These are the top off season head coach hires from all levels that fit hiring needs, updates in the industry, demand, top skills, and knowledge of the game. Their previous training can be focused on immediate needs, or on long-term goals, and even cross training the entire program.
Tomas Brock - Columbia College (MO) NAIA
Born to the game, Brock had been prepped for this position from day one on this planet. His well rounded experience in the business of athletics as well as on the court tips from brother and dad (both head coaches) will be invaluable.
Josh Sash - Des Moines Area JUCO
The resource rich CC just added a ton more value in Sash. One of the top bigs coaches in the country, Sash also delivers on defense and rebounding. Long considered one of the elite JUCO assistants
(who also has DI experience) he, finds his first Big chair only an hour drive from his hometown.
Tae Norwood - Keiser University NAIA
Number one on our Top DII Assistant coaches from the ’17-’18 season, Norwood lands in the big chair for ’19 and ’20. His reputation throughout the state of Florida and beyond for player development at an early age will be pivotal in continuing the tradition at Kiaser without skipping a beat.
Butch Pierre - NW Florida JUC0
In short order, the longtime DI assistant will be able to pull together his network of key JUCO recruiting markets sites such as Memphis and Louisiana to fill a depleted roster. Furthermore, his HM experience will play well in the HM ranks of the JUCO game where national championships are expected.
Wes Pifer - Western Oregon University DII
Intelligence and Integrity are the most defining qualities of Pifer who will bring a balance of court and classroom to WOU. Pifer excels at player development. He will be instrumental in making what is already a better team into their best. This team is ready to win big now and Pifer can step right into that leadership role taking them to the next level.
Bob Hoffman - University of Central Oklahoma DII
The long time DI head coach Hoffman returns to his home state with a lifetime of winning percentage of 65% through DII and DI competition. His double box option has been effective at all levels leveraging his respect as one of the best in designing BLOB plays. One of the good guys in the game Hoffman is a slam dunk hire all around.
John Shulman - Alabama Huntsville DII
The established workhouse is relentless in all aspects of the game. Off the court he raised the basketball community as an agent through leadership, marketing and branding, business, financial planning, management, job placement and more. His entrepreneur experience is just as strong on the court putting together a game plan and X's and O's.
Grant McMillan - Navarro JUCO
We could call him Optimus Prime the way he transformed Panola. He recruited, coached and graduated 18 players who signed DI. Not to mention the third-highest winning percentage in Region XIV. A lot of that had to do with learning from some of the winningest programs and coaches in the country including NWFS under Steve DeMeo. Keep watching; with McMillian there is more than meets the eye.
Benjy Taylor - Tuskegee DII
From Richmond to Hawaii Benji Ball has bounced across half the globe taking flight with its scoring and fueled by defense and steals. His DI experience and southern charm will fit right in with a program that was making positive steps forward but still has not seen a winning season in years.
Scott Cross - Troy
The all-time winningest coach from a conference foe is a guy who knows the situation at Troy well. A players coach, it wont be long before his team is laughing with him in the locker room and running the stairs for him on the court.
Geno Ford - Stony Brook
If it aint broke, don’t fix it. Three years entrenched in the vision and growth of this team, Ford had his fingerprints all over their success last year that garnished their most regular-season wins in the program’s history.
Ryan Looney - Idaho State
Looney boasts successful stints at Eastern Oregon (NAIA) and Seattle Pacific (DII). Looney took the Sea Lions of Point Loma from 13 wins two years ago, all the way to the DII national championship and 31 wins last season. His blueprint was set with three championship programs, the ability to affect growth of both team and program in all areas, and developing players. All are resources desperately needed at Idaho State. A younger go getter was the way to go here.
Kyle Smith - Washington State
In basketball, two things travel well (even to isolated little known Pullman WA): Defense and math. The latter of which will be key to Smiths success at WSU just as it was in San Francisco. His staff’s proprietary algorithm used to discover under the radar players could be the key for a struggling DI program not likely to win the recruiting battle against conference foes with beaches and beautiful weather.
