, but his name will certainly be tossed around many athletic director offices this summer.
Kampe on the other hand may be past the point of no return as far as moving on to another school. Much like Mark Few for all of his success will never leave the Gonzaga program he has built, Kampe has a good thing going in Oakland. He's managed to build a team not only capable of reaching the NCAA Tournament each year, but from time to time, winning a game. The Golden Grizzlies certainly appear to be an upset special waiting to happen starting next week and Kampe can relish that as one of the crowning achievements of his career.
Just don't expect that to stop other schools from calling in April.