3 names to watch in the UNCW coaching search

With Kevin Keatts departing for NC State, UNCW has a highly coveted spot for any rising mid-major coach

Brian Spurlock—USA Today Sports
North Carolina Central Eagles head coach LeVelle Moton in the first half against the North Carolina Central Eagles in the first four of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Dayton Arena.

The coaching search in Wilmington has already begun as the Seahawks look to replace Kevin Keatts, who left Wilmington for NC State after winning back-to-back CAA titles. Keatts leaves behind a program in good shape, coming off close losses in the NCAA Tournament each of the last two years, and with plenty of talented players still on the roster.Former assistant coach Takayo Siddle has taken over the interim head coach role for UNCW, but might lack the experience to take over at this point. At 30 years old, Siddle has seven years as an assistant coach between Gardner-Webb and UNCW and will likely play a crucial role in keeping the current players with the program.However, there are some big fish out there on the coaching market that the Seahawks can certainly attract. With sophomores C.J. Bryce and Devontae Cacok expected to lead the way next year along with Jordon Talley and Jaylen Fornes in the mix, UNCW has a chance to compete in the CAA again next year.So who are some of the likely targets for the Seahawks this offseason? Here’s a look at some of the names that will surely be on the top of the list throughout the coaching search.LeVelle Moton, NC CentralWhen it comes to success, LeVelle Moton is a good starting point. However, it always comes with the caveat that he coaches a team that is routing the MEAC conference.NC Central has been a dominant force in the MEAC during Moton’s tenure, winning three regular season titles in the last four years. He’s also clinched two berths to the NCAA Tournament during that span with two completely different core groups of players.A move from NC Central to UNCW would be a step up for Moton, who is clearly deserving of a high-level position in the future. Moton has a 113-51 record with the Eagles over the last five seasons, making him a prime candidate for the move to Wilmington to replace Keatts for years to come.Wes Miller, UNC GreensboroAnother head coaching candidate in N.C., how convenient? Not only is Wes Miller a local coach, he’s also coming off the most successful season in UNC Greensboro history.Miller just led the Spartans to a 25-10 record and tied for first in the Southern Conference. The 25 wins were the most in UNCG history, but a loss in the Southern Conference Tournament landed Miller’s squad in the NIT.Unlike Moton and others on the list, Miller doesn’t have a history of success. The record-setting season in Greensboro proves he’s turned the program around, but he did not post a single winning campaign prior to that. Miller is a bit of an unknown commodity as a head coach. Then again, so was Keatts.Chris Caputo, MiamiIn 2006 NCAA Tournament saw a historic run by George Mason that ended in the Final Four and catapulted the career of Jim Larranaga. It also happened to be the first year a little-known assistant Chris Caputo joined the Patriots staff.Caputo has been with Larranaga at every stop since that season, making the move from George Mason in the CAA to Miami in the ACC. While he’s been rumored to move to different teams for years, Caputo hasn’t left Larranaga’s side in more than a decade while rising to the associate coach role.During the previous coaching search, Caputo’s name was tied to the UNCW job before Keatts ultimately got the call. If Bass decide to go the route of hiring an assistant coach instead of a lower level head coach again, Caputo would be an ideal fit for a program with a solid base of talent for the next two seasons.