Kelvin Jefferson - Gannon DII
The former HS head coach had over fifty players from his South Kent prep program go to elite DI levels; A few continues on to be impactful players in the NBA. That perseverance has delivered an idea of how to go about his business his way. And his way is defense creating a free flowing offense with size to continue the championship tradition at Gannon.
Saul Phillips - Northern State DII
Saul did a tremendous job guiding North Dakota State through the start of their DI era. He has proven championship and championship again that he knows the recipe for success. Assuming the best attendance record in DII continues at Northern State, this could be a strategic long term hire designed to to carry the Wolves to DI.
Jamion Christian George Washington
The servant leader believes in group dynamics and empowering the whole. Doing things the right way building a staff from the ground up starting inside the trenches with ops and video coordinator hires taking priority his foundation is very stable. Creating touch-points with the community and recruits is a strategy he and his staff will exceed at cultivating a long-term successful stay in our nation’s capital.
T.J. Otzelberger - UNLV
He has an impressive long list of accomplishments at such a young age for a head coach. That tells us he moves at a fast pace. A suspicion we can easily confirm when looking at his quick shooting style of play. And that is good for UNLV. The rebels like to move fast and will not wait for a rebuild. Its still 1992 in Las Vegas and they want other final four come March. While that’s unlikely, Otzelberger may get them there sooner than many think.
Greg Gary - Mercer
Gary brings head coaching experience from Centenary, where he resigned after the program made the decision to drop down to DIII. He commands a scouting report and excels as a practice coach in motivating and translating that to flawless execution on game day. More than that, he challenges his players both on the court and in life. The well liked teacher will get the job done in Macon.
Darrin Horn - NKU
His will be the story of an evolution of success through winning against high level competition and deep national tournament runs in March. The Norse have already landed. Now its time to sound the Horn that will continue the raid as the program progresses. It’s a pivotal time for NKU basketball. And a great fit for Horn to resume his head coaching career in his home state.
John Pelphrey - TN Tech
The Golden Eagles have had consistent, solid teams, and decent culture. Just as Pelphrey is known as a steady and reliable regional product. He understands the trials and tribulations that can make an average team great. A self-professed improved leader, Pelphrey has the network from KY, Tenn, AL, and FL to attract quality talent to Cookeville.
Ron Hunter - Tulane
Hunter is a phenomenal coach. Period. He picked up Georgia Sate from nothing and lifted IUPUI to previously unseen success before that. The Miami of Ohio alum understands the challenges of a private institution. He extends the Tulane recruiting reach all the way from the gulf of mexico to lake erie. In a situation where he can focus more on basketball and recruit players with a level head he wont have to babysit, we can expect Hunter will get the job done.
Lenny Acuff - Lipscomb
The winningest coach in the history of the Gulf South is a slam dunk hire for Lipscomb. He built a national powerhouse in DII and can do the same at Lipscomb. The relationship dates back to the 80’s when Acuff dreamed about playing for the Bison. While it did not work out for him, many of his high school friends played there which contributed to his campus visits on a regular basis thus ingraining himself in their culture.
Mick Cronin - UCLA
In an expensive town where NBA is king, the Bruins needed a guy who had a steep belief in their storied tradition. With a locker full of non-believers it was essential to hire one who would command respect and present authority while binding a group at the seams. Cronin did an amazing job not only rebuilding but rebranding his alma matter in Cincinnati providing a blueprint for UCLA.
Buzz Williams - Texas A&M
Todays social media crazed world is obsessed with impressions. Its tough to find a larger impression in the coaching world than that of coach Williams. Not surprising, his impact was immediate. The Texas native and one time Aggie assistant is known to make quick work of flipping programs. In College Station, all the pieces are coming together from the basketball side, budget and passion.
Fred Hoiberg - Nebraska
Absolutely made for the Big 10, his style will be successful. Look at the job he did in Iowa. Now add his hometown to the mix. There is more at steak than wins and losses. This is the favorite son coming home to take his rightful throne.