DI Assistants Peeking Out
From Behind the Curtain

Peeking out from behind the curtain, these are the lesser known assistant coaches who, for the most part, sit further down the bench positioning themselves for the next step this off season.

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Kyle Roane – SE Louisiana

Strong at recruiting the Mississippi and Louisiana area, Roane’s return to the Lions den makes total sense. He helped recruit a number of players on the current Southeastern squad his first time around and with more experience he has hit the ground running. Developing his coaching resume through the High School, JUCO, LM and MM levels, he is a head coach in the waiting.

John Aiken – Nicholls State

He first developed UT Martin and now continues that success with Nicholls. His NAIA head coaching experience serves him well as he exceeds expectations by teaching and developing players. He penetrates key markets for recruiting while learning from his colleagues in camps at Louisville, Xavier, Connecticut, Wake Forest, Florida State, and Miami.

Jason Slay – Youngstown State

Slay worked his way up from prep, and DII levels. Prior to entering the DI space ,Slay coached ten players to DI from Hargrave Military Academy. Those efforts have opened doors nationally that now allows YSU to reach the likes of NC, VA and more. The well rounded assistant is dedicated to player development and an extroverted, vocal passion for both game and player.

Gus Argenal - Nevada

Should Musselman move on this off season, Nevada need only knock on the office two doors down to find his successor. Argenal is highly capable of taking the reins. He has tons of successful experiences in the region from Texas to California and more, at multiple levels. He recruits All-conference players, his X’s & O’s show a high basketball IQ PG who is able to direct his team.

Andrew Wilson – Georgia Southern

A former assist at Charleston (under Cremins), Wilson delivers a deep understanding of the Southern Conference Championship level. Beyond basketball, the Georgia native has an abundance of life experiences to teach. Coming back from two career ending injuries, he only grew stronger to become the all-time leader in games played at Florida State.

Garrett Lever – Weber State

Lever understands culture. He’s a solid communicator with kids who flat-out makes them better and better. Son to an eleven year pro and two-time NBA All-Star, he learned allot at a young age. Perhaps the greatest lesson he can impart on his players is that of dedication and hard work; first leading by example.

Kevin Johnson – ULL

Putting in the work year round, the twenty three year veteran displays the passion and dedication he had year one. Defense and recruiting have traveled well with him at every stop but he’s also an underrated development coach. Some of his finest work comes in the form of NBA player Paul Millsap.

John Griffin – Bucknell

The fiery coach wants to win. Period. Still, he balances that with having the best interest of the players, and the program at heart. He places an emphasis on his player’s lives. A true leader, the son of a coach is a former Bison player able to articulate that experience and success along to the new recruits.

Tyler Murray – Furman

He got the job done in DII. Today he proves, day in day out, the game doesn’t change a level up. His career has seen a number of firsts. He transitioned Shorter U. to DII and a new conference (Gulf South); he captured their first conference championship since 1977; he helped his team to their most successful run in program history.

Brian Cooley – Wright State

Cooley was instrumental in the success of South Dakota State as HC Nagy’s right hand man. The relentless recruiter and skill development coach, has produced thirteen all conference players, one player of the year, and an all-time leading scorer and assists man, plus one NBA draftee. Fully developed, his players also land on the Academic All-League Team.

James Kane – Dayton 

For a second appearance this season, it makes sense to see one of the top off season hires also make this list. Most recently Kane served at Murray State where they made history and he assisted a 31-2 record in his first season at the school (2011-12) in which the Racers were ranked for 13 weeks and were in the top-10 for the first time in school history.

Michael Wilder – UC Irvine

A big part of the success they are having in Irvine, Wilder recounts his own experiences as a player when discussing in-game strategies during every timeout. His innate ability to connect with players and the community well serves the university, team, staff and players lifting everyone to a higher level.

