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Thursday, April 11, 2013
An update on the coaching carousel

By Jason King
ESPN.com

The college basketball coaching carousel spun quickly this season. In fact, it had almost come to a complete halt by the time Louisville defeated Michigan for the NCAA title on April 8.

Athletic directors -- well, most of them -- didn't waste any time when it came to making hires. Only 10 of the Division I jobs that came open this spring have yet to be filled, and just one of those (Rutgers) is at a school from a big six conference.

Overall, this year's vacancies didn't create much fanfare or buzz. UCLA was the most high-profile job that came open. The Bruins filled the position by hiring New Mexico's Steve Alford.

Texas Tech hired a coach with an NCAA title on his résumé in Tubby Smith, and USC plucked Andy Enfield -- college basketball's newest "it" guy -- from Florida Gulf Coast.

Otherwise it's been a pretty ho-hum ride, with the game's top coaches from non-power conferences (Brad Stevens, Gregg Marshall, Josh Pastner and Shaka Smart) showing loyalty once again by staying at their current schools.

Here's my assessment of what's happened thus far:

*Interim coach

American
Out: Jeff Jones
In: TBD

Jones finished with a winning record in nine of his 13 seasons. Even though the Eagles went 10-20 in 2012-13, they had won 20 or more games in four of the previous five seasons. Jones led American to NCAA tournament appearances in 2008 and 2009. American assistant Kieran Donohue could be a candidate to replace Jones.


Ball State
Out: Billy Taylor
In: James Whitford

Athletic director Bill Scholl had a difficult time firing Taylor, who was well-liked and did a nice job of bringing the program back to respectable status. The Cardinals hope Whitford, who spent the past four years on Sean Miller's Arizona staff, can help them take that next step. As a former Xavier assistant, he has recruited the region with success.


Buffalo
Out: Reggie Witherspoon
In: Bobby Hurley

The Bulls posted winning records in seven of Witherspoon's 14 seasons but were just 14-20 in 2012-13. Hurley -- one of the all-time great point guards in Duke history -- spent the past two seasons working with his brother, Dan, at Wagner and Rhode Island.


Cal State Fullerton
Out: Andy Newman*
In: Dedrique Taylor

Taylor, who spent the past seven seasons at Arizona State, takes over a program that finished 14-18 last season, including a 6-12 mark in the Big West. The California native and UC-Davis grad has also been an assistant at Nevada. He knows the recruiting area well.


Cal State Northridge
Out: Bobby Braswell
In: Reggie Theus

Braswell spent 17 seasons with the Matadors and guided them to two NCAA tournaments. But the program has experienced its share of off-court issues and its low APR resulted in a postseason ban. Theus has been trying hard to get a college job for the past year. The former New Mexico State and Sacramento Kings coach was a solid hire.


Campbell
Out: Robbie Laing
In: Kevin McGeehan

Laing was given the boot after going 13-20 in his 10th season. McGeehan, 39, is a longtime assistant under Richmond's Chris Mooney as the Spiders' associate head coach. He has been part of a Richmond staff that has gone 147-118 over the past eight seasons, including a berth in the Sweet 16 in 2011.


Chattanooga
Out: John Shulman
In: TBD

Shulman never could develop any consistency during his nine seasons at Chattanooga, which hasn't had a winning season since 2009. Hiring Shulman's replacement will be the job of the school's new athletic director, who has yet to be named.


Drake
Out: Mark Phelps
In: Ray Giacoletti

Phelps' tenure wasn't a total failure, as he won more games than any coach in school history over his first five seasons. But Drake went just 15-17 in 2012-13. Prior to becoming a Gonzaga assistant in 2007, Giacoletti had head-coaching stints at Utah and Eastern Washington.


Fairleigh Dickinson
Out: Greg Vetrone
In: TBD

The school fired Vetrone on March 5, so it doesn't seem to be in too big of a hurry to name a successor. One name that has emerged as a potential replacement is former Kentucky and NBA player Walter McCarty. Fairleigh Dickinson went 7-24 last season.


Florida Gulf Coast
Out: Andy Enfield
In: TBD

It was pretty obvious FGCU would be looking for a new coach the minute it advanced to the Sweet 16. With some key pieces returning and a ton of fan enthusiasm, the job has become an attractive one. Names being mentioned as possible replacements for Enfield include SMU assistant Eric Snow, Arizona State assistant Eric Musselman, Wichita State assistant Chris Jans and Indiana assistant Tim Buckley.


Furman
Out: Jeff Jackson
In: Niko Medved

Jackson went 85-131 in seven seasons and was 7-24 in 2012-13. Medved was Furman's interim head coach in the spring of 2006. He has spent the past six seasons as an assistant at Colorado State.


Georgia Southern
Out: Charlton Young
In: Mark Byington

Young was one of the youngest coaches in the nation when he took over Georgia Southern's program four years ago at age 37. But he went just 43-84 overall and 14-19 last season. Byington has been an assistant under Bobby Cremins at Charleston and spent last season as an aide under first-year Virginia Tech coach James Johnson.


