It wouldn't be a Robert Morris basketball offseason if coaching speculation wasn't involved.
Colonials coach Andy Toole is expected to interview for the vacant men's basketball head coaching position at Marshall University, a source told the Charleston Daily Mail.
This time of year is always filled with people trying to pimp Toole out to most any vacant job, but this is a legitimate report for something substantive -- an actual interview for a position that would make some kind of sense.
According to figures from the Office of Postsecondary Education, Marshall spent $2.37 million on men's basketball during the 2012-13 season, ranking it 137th among Division I teams and ninth among programs in the 16-team Conference-USA. For the sake of comparison, Robert Morris spent $1.34 million on men's basketball, good for 253rd in Division I.
Tom Herrion, who was recently fired as the Thundering Herd's coach, was making about $400,000 per year, which, according to tax documents, is more than double what Toole was making in 2011. Since that time, he's gotten a raise and an extension, but the fact still remains that this job would be a bump in pay at a school that spends more money on men's basketball.
With all that in mind, would this be the right conference for Toole? Andrew Chiappazzi over at Colonials Corner breaks it down some in this thread and I agree with him on some points. This isn't the Conference-USA of 10 years ago, when Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette and Memphis would regularly help the league send multiple teams to the NCAA tournament. It could very well be a one-bid league for the future, but I think the potential at least exists for there to be multiple teams selected from the conference in a given year.
At the very least, there's more of a financial commitment to basketball than there is in the NEC, largely because these are bigger schools with more resources, even if the prestige factor of the Big East or Atlantic 10 isn't there. Ten of C-USA's 16 teams are among the top 150 in basketball expenses in 2012-13; the NEC, meanwhile, had no teams in the top 150 in spending and just one in the top 200 (LIU Brooklyn).
It's maybe not the job many people envisioned Toole being tied to, but there is reportedly mutual interest and, to me at least, it appears like a step up for him on the proverbial coaching ladder.
The situation is certainly worth monitoring and I'll provide any updates as they become available.
UPDATE [4/17]: When reached last night, Toole said he had no comment no the report or a potential interview.