Potential candidates for Miami’s WBB head coaching job

Now-interim head coach Fitzroy Anthony pictured before a game during the 2023-24 season. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

It’s been nearly two weeks since Miami Hurricanes head coach Katie Meier retired, and in its wake, there are shoes to fill. Meier will transition to a new role involving mentorship and fundraising; however, there’s no doubt she’ll have a say in how UM will fill her vacancy.

While Meier doesn’t completely depart from the program, multiple players, such as Kyla Oldacre, Ja’Leah Williams and Ally Stedman, have entered the transfer portal. Major changes are coming to the ‘Canes any way it’s put. As Miami aims to remain competitive in a new-look ACC with Stanford, SMU and California joining, each change matters.

The door is now open for a head-coaching replacement. Here are five potential names who could lead the Hurricanes in 2024.

Fitzroy Anthony

This is an in-house name that athletic director Dan Radakovich could opt for in the long term.

Anthony has been named the interim head coach while the nationwide search is underway.

Anthony has been on Miami’s staff since 2015 as an assistant coach and was promoted to associate head coach in 2022 by Meier. When Meier served her three-game suspension to open the 2022-2023 season, Anthony stepped in and went 3-0.

Notably, The Athletic ranked Anthony second in their list of women’s top basketball assistant coaches. His value, combined with his ties to Miami, indicates he’ll likely be here for the foreseeable future, whether or not Miami makes another hire.

Amanda Butler

The former 2018-19 ACC Coach of the Year (COTY), Amanda Butler, was recently let go by Clemson on March 12.

Butler’s best season with Clemson was also her first and winningest. She notched COTY, made the NCAA tournament and broke a 17-year absence while doing so.

Similar to Meier, Butler started her head-coaching career at Charlotte. She was Meier’s assistant before taking over the job. Butler, like Meier, had playing experience as well— she was a prolific college player at Florida before transitioning to coaching.

Most of all, however, Butler and Meier are friends. An AP article from 2023 reports that when Meier and Butler were competing in the NCAA tournament and WNIT, respectively, Butler’s mother called to celebrate Clemson’s win.

“I’m proud of you,” Butler’s mother said, “but I was watching Kate’s game.”

Tomekia Reed

On Sunday, Reed became a free agent and likely one of the hottest on the market.

The Jackson State head coach was hired in 2018 and has revitalized the program while being rewarded in the process. The three-time SWAC Coach of the Year has led the Lady Tigers to three NCAA tournament appearances over the last four years.

Reed making a return to Jackson State is possible; however, this is unlikely for contractual reasons combined with more enticing offers. According to Clarion Ledger, Reed has interviewed for Power-Five conferences in the past; in fact, before agreeing to JSU’s extension, she was a finalist for an unnamed Power-Five school.

Given Reed’s leverage, leaving for a Power-Five program offers what JSU can’t currently— one is a more competitive conference, and two is a limitation around salary. In contrast to a Power-Five, an HBCU—a smaller school— comes with more restrictions around athletic facilities and budgets. For context, Reed has made $135,000 per year since her extension in 2020.

Raina Harmon

A name that might be high on Miami’s radar is Raina Harmon. Harmon is an assistant coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes and is in her seventh year with the program.

Though she’s known mostly for working with wings, Harmon is noted for developing the perimeter game of Iowa guard Kate Martin. With Miami’s recruiting class composed mainly of guards, combined with the departure of Jaida Patrick along with Ally Stedman and Ja’Leah Williams hitting the transfer portal, this is an opportunity for Miami to seek out a valuable player developer.

Iowa’s been a competitive program, making the NCAA tournament in six out of the past seven seasons; however, they face the departure of notable names such as Martin, Caitlin Clark and Gabby Marshall. Naturally, this will leave questions about the program’s direction going forward and Harmon’s decision to stay as well.

It may just be enough to sway Harmon to come work with espnW’s No. 9 recruiting class in the nation. Miami also brings back talented stars such as Jasmyne Roberts, Shayeann Day-Wilson and Lazaria Spearman.

Karl Smesko

Smesko has been running the show for the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles (FGCU) for the last 22 years.

In his time with FGCU, he has led the Eagles to a 549-101 record, giving them a winning percentage of 85%. Through these wins, FGCU has made the NCAA tournament 10 of the past 13 seasons, including this year as a 12th seed with a 29-4 record.

Smesko has been in the running for a Power-Five job, more specifically, an ACC job, over the past year. Last spring, the Eagles coach was in talks with Pittsburgh before returning to Fort Myers.

Like Anthony, Smesko has been in the Florida coaching market for some time. His involvement with Pitt is a sign he’ll consider a new landscape in the ACC.