Hofstra
Out: Mo Cassara
In: Joe Mihalich

The former Niagara coach, Mihalich takes over a team that went 7-25 last season. Cassara guided the team to 21 wins in his first year, but things went downhill after that on and off the court. In November, the school was forced to suspend four players after they were charged with burglary.


Jackson State
Out: Tevester Anderson
In: Wayne Brent

Anderson went 149-170 in 10 years at Jackson State and won the SWAC title in 2007. But his most recent team finished 11-18. After spending six seasons on Rod Barnes' Ole Miss staff, Brent became a high school standout by winning four state titles at Callaway High.


Lipscomb
Out: Scott Sanderson
In: TBD

Sanderson resigned after going 222-201 in 14 seasons. He helped the program transition from the NAIA ranks to Division I in 2001-02. His final squad went 12-18, but it won both of its games against Florida Gulf Coast, which advanced to the Sweet 16.


Longwood
Out: Mike Gillian
In: Jayson Gee

Gillian spent 10 years at Longwood and helped guide the program into the Division I ranks. But he went 8-25 in 2012-13, prompting the change. Gee spent the past seven seasons as the associate head coach at Cleveland State. He has also worked at Ohio, Youngstown State and St. Bonaventure.


Loyola (Md.)
Out: Jimmy Patsos
In: TBD

The Greyhounds are scrambling to find a coach following the departure of Patsos to Siena after nine seasons. The program is moving from the MAAC to the Patriot League. Potential replacements include assistant coaches Raphael Chillious (Villanova), Russ Springmann (Texas) and Chris Caputo (Miami Fla.).


Marist
Out: Chuck Martin
In: Jeff Bower

Martin finished in last place in the MAAC in three of his five seasons and was eighth the past two years. His overall record was 41-118. Bower is an intriguing hire. He was an assistant under former Marist coach Dave Magarity for nine years but is more commonly known as the former general manager, assistant coach and interim head coach of the New Orleans Hornets.


Minnesota
Out: Tubby Smith
In: Richard Pitino

Smith got Minnesota's program back on track. With a 124-81 record, his tenure will be remembered as more of a success than a failure. Still he was just 46-62 in Big Ten play and won just one NCAA tournament game in six seasons. New athletic director Norwood Teague -- who hired Shaka Smart at VCU -- went with an up-and-comer in Pitino, who won 18 games in his only season at Florida International. Before that he was an assistant at Florida and also under his father, Rick, at Louisville.


New Mexico
Out: Steve Alford
In: Craig Neal

Neal and Alford made an excellent team at New Mexico. The Lobos made a wise move by hiring Neal as Alford's successor. New Mexico has a ton of good pieces returning from last year's MWC regular-season and tournament champion. It would have been foolish to further disrupt the chemistry by bringing in an outsider. The Lobos have been high on momentum, and Neal will keep it going.


Niagara
Out: Joe Mihalich
In: TBD

Mihalich spent 15 seasons reviving the Purple Eagles' program, going 265-203 during that span, including NCAA tournament appearances in 2005 and 2007. He won the MAAC regular-season title this year.


Northwestern
Out: Bill Carmody
In: Chris Collins

Northwestern officials were hoping Carmody would guide the school to its first NCAA tournament berth in school history, but he failed to accomplish that feat in 13 years. Enter Collins, a longtime Duke assistant who sees hope at a place where so many others predict doom. The Big Ten is so strong that Northwestern could get a lot better and still finish eighth or ninth in the league. The task facing Collins is definitely a tall one.


Old Dominion
Out: Blaine Taylor
In: Jeff Jones

Taylor led ODU to the NCAA tournament in 2010 and 2011 and won 22 games in 2011-12. Understandably, then, this season's 2-20 start was a shock to everyone associated with the program. Jones was 212-182 in 13 seasons at American and was Virginia's head coach from 1990-98.


Pacific
Out: Bob Thomason
In: Ron Verlin

Thomason was one of the more well-regarded low-major coaches in college basketball. Thomason, 64, spent 25 years at Pacific and has the most wins (414) of any coach in Big West history. He ended his career with a berth in this season's NCAA tournament, where Pacific fell to No. 2 seed Miami. Verlin has been Thomason's longtime assistant.


Rutgers
Out: Mike Rice
In: TBD

Video of Rice hurling basketballs at players, pushing them and cursing at them during practice prompted his firing and the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti. The scandal has made national news and could hinder Rutgers, which is moving to the Big Ten, from hiring a top-of-the-line coach. Rhode Island's Danny Hurley, Lakers assistant Eddie Jordan and Temple's Fran Dunphy have been mentioned as potential replacements.


