Sneaky Good Head Coaches

These guys get the job done without all the pomp. Simply tough to scout. Adjustments, systems, substitutions, these are the type of head coaches you hate to see in your conference playing them twice maybe three times a year from all levels.


Derrin Hansen - Omaha

From high school to Juco to DII to DI Hansen has maintained winning consistency since 1991 on the court while maintaining an emphasis on classroom work as a true teacher. Now fifteen seasons in at UNO as assistant and HC He guided the Mavericks to two DII Tourny. showings and a conference championship in both the MIAA (2010) and the NCC (2008) before moving up to DI.

John Krikorian - Christopher Newport DIII

His success is best measured by the number of assistants he has taught and have  been called up to work in the DI space. They learn allot from him. His dedication, planning, game-day and practice strategy are above reproach. Like any great producer he knows what and how to get it from his players. The great communicator, motivator, and relentless recruiter really completes the picture of a great coach.

Larry Cordaro - LSUA NAIA

Few are able to get all the moving pieces communicating and moving in the same direction. Cordaro’s teams are always together and efficient a well oiled machine thats fun to watch. Dynamic from his basketball education it shows in his style from running, to sets, his versatility offense changes year in year out. Continuing not only ball screens, but his philosophy. 

Ryan Odom - UMBC 

The work he does in the dark will reveal itself in the light. Just ask Tony Bennett and Virginia. Odom coaches belief and confidence in such an authentic and relatable way that you simply cant guard against his most simple actions. And if you think you can learn by watching his fathers teams, think again.

Greg Kamansky - Cal Poly Pomona DII 

Only 7 times in 20 years has he failed to reach at least 20 wins. The kind and tactful coach owns a remarkable career record of 394-159 (.712). Inside those wins are 12 NCAA tournaments, six CCAA Championships, 4 West Region Championships, 2 National Final appearances, and 1 DII National Championship.

Randy Rahe - Weber State 

The dynamic coach can win anyway he wants. Sometimes its athleticism with a fast and free ball, the next minute its a slower sets style offense. Whatever it is, it’s complemented by a pressure packed stingy defense. Unless he goes to a laid back zone.  

Joe Mihalich - Hofstra

His discipline is designed to teach players to play the way they practice. It’s a simple age old philosophy that works time and time again. They key is that every practice is different. Shooting drills, and repetition with variety, he has a new plan tailored specifically to that day. Sometimes simplicity is best and doing the simple things well are difficult to guard against.

Dan D’ Antoni - Marshall 

Hillbilly good; he designed his offense from childhood memories of playing on a hill where if you bounced the ball too long the uneven court would steal it. And if you missed a shot, the ball would almost certainly fall down the steep hill you you would have to chase it. That quick movement with improvisation has established Marshall as one of the most difficult teams to guard.

Craig Smith - Utah State

Get After Their Ass. It’s the way he coaches; Fiery. Unselfishness, up-tempo, unrelenting tenacious D. In year two, Smith transformed Utah State from a middle-of-the-pack team to a challenge for a conference championship. An energetic, a hard-working, a hard-playing team. While their current top 25 ranking wont have them sneaking up on anyone he is still undervalued and will still find clever ways to win.  

John Becker - Vermont

Tough and selfless, Becker pushes continuity and defense. So sneaky good he could communicate with his team via sign language. It’s a complicated system consisting of technique, processing and thinking the game through. He gets a major assist by the stat sheet and applies the math to inform decision-making, as opposed to simply winning a category.

James Jones - Yale

Defend. Rebound. Share; its sneaky simple but highly effective. Jones employs a three-pillared approach to basketball, one that emphasizes team defense, crashing the boards for gang rebounding and moving the ball. Jones adds a complicated press and a number of buzzer beater plays to keep things interesting.  

Stan Jones - Florida State   

While his head coach title may follow the word "associate", it is no secret that Stan Jones is as integral to the FSU system, adjustments on both sides of the ball, and teaching the 'Noles student-athletes how the game is played, as any head coach in the country. He truly is Leonard Hamilton's right hand and instrumental in Florida State's success on the hardwood. 

