UPDATED: College Basketball Coaching Carousel is in Full Swing12 min read
With the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament in the books, the College Basketball coaching carousel is moving full speed ahead. Many of the big names (and some surprising ones) have already fallen in place. Below is a list and eventual breakdown (this post will be updated as jobs open and close) of all coaching movements and, if disclosed, terms and salary for each.
Akron Zips – John Groce
Arkansas State Red Wolves – Mike Balado
Austin Peay Governors – Matt Figger
Figger was an assistant under Frank Martin for the past 5 seasons. Martin has talked at length about how much pride he takes in his former assistants and that his track record has been strong. Figger, he said, was just a matter of time. Figger is a relative unknown, he does come from a great coaching tree and should have a solid head on his shoulders. He is taking over at a tough job in that Dave Loos was a beloved coach at APSU and was there for 27 years.
Bethune-Cookman Wildcats – Ryan Ridder
California Golden Bears – Wyking JonesCalifornia-Santa Barbara Gauchos – Joe Pasternak
California-Santa Barbara Gauchos – Joe Pasternak
Chattanooga Moc – Lamont Paris
Cleveland State Vikings – Dennis Felton
The former Georgia and Western Kentucky head man takes over at Cleveland State for Gary Waters, who retired after 11 seasons. The local opinion is not great, Felton does not have area ties, but comes with a strong affirmation from Waters and has a great resume behind him. Felton is heralded as a fantastic recruiter and he will have to live up to that if he wants to see success as CSU is a tough place for any coach to win. Despite local opinion, I think that Felton is a solid choice for the program and can bring them back to relevance in the Horizon League, potentially getting them back the dance in the next 3 years.
Dayton Flyers – Anthony Grant
Duquesne Dukes – Keith Dambrot
This hire is fascinating for a lot of reasons. For those who don’t know who Dambrot is, he was Akron’s head coach for the last 13 years and is the winningest coach in program history. If you like crazy stats, his Akron program is one of four total to win 21+ games each of the last 12 seasons, the others were Duke, Gonzaga, and Kansas. Not bad company at all. Dambrot built Akron into a powerhouse in the MAC and a perennial conference champion contender each season. Duquesne is desperate for a winner. Absolutely desperate (they’ve had 6 winning seasons in their last 36). They got a great coach in Dambrot that has a track record of building and winning. Love this hire for Duquesne, which is a tough, tough job. This move is surprising because Dambrot is an Akron alumnus and native and had already turned down the South Florida job, there is a rumor that Duquesne is paying him $7m over 7 years which is massive money for a mid-major of Duquesne’s size.
Drake Bulldogs – Niko Medved
Drake lands Niko Medved, the man who led Furman to a 23-11 season that finished with a CIT semifinal appearance. Medved, in just four seasons, turned the Paladins around from a 9-21 inaugural season to their fantastic finish last year. Drake is in a precarious situation. The Valley, with the news of Wichita State’s potential departure, would be wide-open next year. Any team that could load up and find the right pieces could find themselves in the NCAA Tournament for years to come. Medved has coached under some solid mentors in Tim Miles and Larry Eustachy, he will need to prove he can recruit at MVC level to make the Bulldogs competitive again.
Georgetown Hoyas – Patrick Ewing
I’m still on the fence about this. I absolutely prefer this to the hire of Mullin at St. John’s but am not quite sure. I understand Georgetown wanted Shaka or Brey and both respectfully declined, but I still think a young guy like Jamion Christian, who could reenergize the fanbase would have been a great hire. All that said, I think Ewing could be a phenomenal coach. He is an unproven recruiter, but has worked and made plenty of connections at the NBA level, ya know, besides playing there for 17 years. Both G-Town and Ewing are in an interesting situation this year. If he can salvage the recruiting class — bring Tremont Waters back — he will have plenty of talent in what looks to be a wide-open Big East behind Villanova (Seton Hall still waiting on Angel Delgado’s draft decision). Immediately, Georgetown will get to test Ewing’s recruiting and game management.
