April 17, 2024
College basketball coaching changes 2023: Texas, Georgetown, Syracuse, St. John’s lead jobs filled
Out: Mike Brennan | In: Duane Simpkins
Brennan lasted a decade at American, but only made the NCAAs in his first season there. Simpkins get plucked locally, after having served the past two seasons on Kim English’s staff at George Mason. He played at Maryland and is from the area. Logical hire. Out: Mike Balado | In: Bryan Hodgson
The Wolves were coached by Balado for six years and fired him after his buyout dropped in mid-March. The program last made the NCAAs in 1999. As expected, Hodgson, an Alabama assistant, was the pick. Expectations have spiked in Jonesboro. Out: Jimmy Allen | In: Kevin Kuwik
The Black Knights played seven years under Allen and were, for the most part, a middle-of-the-pack Patriot League team. Kuwik is a decorated, longtime assistant with a background in the military, having spent a decade in the Armed Forces. Really, one of the best hires of this year’s cycle. He comes via Butler University. Out: Nate James | In: Corey Gipson
James was out less than two years after taking the job. The former Duke assistant was 17 games under .500 through two seasons (21-38), but Austin Peay was a job in transition, moving from the OVC to the ASUN this season. Gipson moved quickly to get this job, and I’m told was able to push for an aggressive salary pool in the negotiating process. Out: Michael Huger | In: Todd Simon
The Falcons hired Southern Utah coach Todd Simon, who was 38-14 the last three years for the Thunderbirds. Bowling Green is one of the toughest jobs in the MAC. Out: Nathan Davis | In: John Griffin III
Bucknell split from Davis after eight seasons, which included a 129-155 record and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018. It hired Griffin, an ’08 alum, and someone who was associate head coach at Saint Joseph’s the past four years. “As an alum, the success of Bucknell Athletics resonates with me on a deep level, and I look forward to bringing the Patriot League championship back to Sojka Pavilion,” Griffin said. He was a starter for multiple Bucknell NCAAT teams. Out: Jim Whitesell | In: George Halcovage
The Bulls made four NCAA Tournaments in five years under Bobby Hurley and Nate Oats, but the momentum couldn’t continue under Whitesell. The search process to land their man took longer than Buffalo’s administration desired, but ultimately it brings in Halcovage who, no big deal, only helped coach Villanova to a couple of national titles. This is his first head-coaching gig. Out: Trent Johnson
The Matadors have a program in peril. Mark Gottfried was fired in 2021 and Trent Johnson was unable to change the trajectory. This is the worst job in the Big West at current. Who takes on the challenge? Out: Juan Dixon
The Maryland basketball legend was a flop at Coppin State, lasting six seasons and going 9-23 this year. There is some major clean-up to be done here. Out: Desmond Oliver | In: Brooks Savage
Two seasons and done for Oliver, who went 27-37. It wasn’t so long ago that ETSU was competing for NCAA Tournaments and winning the SoCon under Steve Forbes. And so Savage, a former ETSU assistant under Forbes, gets the job on a four-year contract. Out: Tobin Anderson | In: Jack Castleberry
The best story of the NCAA Tournament turned into a job that Anderson only had for 10 months. After the Knights upset 1-seed Purdue and nearly knocked off No. 9 FAU, Anderson’s quickly rumored candidacy at Iona became official. Castleberry was promptly promoted one seat over on the bench. Out: Kim English | In: Tony Skinn
Two-and-through for English, who got the rare opportunity to make a leap from the A-10 to the Big East after just two seasons as a head coach. Skinn is a program legend, having been a major part of the 2006 team that made the Final Four. There is a lot of roster work to do, but Skinn has developed a good reputation in the past half-decade as he’s earned his stripes in the profession. Out: Brian Burg | In: Charlie Henry
The Eagles bring in Henry, an assistant at Alabama, to try and bring some life into an Eagles program that is arguably the worst in the Sun Belt. Henry replaces Burg who was on a weirdly short leash and only given three years by athletic director Jared Benko. The Eagles went 43-45 in three seasons. Out: Will Ryan | In: Sundance Wicks
Wicks, an assistant coach for Wyoming the past three seasons, replaces Ryan, who was fired after he went 2-19 this season. Green Bay is one of the toughest jobs in the Horizon League. Out: G.G. Smith | In: Alan Huss
Tubby Smith’s son was promoted to the full-time job a year ago but was fired following a 14-17 season. Similar to Bucknell in the Patriot League, High Point is a highly coveted job in the Big South because of its campus setting and facilities. Huss comes via Creighton, and was the choice after a few other assistants at high-major jobs turned down High Point’s offers. Out: Brett Nelson | In: Dave Paulsen
