When Jake Diebler's decision to take a new job at Ohio State was announced on Monday morning, well-wishes were sent his way all over the Internet. Diebler talked about how tough of a decision it was and Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew spoke of the tears that were shed on Sunday when the final goodbyes were said at the Schrage Basketball Wing.
Tuesday begins a new day, with Diebler fresh off a winning performance at an Ohio State press conference, and an empty office at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Valparaiso players have returned for the second summer session of classes and workouts have begun with the Crusaders down an on-court coach. Drew addressed Diebler's departure on Monday saying that there was no timeline and that he was going to take his time looking for the right fit.
Let's see if we can help with some potential options.
Greg Tonagel -- If Bryce Drew was the "Prodigal Son" of the Valparaiso basketball program, then Tonagel is at least a cousin. Tonagel has been largely rumored to be "coach-in-waiting" (although there isn't any real evidence of this) assuming Drew leaves for a bigger job and takes his staff with him. The most recent Valparaiso alumni magazine featured a prominent article on Tonagel and the success he's had at Indiana Wesleyan. The article felt like a "Ok, here's the guy you alums should get excited about if our other guy leaves" sort of thing.
There are two problems with Tonagel being considered for the No. 3 assistant job at Valparaiso. The first is that he's already overqualified for the job. The second is that the Wildcats are loaded this season, especially after last month's addition of Indiana State transfer RJ Mahurin. I can't see Tonagel leaving IWU unless it's for the head job.
Chris Sparks -- I don't know if Drew would bring back the coach that Diebler seemingly replaced, but Sparks has always been an outstanding recruiter and is an excellent strategist. Sparks was the coach that delivered Ryan Broekhoff to the Crusaders. Having played for the Crusaders, Sparks would provide a unique connection.
Jason Hawkins -- Another former Valparaiso assistant/player that would be coming back for a third tour with the Crusaders. Hawkins is entering his third year as the head coach at IU-Northwest and like Tonagel, I don't think he'd be likely to give up control of an entire team to take a third assistant position.
Nick Shelton -- The former Valparaiso walk-on just finished up his run as a graduate assistant and is currently looking at landing on a college staff somewhere. He knows the school, knows the players and meshes with the staff. I'm not sure there is a better fit for an entry level candidate.
Milo Stovall -- Speaking of former Valparaiso players, Stovall is a guy that has been getting into coaching at the younger levels over the past several years and could be the right kind of candidate to come in at an entry level college position. Stovall was an all-conference performer for the Crusaders and could be the key to getting Michigan recruits.
Will Phipps -- Before I delve into my last three options, perhaps the best candidate for Diebler's position is already on the staff. Phipps has plenty of experience from his days at Baylor and Georgia Tech and will be entering his third year with the Crusaders. Seems like the right time to move Phipps up the ladder.
Jared Nuness -- Yet another former Valparaiso player who has spent the last three years at Baylor under Scott Drew. Nuness spent two years as the Video Coordinator and is now the Director of Player Development. The Crusaders don't have the budget for positions quite like those, but Nuness would bring plenty of coaching experience from his five years as a head high school coach in Minnesota. Nuness also worked Kris Humphries' basketball camps (Nuness coached Humphries in high school), so there would be at least one Kardashian-flavored story if Nuness was hired.
Mark Morefield -- Here is an interesting case. Morefield is a Valparaiso alum and former assistant coach that left for Baylor with Scott Drew. A texting debacle that involved Hanner Perea ultimately led to Morefield losing his job with the Bears and getting slapped with a one-year "Show Cause" penalty from the NCAA. That penalty has expired and any school in the country is free to sign Morefield. I can't think of a better fit for the Michigan City native than coming back home and restarting his career. Morefield has always proven to be an excellent recruiter, although I'm sure some would question that given the Perea situation. The money wouldn't nearly be the same at Valparaiso as it was at Baylor, but I think getting back onto a D1 staff would be the biggest thing for Morefield.
Homer Drew -- No need to list credentials here. No real need for any explanation here. Just throwing names against the wall and seeing what sticks.
Obviously this list only contains people who already have a relationship with Valparaiso. When Bryce Drew was elevated to the head position, I would've never thought of a guy like Roger Powell or been able to predict the positive impact that he's added to the staff. Count me as curious to see what direction Drew goes in.