George Washington Colonials – Maurice Joseph
Illinois Fighting Illini – Brad Underwood
Huge hire for the Illini, Underwood is getting a 6-year deal worth more than $3m per season. He was making around $1m at OK State, which is a gross underpayment for a proven winner. This is a great move for Illinois, they need a total and complete change from the John Groce era and Underwood is going to bring scoring and pace to Champaign. OK State was a top 5 (number 1 I believe) team in offensive efficiency this season after ranking sub-300 the year before. In just a season Underwood turned it around, with arguably equal, if not better, pieces at U of I the sky is the limit. Oh, and I mentioned he’s a winner, right? His record in four years as the head man is 109-26.
Indiana Hoosiers – Archie Miller
After much speculation and seemingly unfounded reports of Steve Alford being the favorite for the job, IU landed Dayton’s Archie Miller as their new head man. For most, it seemed almost certain that the next Hoosier head coach would be from the state of Ohio, with either Miller or Xavier’s Chris Mack taking over. Miller built Dayton into a mid-major power that is a March constant. Tom Crean did the hard part and that was reviving a floundering Indiana program, it is Miller’s time to bring them back to glory. I love this hire, I am a big fan of Miller and think that the job he did at Dayton could be one of the best we’ve seen in recent College Basketball history. Never has a coach done more with less. He will have a bevy of talent, resources, and support at IU to bring them back to the national spotlight.
LSU Tigers – Will Wade
The former Shaka Smart assistant has landed a head coaching gig in the bayou following two seasons as the head man for VCU. I don’t hate the move for LSU, at this point anyone is better than Johnny Jones. My issue with Wade is he has moved so quickly from job to job — granted he wins, but more on that later — and hasn’t really had a chance to dig in and build a program, which is exactly what LSU is in need of. That being said his overall head coaching record is fantastic, 91-45, and has made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances with records of 25-11 and 26-9 respectively. I think it’s a good hire for LSU.
Miami (Ohio) Redhawks – Jack Owens
Owens is leaving West Lafayette after 9 years as an assistant for Matt Painter. There is a lot to be learned about the game, but 9 years sure is a long time for a young coach to sit by. There is a rumor that he had turned down jobs previously because he didn’t want to uproot his family. Cannot speak ill against that, true family man, but this promotion has been a long time coming for Owens. With all that said, Miami is an incredibly difficult job. The campus is beautiful, but it is in the middle of nowhere Ohio. Getting star athletes to go there will be difficult and winning there is also very tough, he should be given a bevy of resources and most importantly, time, if Miami wants to turn into a winner. I don’t hate the move, but there may have been better coaches out there.
Missouri Tigers – Cuonzo Martin
Love this move for both parties. Cuonzo is a proven winner and phenomenal recruiter, just check out his classes at Cal. Not to mention he’s from nearby (East St. Louis, IL…okay so not that close but in the region). Missouri needs a complete and total revamp of the program and he is a very good guy to put in charge of that. And change might be coming very quickly to Columbia as Michael Porter Sr. was just added to the staff and his son, Michael Porter Jr. has asked for his release from his commitment to Washington following the firing of Lorenzo Romar. All signs point to Porter Jr. joining the Tigers next season, landing Cuonzo the #1 recruit in the country. Absolutely fantastic hire by Missouri.
Morehead State Eagles – Preston Spradlin
North Carolina State Wolfpack – Kevin Keats
Keats has been one of the hottest names among mid-major coaches in the past two seasons leading UNC-Wilmington to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Unfortunately, his teams failed to pull off upsets in both games, but he did manage to land himself a huge gig. I still see NC State as one of the classic, historic, prestigious basketball schools and think it’s one of the better jobs in the country. And it looks like recruits feel the same as Dennis Smith Jr. signed on for his obligatory one year before heading off to the NBA. Keats is a fairly unproven guy at the high major level so it will be interesting to see how well he recruits in his first few seasons in Raleigh.
