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Report: Vol Assistant a “Leading Candidate” for SEMO Head Coach

(Photo via Randy Sartin/USA Today Sports)

The 2019-20 college basketball season came to an abrupt end last week, and now the offseason is here a lot earlier than normal. Last offseason, one of Rick Barnes’ assistants was hired away from the Tennessee program to become a head coach at a mid-major. This offseason, the same thing could be happening again.

According to Adam King, a sports reporter for KFVS12 in Missouri, Tennessee assistant Kim English is “one of the leading candidates” for the vacant head coaching position at Southeast Missouri State. King notes that the search for SEMO’s next head coach is “far from over,” however.

Barnes hired English last offseason after the former Missouri basketball player served as an assistant coach at Colorado for two seasons. Prior to that, English had been an assistant under Frank Haith at Tulsa.

English is viewed as a rising star in the coaching world, and the former All-Big 12 player has been a strong recruiter in his short time as an assistant. He’s been pivotal in Tennessee’s recruiting efforts in the 2021 and 2022 classes so far.

Last offseason, English was brought on to Barnes’ staff after longtime assistant Rob Lanier left to take the head coaching position at Georgia State. Barnes promoted Michael Schwartz to Lanier’s former position of associate head coach, and Desmond Oliver received a raise as part of Barnes’ staff as well.

As a player, English scored over 1,500 points at Missouri from 2008-12 and averaged 11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. He was part of the 2009 Missouri squad that made a run to the Elite Eight. English was drafted in the second round with the 44th overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 2012 NBA Draft. He spent one season in the NBA before going overseas for a couple years. He returned to the NBA with the Chicago Bulls briefly before getting into coaching.

SEMO went just 7-24 in the 2019-20 season, finishing 3-15 in conference play in the Ohio Valley Conference. Head coach Rick Ray was fired on March 3rd after four unsuccessful years leading the Redhawks. Ray, the former head coach at Mississippi State from 2012-15, never had a winning season at SEMO and finished with a 51-104 record.

The Redhawks haven’t had a winning season in men’s basketball since going 18-14 overall in the 2013-14 season. Since moving to Division I basketball, SEMO has only made the NCAA Tournament once, appearing in 2000 and losing 64-61 to LSU in the first round.

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