Nelson went 27-84 in four seasons. The Crusaders, who reside in the Patriot League, have made one NCAA Tournament since 2007. The school did a great job in getting Paulsen, who has previous head coaching experience at Bucknell and George Mason. Out: Zac Claus | In: Alex Pribble
Pribble, an assistant at Seattle, was hired to replace Claus, who went 28-88 with the Vandals. Idaho is an appealing mid-major job in that part of the country now due to new facilities, but it’s traditionally a sub-par team in the Big Sky. Out: Rick Pitino | In: Tobin Anderson
Iona resuscitated Pitino’s career, and after three years he became irresistible at the power-conference level, so off he goes to St. John’s. Two NCAA Tournament appearances and a boost in relevance. The Gaels wasted no time in plucking Anderson away from FDU. It’s not just his single year at FDU that gives Anderson credence; he was highly regarded as a Division II coach long before he coached Cinderella’s latest story. Out: Amir Abdur-Rahim
Kennesaw State won one game in Abdur-Rahim’s first season. After Year 4, he parlayed an NCAA Tournament appearance into an opportunity at South Florida. Kennesaw State now needs to replace the only coach responsible for an NCAA Tournament bid in school history. Out: Steve Masiello | In: John Gallagher
The 11-16 Jaspers had a sideways campaign after firing Masiello on the precipice of the regular season. RaShawn Stores did an admirable job in a very tough situation, but the administration opted against keeping Stores in favor of Gallagher, who took Hartford (now in D-III) to its one and only NCAA Tournament showing in 2021. Out: John Aiken | In: Will Wade
Aiken was fired after just two seasons and a 22-45 overall record. Former coach Heath Schroyer is now the AD and decided Wade was worth the risk. Wade is awaiting a ruling from the IRP due to his role in LSU’s case, wherein he was caught on a wiretap talking about paying players. That verdict will come down in the spring. The day after his introductory presser, the school suspended Wade from summer recruiting and the first five games of next season. Out: Bill Herrion
The UNH job is open for the first time since the mid-aughts. Herrion’s contract was not renewed after he went 227-303 in 18 seasons with the Wildcats. The search has been a bit torturous.  Out: Brian Kennedy | In: Grant Billmeier
A seven-year run with one above-.500 season (2018-19) led to Kennedy’s resignation on March 6. Billmeier is a longtime assistant to Kevin Willard (and now is among the tallest head coaches in the game). Out: Greg Heiar | In: Jason Hooten
A calamity of tragedy and abuse poisoned this program, so much so that the school’s chancellor shut the season down in February. Days later, Heiar was rightfully fired in the midst of his first season. The Aggies have had a tournament-level team 11 times since 2007. Hooten quietly did well at the Southland level with Sam Houston State. This is a challenging step up. Out: Will Jones | In: Monte Ross
NC A&T is in the midst of a challenging transition from the MEAC to the Big South to the CAA in a three-year span. Interim coach Phillip Shumpert kept the Aggies competitive in the league after Jones was fired. Ross spent a decade coaching Delaware and was most recently on staff at Temple. To land a coach with this much experience is a good sign for the Aggies. Out: Grant McCasland | In: Ross Hodge
The Mean Green had two NCAA Tournament-level teams in McCasland’s six seasons. Now that he’s off to Lubbock to coach Texas Tech, it means Hodge’s long-awaited chance at being a head coach has come to pass. Hodge is a defensive mastermind who will seek to boost UNT’s profile as the school moves to the American. Out: Corey Gipson | In: Rick Cabrera
After Gipson left after just one season to take the Austin Peay job, the program hired Tallahassee Community College’s Rick Cabrera. That’s a whiplash-like turn after having Mike McConathy from 1999-2022. Out: Paul Mills | In: Russell Springmann
A second NCAA Tournament appearance in a three-year span was enough to get Mills a highly coveted job in not-so-far-away Wichita State. The Golden Eagles made a savvy move and promoted Russell Springmann. Long-overdue chance for Springmann, who rose to prominence in the business more than 15 years ago as an assistant at Texas for Rick Barnes. Out: Jason Hooten | In: Chris Mudge
This was a fairly streamlined process. Hooten was flirting with New Mexico State for nearly two weeks, and as it became obvious he was going to take that job, Mudge became the top candidate, as he should have been. Mudge’s time with SHS goes back to 2010, when he was hired as an assistant.  Out: Brian Gregory | In: Amir Abdur-Rahim