Ben Walker – South Dakota State

Excited about the opportunity to coach and make his players better, Walker is most passionate about the job itself. His work ethic and ability to recruit on a national level will continue the upswing of basketball talent in Brookings SD. A former Creighton player, he knows well success at the highest level and how to develop championship players individually as well as a team. 

Bobby Kennen - North Florida

Widely regarded as the top assistant in the Atlantic Sun, Kennen does it all. Beyond his team, he is active in the coaching community as witnessed by previously serving on the NABC Assistant Coaches Committee to assist needs and concerns related to the profession for all assistants. A finalist for the Flagler job last year, it won’t be long before he gets his own program.

Brock Erickson - Kent State

Erickson landed in Kent with a track record of success as arguably the winningest assistant coach in Iona history. He can recruit to Kent also delivering Iona’s potent offense to enhance the already brilliant chess game Senderoff instills while continuing to be successful.  

Brooks Savage -ETSU

From in-game coaching to video prep. and scouting, to recruiting and player development, he does it all with a perfection and intuition few can match. The former Tennessee GA knows the southeast well which has allowed him to hit the ground running at ETSU. He aided the NWFS program to a NJCAA national runner-up, 32 wins and developed 11 DI signees. 

Darris Nichols - Florida

Simply put, championship and all conference performers have shadowed him throughout his career regardless of location, level, or job title. A unique playing career, he leaned well both offense and defense playing for both Bob Huggins and John Beilein at WVU. Without question, he is already getting some looks for the next step.

Seth Cooper – UIC

Cooper played a major role in the NBA D League Maine Red Claws back-to-back division titles. With a strong reputation as a great leader, and excellent player-development coach (Victor Oladipo and Jerian Grant), he is also an outstanding person. Setting the bar high and doing things consistently, he delivers on those standards as seen from year one at UIC.

Chris Harriman – New Mexico

Harriman has a strong knack for elevating scoring defense, scoring margin, and turnover margin. He knows how to win as was witnessed by the largest single-season DII turnaround in 15 years at Nova Southeastern. Off the court, his recruiting efforts have landed numerous international players building a pipeline from Australia and New Zealand to wherever he goes.

Jordan Mincy – Florida

With a deep bench, Florida lands two on our list. A terrific scout and recruiter, Mincy mentors his players all through their four years; developing all-conference performers and champions before they leave campus. Compiling record-setting seasons is simply what he does as a high energy, engaging, and talented coach.

Tom Moore - URI

Moore’s goal to become a DI head coach again may be coming sooner than later. But for now it’s business as usual. His hard work and meticulous attention to detail plays a large role in climbing the post season brackets and national rankings. Through X’s & O’s, offensive and defensive philosophy, team building, and recruiting he opportunistically elevates his reputation.

Steven Curran - St. Bonnies

Since joining the Bonnies, they have enjoyed unparalleled success. Eighteen plus wins a season has become the norm along with A10 regular season titles, the A10 Tourney semifinals, NIT and NCAA post season play. A strong recruiter, he has facilitated all the above through a global network of high-caliber players.

Chris Crutchfield - Oklahoma

The former juvenile probation worker is in his fifteenth year of coaching DI. Instrumental in the recruiting and mentoring of Buddy Hield, he has proven his ability to develop and lead his own program. He’s been well prepped for the next step as a former juco head coach and through his former job working with kids as a probation worker .

DeMarlo Slocum – Utah

The now well-seasoned assistant coach continues to draw from his past experience to capitalize on recruiting. A former Vegas AAU coach, his teams ranked among the top five AAU teams on the west coast. During that time he worked numerous development and All Star camps. From USC ops to Idaho then Colorado State as an assistant and seven years in at Utah, he is ready for the next step.

Mike Pegues – Xavier

While Steele receives the most adoration as a next-In-line head coach, X has another strong future head coach candidate in Pegues. A player for Mike Brey (Delaware) and coaching pupal under Shaka Smart (VCU), the Maryland native brings a direct pipeline to the east coast. His ability to prepare kids for both the college game, and a career in basketball specifically overseas is at an elite level.