CINCINNATI — It doesn't look like Mick Cronin is going to UCLA, but Virginia Tech may be a possible destination for the University of Cincinnati basketball coach.
The Roanoke Times lists Cronin as a leading candidate to replace Buzz Williams, who left for Texas A&M on Wednesday. The AD at Virginia Tech, Whit Babcock, was UC’s AD for 2 ½ years and had a good working relationship with Cronin.
TCU coach Jamie Dixon apparently won out over Cronin for the UCLA job, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday, though Dixon was still trying to reduce his buyout and no contract had been signed. The Times had reported that Cronin and Dixon were the finalists for the job after UCLA couldn't entice John Calipari from Kentucky and after ”striking out with a slew of top targets.”
Virginia Tech may be a better landing place for the 47-year-old Cronin anyway, if he can't get satisfaction with a contract extension from UC. Cronin would have the opportunity to coach in one of the premier basketball conferences, the ACC, without the intense pressure to win that he would have been under at UCLA.
Cronin, who led the Bearcats to their ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance last month, has been unhappy since UC proposed a pay cut instead of a raise last fall, according to Sporting News reporter Mike DeCourcy, a Cronin confidante.
According to USA Today, Cronin is the 49th-highest paid coach in Division I men’s basketball, making $2.2 million last season. He earned less than 20 coaches who missed the NCAA Tournament, DeCourcy reported.