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Arkansas coaching search: Is Kelvin Sampson the favorite?

Kelvin Sampson has turned Houston into a national name. Could Arkansas be next? Shane Bevel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

A fourth job vacancy in the SEC popped on Tuesday, with Arkansas announcing that Mike Anderson was out.

Anderson had been the head coach of the Razorbacks for eight seasons, but he has decades-long ties to the program, dating back to his 17 years under Nolan Richardson as an assistant coach. Anderson went to three NCAA tournaments with Arkansas, but the Razorbacks struggled this season and athletic director Hunter Yurachek decided it was time for a change.

So what's next?

Job description

Arkansas was one of the most consistent programs in college basketball during the early 1990s, winning a national championship in 1994 and falling in the national title game the next season. The Razorbacks also went to the Final Four in 1990. The program hasn't quite been the same since then, last advancing past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament in 1996.

That said, it's still a great job. The fan base is passionate, routinely filling up Bud Walton Arena every game. Arkansas ranked in the top 10 nationally in 2018 in average attendance.

The state routinely produces multiple high-level recruits every year, and Arkansas has done a good job keeping them home, Malik Monk notwithstanding.

There will be some big names involved for this job; who might Yurachek target to come to Fayetteville?

Who could be in the mix?

Front-runner

Kelvin Sampson, Houston: This has been the name buzzing around the Arkansas job since early in the season. Aside from Sampson's credentials, there are also some connections: Sampson worked under Yurachek when Yurachek was at Houston. The two built a good relationship during his time there. Sampson has done one of the best coaching jobs in the country the last few seasons, rebuilding the Cougars into a national name. They went to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season and face Kentucky in the Sweet 16 on Friday. He will likely be the first call, but it's not a done deal that he takes it. Money isn't a problem at Houston, and Sampson and his family are comfortable there.