Saint Louis
Interim coach: Jim Crews

Sources have indicated the Billikens are in discussions with Crews about becoming their permanent head coach. Crews became the interim coach in August when Rick Majerus stepped down for health reasons. Majerus died in December. Crews earned national-coach-of-the-year honors from a handful of media outlets for leading Saint Louis to a 28-7 record and a first-place finish in the Atlantic 10 Conference.


San Jose State
Out: George Nessman
In: Dave Wojcik

Looking to energize their program before next season's move to the MWC, the Spartans fired Nessman after consecutive nine-win seasons and hired Wojcik, a Boise State assistant who has spent time at Wake Forest and Tulsa.


Siena
Out: Mitch Buonaguro
In: Jimmy Patsos

Buonaguro, who replaced Fran McCaffery, averaged just 11.6 wins in three seasons and went 8-24 in 2012-13. The Saints stayed within the MAAC to pluck Patsos -- a longtime Gary Williams assistant -- from Loyola (Md.), where he guided the Greyhounds to the NCAA tournament in 2012.


South Alabama
Out: Ronnie Arrow
In: Matthew Graves

Arrow resigned Dec. 19 following a 5-5 start. He was in his second run at South Alabama and was 97-68 overall. Graves was an assistant at Butler when the Bulldogs made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA title game.


South Carolina State
Out: Tim Carter
In: Murray Garvin

Carter resigned in February after a 4-17 start that included an 0-8 mark in the MEAC. He had lost 24 straight conference games. Garvin was Carter's associate head coach.


Stephen F. Austin
Out: Danny Kaspar
In: TBD

The Lumberjacks are looking for a new coach for the first time in 13 years after Kaspar's somewhat surprising decision to bolt for in-state rival Texas State. Kaspar led SFA to the Southland Conference regular-season title last month.


Texas-Pan American
Out: Ryan Marks
In: Dan Hipsher

Marks took UTPA from a 6-25 squad two years ago to a 16-16 team this season, which makes his firing seem a bit strange. With the Broncos heading to the WAC next season, the school's new athletic director wanted a fresh start, so he went with Hipsher, an Alabama assistant who has been the head coach at Akron and Stetson.


Texas State
Out: Doug Davalos
In: Danny Kaspar

Kaspar averaged 23 wins over the past six seasons at Stephen F. Austin. He'll help Texas State's transition into the Sun Belt Conference. Texas State went 12-22 this season and 5-13 in the WAC.


Texas Tech
Out: Chris Walker*
In: Tubby Smith

Texas Tech higher-ups stepped in and prevented athletic director Kirby Hocutt from naming Walker the permanent coach. Smart move. After making a risk hire in football, the Red Raiders couldn't afford to take any chances in their other top spot. They needed a veteran coach to clean up a messy situation. Smith, 61, has an NCAA title on his résumé. He may be in Lubbock for just three or four years, but at the very least he'll get the program back on solid footing. This has been one of the better hires thus far.


Troy
Out: Don Maestri
In: Phil Cunningham

The Trojans had to find a new coach for the first time since 1982 after Maestri retired following 31 seasons at the school. In Cunningham, Troy hired a coach with 20 years of experience at schools such as Mississippi State, Georgia State and Western Kentucky. He knows the area well, having recruited players such as Jarvis Varnado and Arnett Moultrie to Mississippi State.


UCLA
Out: Ben Howland
In: Steve Alford

Howland led UCLA to three straight Final Fours and won the Pac-12 title outright this season. But his prickly personality caused him to fall out of favor with boosters and area high school and AAU coaches. Alford will repair that situation quickly. Coaching-wise, he may not be that much better than his predecessor, but he'll handle the L.A. spotlight and the other intangibles associated with this high-profile job better than Howland. A lack of success in the NCAA tournament has damaged Alford's reputation a bit, but he is an excellent coach who led New Mexico to four MWC titles in the last five years.


UMKC
Out: Matt Brown
In: Kareem Richardson

The Kangaroos got a coach with a national title on his résumé in Richardson, who spent the past season working under Rick Pitino at Louisville. He was an assistant at UMKC in 2007-08.


UNC-Asheville
Out: Eddie Biedenbach
In: TBD

Biedenbach resigned after 17 seasons to become an assistant under Buzz Peterson at UNC-Wilmington. Biedenbach led the Bulldogs to five Big South titles and three NCAA tournament appearances. Assistant Nick McDevitt, who played under Biedenbach, is expected to be one of the top candidates to replace his former coach.


USC
Out: Bob Cantu*
In: Andy Enfield

The Trojans made a big splash by hiring the flavor-of-the-month in Enfield, who guided No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16. His teams play a fun, up-tempo style that usually results in a lot of highlight-reel dunks. USC officials hope that will help draw interest from a disinterested fan base and lure recruits who love playing with freedom. Still, Enfield is a bit unproven. He has been a college head coach for just two seasons. This may work out, but I'm a little surprised USC didn't go with a safer hire at a time when it can't afford to make another mistake.