One of the red-hottest names to emerge from the NCAA tournament is that of Ryan Odom, the Maryland Baltimore County coach whose team pulled off the greatest upset in the history of the men’s tournament last week.
The Retrievers were bounced from the tournament Sunday night, but that doesn’t change the fact that big-name schools are going to try to hire Odom, something that UMBC will attempt to avoid. Tim Hall, the school’s athletic director, told ESPN that he plans to bring a long-term contract, complete with a raise, to a meeting with Odom this week. Postponing the inevitable departure of the 43-year-old coach is the goal.
“We need to do within our realm what we can,” Hall said Sunday. “We obviously can’t do what the Power 5 schools can do, or anything near that. I think at some point Ryan wants to do it on a bigger stage. I’m just hoping it’s down the road instead of now.”
Odom, a son of former East Carolina, Wake Forest and South Carolina coach Dave Odom, attracted attention from bigger schools even before the tournament, and that intensified after the No. 16 seed Retrievers knocked off overall No. 1 seed Virginia. USA Today reported that his name was being mentioned in connection to East Carolina’s opening, and Sunday’s seven-point loss to No. 9 seed Kansas State isn’t going to change that.
Two years ago, Odom signed a seven-year contract that pays $230,000 in base salary. If he stays at UMBC, he’ll have a team that has lost seniors Jairus Lyles, K.J. Maura and Jourdan Grant. If he goes … well, real riches await. Just ask Andy Enfield and Shaka Smart.
“I haven’t even thought about it right now,” Odom said. “I’m their coach. I’m here. I’m sure they’d like me to be here, and I want to still be here.”
And if Odom wants to stay put, teams can look at Nevada’s Eric Musselman (if he promises to keep his shirt on), Loyola Chicago’s Porter Moser or Gonzaga’s Mark Few.
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