The search to replace Cuonzo Martin ended Monday night as Tennessee is expected to formally introduce Southern Mississippi's Donnie Tyndall as their new basketball coach at a 2pm Tuesday press conference.
Tennessee received permission to formally speak with Tyndall sometime after lunch on Monday and at that point Tyndall and the Tennessee brass of Dave Hart and Jon Gilbert discussed the job face to face in or near Hattiesburg. Monday night, athletic department employees were preparing for Tuesday's introduction in a number of different avenues including social media, their website and the production of the press conference.
The search focused on Tyndall on Monday evening after Tennessee made a weekend pitch to Louisiana Tech's Michael White that he rejected for good on Monday morning.
Tyndall has been at Southern Miss for the past two seasons where he's gone 56-17. His team went 29-7 this past season and won the Conference USA regular season title.
Prior to his arrival in Hattiesburg Tyndall compiled 114-84 record in six seasons at Morehead State. He twice lead that program into the NCAA Tournament and in 2011 knocked No. 4 seeded Louisville as a No. 13 seed.
Tyndall has exposure to the state of Tennessee from his time as an assistant at Middle Tennessee State where he served as the associate head coach for five seasons and he clearly wanted the Tennessee job and made that known when Tennessee first had what sources describe as a third party conversation with him last Wednesday or Thursday.
He also has experience in the SEC, having served as an assistant at LSU from 1997-2001.
As noted above, Tennessee sent its power trio of Hart, Gilbert and Ward out today with the intent to find a new head basketball coach. In speaking with people extremely close to the Southern Miss program independent of our other conversations, as well as those close to prospects, the Golden Eagles' basketball program began to feel the Tennessee opening could be a realistic opportunity today after several days' total silence from the Vols' camp. We're told at least some of the Golden Eagles' signees or their families were informed that Tennessee could be their destination, and it was indicated that Tyndall & Co. would attempt to bring multiple signees with them to Knoxville, pending ultimate completion of a deal.
Tyndall runs an uptempo, aggressive style and isn't afraid to press, according coaches who have been to Tyndall's camps in the past or watched him up close in action. Tyndall targets "aggressive, fast and tough-minded" players. The staff proved solid recruiters, particularly with the work done by Jareem Dowling, who was at Morehead State for a single year before spending the past two seasons at Southern Miss.
Tyndall's contract at Southern Mississippi is a salary of $500,000 with a buyout of the same amount.