If the rumors are true, the Blazers are about to be in the market for a new coach. Sources are saying Jerod Haase is already packing his bags for Stanford.

It would be hard to blame him. The PAC 12 had seven NCAA Tournament berths this year. Stanford just fired Johnny Dawkins after several sub par seasons, and it can’t be denied that Dawkins was given more than a fair amount of time., so Stanford has patience. Plus, Coach Haase is from California, so this would be a homecoming for he and his family.

To be honest, I think North Carolina connections may be pushing this hire to happen. It appears the Tar Heels are applying a full court press to get Haase this job. There are a couple of reasons why this is on the radar of UNC in the midst of a major tournament run in March.

One is simple. Having a North Carolina guy replace a former Duke player/coach would be a huge plus for the Tar Heel faithful. Johnny Dawkins was a Coach K guy through and through. Getting a former Tar Heel assistant and Roy Williams protégé to replace a Blue Devil would be another shot in this long running rivalry. Never underestimate the lengths a rival will go to hurt the other – especially a blood rivalry like Duke-UNC has.

The second reason North Carolina may want this is much more compelling. It’s my personal belief that Jerod Haase has been tabbed by many to be the next coach of the Tar Heels. I’ve been led to believe this by someone with UNC ties. Roy Williams may have to retire sooner than he likes if his health doesn’t improve. Rumors are that Williams is not looking to retire yet.

If UNC is seriously looking at Haase to be their next coach, the Stanford job would be yet another stepping stone for Haase. While Haase is beloved in Chapel Hill, it would be a tough sell to boosters to hire him straight from UAB. There is no denying his success at a strong mid-major in Birmingham. The Tar Heels would still need to see success at a larger conference level. So why not get him a run at a top 40 program across the country in another conference?

If Haase succeeds there it would do two things. First it would prove his worth at a major conference program and justify him as a potential UNC head coach. Secondly, it would have little affect on UNC currently. If the Tar Heels have this much confidence in Haase, it’s unlikely they’d want him to go to ACC brethren Pitt. Add all of this up and Mark Ingram may have a big decision on the horizon.