KU women's basketball coach Brandon Schneider relying on 'short list' to fill staff opening

Kansas university coach Brandon Schneider motions to his players during Kansas’ Nov. 19 game against Memphis at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider is relying on an ever-present list of names to help him fill an unexpected opening on his coaching staff during the current health crisis.

With first-year assistant coach Larry Tidwell announcing Monday that he was leaving the program to be closer to his family in Fort Worth, Texas, Schneider has been tasked with hiring Tidwell’s replacement at a time when in-person interviews and campus visits are off limits.

Despite the obvious challenges that come with KU’s campus being shutdown, Schneider characterized the process as “going well.”

“I think every head coach has that short list tucked away that, should they have openings at specific positions, that’s kind of their initial go-to move,” Schneider told the Journal-World in a phone interview. “I’ve been very, very fortunate in my career that when it’s been time to make a hire, I haven’t ever had to go very far down that list.”

Without identifying names of potential candidates to fill Tidwell’s position, Schneider said he was confident that he would replace the 40-year coaching veteran with someone equally as qualified, potentially even his top choice.

“I feel really good about the list,” Schneider said.

Bringing even more comfort into the equation is the fact that Schneider is in no real hurry to make a hire.

Although he is in Fort Worth this week, Tidwell will continue to work with the KU women’s basketball program through the end of what would have been the spring semester. Most of that work will come on the recruiting trail and can be done from his home in Lawrence or Fort Worth.

“Right now, we can’t leave campus and we can’t bring anybody on campus through May,” Schneider said. “So the sense of urgency to get somebody here as fast as possible is not there because of the rules and the situation we’re in.”

As a result, Schneider said his program might not make any kind of official announcement until late May or early June.

Tidwell becomes the fourth assistant to leave Kansas in Schneider’s five years with the program. One got out of the business altogether, and the other two took Division I head coaching jobs.

“It’s not like we’re losing assistant coaches to other assistant coaching jobs,” Schneider said.

The two Schneider assistants who left for head coaching gigs — Aqua Franklin (Lamar) and Jory Collins (North Dakota State) — both left last spring. And Schneider said his ability to replace them with coaches of the caliber of Tidwell and Jhasmin Player provided a sense of confidence and comfort for him and his players.

“We have a pretty good track record,” Schneider said. “And I think right now we’re just trying to let our players know that we have the ability to attract really good coaches and bring them in. They saw that in Jhasmin and Coach Tidwell. There’s just no better place to work than Kansas. It’s an incredible place.”

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