North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks – CB McGrath
North Texas Mean Green – Grant McCasland
Oklahoma State Cowboys – Mike Boynton
Boynton was promoted from an assistant position to the head coach job after Brad Underwood bolted for the Illinois job. Boynton had been an assistant under Brad Underwood at SFA and OK State, he will take over as a relative unknown to most of the college basketball world. The good news is that there should be quite a bit of talent returning to Stillwater, despite the departure of Juwan Evans to the NBA Draft. This is a huge crossroads for the Cowboy program and a hire that AD Mike Holder needs to pan out after the past two coaches, Travis Ford and the aforementioned Underwood, did not work as they had expected.
Quinnipiac Bobcats – Baker Dunleavy
Dunleavy a seven-year assistant under GQ Jay at Villanova will be the new head man for the Bobcats. Very quickly after the announcement, there has been quite the exodus from the Quinnipiac program as many players including their second leading scorer, Peter Kiss. This is a total rebuild job for Dunleavy in his first head coaching gig. I don’t hate the move, he knows the Northeast well and coached under one of the better coaches in the game right now with Wright, but he has no previous track record of success. Dunleavy is young (34) and has a great basketball pedigree in his family (older brother Mike and dad Mike Sr), I think he will do well.
Rice Owls – Scott Pera
Seattle Redhawks – Jim Hayford
In one of the wildest moves of the coaching carousel, Jim Hayford leaves Eastern Washington, for a team in the same conference that he had a 5-1 record against. That team is Seattle. Hayford heads to Seattle with a solid resume, earning 360 career wins and having 18 years experience under his belt. I love this move by Seattle, it is the classic, “if you can’t beat em, join em” move but in this case, joining them is taking their coach. Hayford revitalized an otherwise dead EWU program and has the chance to do the same with Seattle.
South Florida Bulls – Brian Gregory
UMass Minutemen – Matt McCall
VCU Rams – Mike Rhoades
Another former Shaka Smart assistant has returned home to VCU, but the question is for how long? VCU has become the hotbed for up-and-coming coaches to launch their careers and land a high-major, power SIX conference job. Rhoades did a decent job at Rice, in three years, he was a few games under .500 at 47-52 overall, but he needed to fix that program so not all fault can be given for his record. The Owls did go 23-12 this year and finish 2nd in the CBI (if anyone cares about that). He knows the school, knows the area and the system, he and VCU should be fine.
Washington Huskies – Mike Hopkins
Very interesting hire here, obviously the contract extension must have been offered and accepted by Boeheim before this move was made as Hopkins was the “coach in waiting” at Cuse. Hopkins had been there for 22 years (!!! one less year than I’ve been alive!), but is originally from California and I do not blame him one bit for wanting to leave Syracuse, NY for Seattle. I think Hopkins will do very well at Washington, he has a tough bar to match in terms of recruiting as his predecessor, Lorenzo Romar, was one of the best in the game. But Hopkins knows the region, knows the game very well and it will be interesting to see if he brings that pesky 2-3 zone with him to Washington.
Youngstown State Penguins – Jerrod Calhoun
Calhoun was plucked away from Fairmont State in West Virginia where he led the Fighting Falcons to a national runner-up this year and a 34-3 record. Look, I am never a fan of trying to pull a guy from a different level of collegiate athletics to run a D1 program. You can always find a guy who has a gaudy record and decent accolades from the lower levels, but does he have the recruiting, charisma, or in-game ability. It is very difficult to judge that at lower levels. I’m very on the fence about this, come see me in two years and I’ll give my verdict.
Portland State Vikings — Fired Tyler Geving
LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds — Fired Jack Perri
Eastern Washington – Lost Jack Hayford to Seattle
Alabama A&M Bulldogs — Fired Willie Hayes
Florida A&M Rattlers — Fired Byron Samuels
Grambling Tigers — Fired Shawn Walker