Don’t panic yet, but there are rumors flying around the internets about Johnny Dawkins leaving the UCF Knights for Vanderbilt. They started to boil on Tuesday afternoon, but nothing has actually been reported out yet.
Here’s the latest:
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and “UCF: More than a football school” fame reports that Vanderbilt is now in negotiations with long-time NBA veteran and Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach Jerry Stackhouse to be their head coach:
Sources: Memphis Grizzlies assistant Jerry Stackhouse is in contract negotiations to become the next head coach at Vanderbilt. Emerged as a primary candidate in the last 24 hours. Nothing final yet, but the two sides are headed towards a marriage.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 1, 2019
While this is good news for UCF, let’s be clear: the Knights are not out of the woods yet, with this being full-on coach job opening season.
No one should feel safe until definitive word comes down from UCF or Dawkins himself.
Evan Daniels, the Director of Basketball Recruiting for 247 College Basketball Insider for FS1 tweets:
Sources: Two names of interest in the Vanderbilt coaching search are Memphis Grizzlies assistant Jerry Stackhouse and Charlotte Hornets assistant Ronald Nored.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) March 31, 2019
That’s now three names in addition to Dawkins floated this week.
Regarding dollar figures, Tilman Fertitta, the primary booster for Houston Basketball (whose name is on the arena), spoke to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston after the Cougars’ Sweet 16 loss and dropped quite the dollar figure regarding Houston’s efforts to keep Kelvin Sampson from going to Arkansas:
.@UHouston chairman of the Board of Regents @TilmanJFertitta on Kelvin Sampson: "Kelvin's done an unbelievable job..but if Kelvin doesn't want to be here there's nothing we can do about it. We put $18 million on the table over 6 years.I love Kelvin, would love for him to be here" pic.twitter.com/Z5OaV7Jk8s— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 30, 2019
That’s $3 million per year over six years.
On Friday, Dawkins was a guest analyst on CBS Sports Network, and discussed the Duke game and related topics:
Everyone is still buzzing about the way that @UCF_MBB captured the nation's attention.@UCF coach @Coach_Dawkins joins the panel to talk about how he's leading his team forward. pic.twitter.com/uALiDTwKBS— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) March 29, 2019
“I think people are realizing how good the basketball is in the @American_Conf.”@Coach_Dawkins explains how the performance of @UHCougarMBK and @UCF_MBB has changed people’s perceptions. pic.twitter.com/K5rcgravh1— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) March 29, 2019
Gary Parrish of CBS reports Vandy might be considering some other options:
UC Irvine’s Russell Turner has emerged as a candidate at Vanderbilt and discussed the job with school officials, a source told @CBSSports. UCF’s Johnny Dawkins remains a candidate. He’s expected to talk with Vanderbilt officials soon, the source added.— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) March 28, 2019
Also, we’re tracking planes now:
We are hearing that Johnny Dawkins was in Nashville earlier today for a meeting with Vanderbilt about their HC vacancy. Should be some more clarity to this story in the next few hours.https://t.co/U1cR6uxTMD— CommunitySportReport (@CSROrlando) March 28, 2019
Late Wednesday, we had Ken Jackson of Community Sports Report Orlando - the guys who initially broke the story - on our podcast. Listen here or at the bottom of this page:
NEW PODCAST! GET IT WHILE IT’S HOT!— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCF_Banneret) March 28, 2019
Guest: @PhoulBalls of @CSROrlando
Plus: @UCF_MBB vs. Duke, @American_Conf Media Deal and more https://t.co/R7SoTlE18w
On Wednesday morning, Jeff Goodman of Stadium said Dawkins is a front-runner and UCF is trying hard to keep him, while also expressing doubt about why Vady would be a fit for Dawkins:
UCF's Johnny Dawkins has emerged as a frontrunner for the vacant @VandyMBB job to replace Bryce Drew. @GoodmanHoops & @RobDauster with the latest. #AnchorDown pic.twitter.com/2LQdXErks0— Stadium (@Stadium) March 27, 2019
Here’s what has happened
On Monday, John Alba of Spectrum Sports asked Dawkins about the possibility of him leaving UCF for another head coaching position. Dawkins said no one had contacted him about anything”
Sources told @JonAlba that #UCFs @Coach_Dawkins is a possible target to fill the head coaching vacancy at #Vanderbilt.— Luke Hetrick (@LHSportsTV) March 26, 2019
"No one's contacted me about anything." @SpecSports360 @MyNews13 pic.twitter.com/S9Loz0cTnx
Tuesday morning on ESPN’s Get Up!, Mike Greenberg asked Dawkins about about following in the footsteps of his mentor, Mike Krzyzewski, as head coach at Duke:
Miss Coach D on Get Up! this morning? We got it for you right here pic.twitter.com/T7PmRDP0cw— UCF Men’s Hoops (@UCF_MBB) March 26, 2019
Tuesday afternoon, while UCF Football was hosting its Pro Day, came this:
We are hearing reports from Nashville that Johnny Dawkins becoming the next head coach at Vanderbilt is "close to a done deal." More coming soon.— CommunitySportReport (@CSROrlando) March 26, 2019
Alba was less forceful minutes later:
Multiple sources: #UCF coach Johnny Dawkins has emerged as a target for the #Vanderbilt job. Dawkins told @LHSportsTV yesterday he had not been contacted by anyone as of yet and was happy at UCF. Certainly interesting circumstances, including Aubrey Dawkins having a year left.— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) March 26, 2019
Right now, that’s where we’re at.
Here’s what we know for sure
Dawkins’ contract with UCF goes through the 2023-24 season. His initial six-year contract paid him $1.1 million per year ($500,000 guaranteed base and $600,000 guaranteed incentives) plus performance incentives.
Dawkins signed a one-year extension this year that would pay him $1.5 million in the 2023-2024 season.
The buyout for Dawkins’ contract at UCF is equal to 50% of the remaining years’ salary for the term of the contract from whenever he would leave. That means that if he left now with five years left, Dawkins’ buyout would be likely in the neighborhood of $3 million.
To put that into perspective, Bryce Drew (Yes, THAT Bryce Drew), who Vanderbilt just fired after three seasons, paid him a reported annual average of $2.7 million over six years.
Here’s what might happen
- He might leave. In which case, we will all be sad.
- He might stay. But UCF may have to extend him and give him quite a raise.
If it’s the latter, Dawkins’ agent may be asking for a salary in the neighborhood of what Gregg Marshall - the highest-paid coach in The American - makes at Wichita State, which is reportedly $3 million per year.
Whatever happens, we might know in short order.