The Bulls had one above-.500 season in six years under Gregory, who left with a 79-107 mark. USF is a tough job in a league (the American) that is bringing on six members this summer after losing Houston, Cincinnati and UCF to the Big 12. Abdur-Rahim is a nice save after a mess of a search. He just took Kennesaw State to the NCAA Tournament and is on a great career trajectory. Out: Sean Woods | In: Kevin Johnson
The Jaguars made a change after five years with Woods, which was a surprise at that level of hoops. Johnson, a Tulane assistant the past few seasons, has been tapped for this Baton Rouge gig. Out: Todd Simon
Simon left after going 65-28 overall and 38-14 the last three years for the Thunderbirds to take over at Bowling Green. That SUU logo’s got some hostile energy. Out: Aaron McKie | In: Adam Fisher
McKie went 52-56 in four seasons and will remain on as a special advisor for the athletics department. Temple’s search was the messiest process of any hiring this cycle. Curiously, the school opted against the layup of bringing in Colgate’s Matt Langel, who would have been a home run. That’s not to bag on Fisher, who knows the recruiting territory here. This might well work. We’ll see. But Temple is in a desperate phase right now. Fisher comes over by way of Penn State, where he helped Micah Shrewsberry reboot that program. Out: Steve Lutz | In: Jim Shaw
Two years, two NCAA Tournaments, and now Lutz heads to Western Kentucky. The Islanders’ gig is in a great location and is probably the best job in the Southland at this point. Shaw was promoted in-house after helping Lutz turn the program around. Out: Greg Young | In: K.T. Turner
Young was fired in February following less than two years on the job. Turner, who has great recruiting connections across Texas, arrives after spending the past two seasons as an assistant at Kentucky and Oklahoma. He will be the program’s fifth in a seven-year span. It’s been bungled since Scott Cross’ quizzical firing (after winning 72 games in three seasons) in 2018. Out: Ryan Odom
Odom is an East Coast lifer, so the move back to VCU is no surprise. If anything, he kept USU relevant in the Mountain West and has the program positioned to remain stable moving forward, provided the next hire is the right fit. This job is a hidden gem in the MW. Out: Mark Madsen
The Wolverines were a respected program under their past two coaches: Madsen and Mark Pope. It’s a quality WAC job in a good spot in Utah, so there is more appeal here than most might realize. If I’m Utah Valley’s athletic director, I’m trying to land the best sitting head coach possible who’s worked in the Mountain or Pacific time zone. Out: Matt Lottich
A late firing in the process, but one that came after the buyout dropped, I was told. This is a small-time program (that needs upgrades) with a big-time name at that level. A few early candidates have turned Valpo down, but be on the lookout for this job to close in the coming days.  Out: Mike Rhoades | In: Ryan Odom
An agonizing decision for Rhoades, who felt he had to leave VCU and the A-10. The reason? No, not just the money. More than anything: Playing in the Big Ten, even at Penn State, affords him a more likely chance on a yearly basis to be in the NCAA Tournament than at VCU. The Rams have a better program right now than Penn State — and easily way more fan support — but do they have a better situation, big-picture? You can argue either way. Odom makes sense as an immediate replacement. He knows the area, will recruit well and is a good fit. The pressure will be on to keep up with VCU’s winning ways, though. Out: Rick Stansbury | In: Steve Lutz
Stansbury’s run lasted seven years and included a .610 winning percentage (139-89), but he’s the first coach in program history to fail to reach the NCAA Tournament. This is a good mid-major job with proud tradition. Lutz figures to restore some roar to a region with which he’s familiar. This is a quality hire, and Lutz has a good recruiter’s eye. Out: Isaac Brown | In: Paul Mills
Brown was interim coach in 2020-21, got Wichita State to the First Four and was given the full-time job. The past two seasons: 32-28. The Shockers finished outside the top 100 at KenPom. Mills went 106-83 in six seasons at Oral Roberts and made two NCAA Tournaments. This is a key hire at a crucial time for the program. That fan base will not settle for “good enough.” Out: Jay McAuley | In: Dwight Perry
The Terriers had McAuley for less than 2.5 seasons; he was pushed out due to internal strife between him and the players. Dwight Perry coached the team in his stead and wound up somewhat surprisingly earning the job after Wofford finished 16-15. “He did a great job during the past season of bringing stability to the program and building a culture of teamwork, grit and competitiveness. We look forward watching the program move forward under his leadership,” AD Richard Johnson said.