Tim Cluess - Iona  

The Cluess second chance model consists of smart players who finish. His floor spacing  and shooting gives gets the most out of each possession; especially open looks from deep. With a low fouling rate his defense seems to improve late in the season. Simply said, he is one of the best in the game at figuring out the game going on in front of him and to win.

Reggie Witherspoon - Canisius

A unique philosophy, the success starts off the court with Witeerspoon who first develops a brotherhood learning about each other. He creates opportunity for young men to tell their own stories. They put aside individual aspirations and achieve more. Four year at Canisius, this social psychology should start to show dividends with an upperclassman roster playing team ball ready to run through walls for their coach and each other.

Mike Young -  Virginia Tech

Young is as strong as they come in X.s and O’s. He adds to that the uncanny ability to get the most out of his teams. By developing under sized, under recruited under valued players he has proven his ability to create solid contributors. Thus, what you see on paper is not necessarly what you see on the court.

LeVelle Moton - NCCU 

Moton is difficult to plan and guard because guarding a Moton game-plan is like guarding six coaches of high caliber all adding a piece to the puzzle while Moton picks and pulls his motivation and CEO moves by learning from the best in the business. Add to that, a truly unique x’s and o’s from sets and counters that include multiple sleight of hand.

Josh Sherz - Lincoln Memorial DII

Standing in the middle of nowhere its hard to know where to begin. Nonetheless, Shertz managed to build up a 286-64 (.817) record. He ownes the fifth-highest winning percentage for a head coach in college basketball history and is third-best among active head coaches with at least 10 years at the helm. Capturing fourth longest run ever in DII his teams were ranked in the polls 73 consecutive weeks. 

Scott Davenport - Bellarmine

Few noticed and even less cared about the cities native son sitting two and three seats to the right of Denny Crum, then Rick Pitino. The anonymity allowed him to quietly develop under the radar a system that relies on two philosophies. First, passing. That means shot ready and time sensitive passing. Second, as the caring coach emphasizes, is that he can’t ask for attention to detail from his players if he’s not willing to give the same. 

Wes Miller - UNC Greensboro

Perhaps the only guy to win conference COY honors as an interim HC, Miller proved himself from day one in multiple ways. He went from an up beast speed tempo one year to a slow waltz the next. In doing so he has demonstrated his aptitude for understanding who his team is and the flexibility to pivot as needed.

Ray Harper - Jacksonville State

The smart, never unnerved or undone coach drills precision passing and shooting. Feeling the game like the point guard he is, when in rhythm, he’s hot. He simply cannot make a wrong call. In fact, his best calls and decision play out best under pressure. The job he has done to rally the community and lead them through the storm…Literally. After the hurricane, without a gym, they didn't skip a beat. 

Bob Richey - Furman

Simply tough and gritty. His leadership development gets all his players and staff members pointed in the right direction going hard all the time in unison. In turn that allows structure which enables players to go quickly from option 1 to 3. By emphasizing close twos, assisted 3-pointers and getting to the stripe. It's a difficult position-less basketball philosophy that puts everyone on the court in a position to be successful.

Tim Craft - Gardner Webb 

Quietly Crafting 111 wins and counting, his teams thrive on bull dogging bigger programs into submission. Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Clemson, Purdue and Nebraska are just a few who didn't see him coming. One of the best in-game strategists, Craft has the ability to  move players around for position-less basketball without notice comply changing the dynamics and throwing a defense off balance.

Lennie Acuff - Lipscomb

The high-character coach is a master at developing talent. Each action makes his players better and by the end of they game there are a completely (and much improved) different team. He is always one step ahead. In fact, he’s coaching next years team in the game you are plying.

Jason Leone - Oswego State DIII

Moving players around offensively, Leone makes the best of utilizing size and talent to create a double team situation. Its a tough system to defend and more often than not, the defense leaves one guy unattended allowing Leone and his teams to move through the gears; particularly in scoring defense and winning percentages.

Jay Spoonhour – Eastern Illinois

In the winding scenery that is the Ohio Valley, quite often most don't see Spoonhour and his Panthers coming. In fact, he is a master at planning come from behind wins. The ever vigilant in-game strategist studies the action and reacts to whats playing out in front of him. There is no planning and safeguarding against that. A players coach, he puts his guys in the right spot to have the opportunity to go get it - anything they want in basketball and life.