CARBONDALE — Texas Tech spoke to SIU men’s basketball coach Barry Hinson earlier this week about its vacant men’s basketball coach position.
The Red Raiders have also spoken with Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton, Indiana assistant coach Steve McClain and former Nebraska coach Kenneth “Doc” Sadler, who is at Kansas as the director of basketball operations, according to the Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal.
Hinson was the director of basketball operations at Kansas under longtime friend Bill Self before signing a five-year, $1.475 million contract with the Salukis last March.
Reached Tuesday, Hinson said Texas Tech asked SIU Athletic Director Mario Moccia for permission to speak with him, and was granted that right.
“I was not searching for, nor am I seeking a job. I am extremely happy at Southern Illinois, but I honored their request and sat down and visited with their administration,” Hinson said.
SIU finished 14-17, 6-12 in the Missouri Valley Conference in Hinson’s first year. It was the most wins by the Salukis since 2009-10, when they finished 15-15.
SIU beat Wichita State, Northern Iowa and Indiana State, three teams that finished in the top half of the league, at SIU Arena. The Salukis also snapped a 15-game road losing streak in Valley play in the regular-season finale at Drake.
Hinson finished third in the MVC coach of the year voting, the highest finish for a coach from a last-place team. SIU won five of its last seven conference games after starting the season 1-10.
Hinson, an Oklahoma State grad, is 219-157 in 12 seasons as a Division I head coach with three 20-win seasons.
Including his first season at SIU, Hinson has only two losing seasons as a head coach.
Three starters could return for the Salukis in 2013-14, including honorable mention all-conference pick Desmar Jackson. Hinson signed five players last year, three of them high school seniors.
On the academic side, he helped the team register its highest cumulative GPA (2.94) since 1995.
“I know I’m part of the process, and I as I told Texas Tech, I have a great job and I’m extremely happy, and I’m humbled by their desire to reach out to me,” Hinson said.
Hinson’s contract includes a buyout clause should he choose to end it. If he leaves SIU to become the head coach somewhere else this month, he must pay the school $200,000. If he leaves after April 1, the number goes down to $150,000. It goes down to $100,000 after the end of March 2014.
Billy Gillispie resigned from Texas Tech before his second season was over, citing health concerns. He made a reported $800,000 per year.
Assistant coach Chris Walker finished the year, which ended 11-20 after Kansas knocked them out of the Big 12 tournament, but could be one of the leading candidates to succeed Gillespie.
On Twitter: @THefferman_SI