Nate Oats - Buffalo
A whirlwind 2015-2016 season saw challenges beyond the game. Still the Bulls reached 20 wins while leading the MAC in all things rebounding. His first year as a head coach also brought a conference tournament championship and NCAA appearance. With eyes in focus our imagination speculates widely on what he can achieve in 2016-2017.
Rodney Terry - Fresno State
Most recently in the mix for the TCU job in his home state, the long time Big 12 assistant has developed numerous high level talent players including Kevin Durrant. After 5 years as HC he has the Bulldogs poised for future dominance in the MW.
Scott Cherry - High Point
“…Scott had a great understanding of the team concept. His leadership on and off the court was vital to our success. Scott has had success in everything he has been a part of, "-Dean Smith Cherry has exceeded the expectations of his former coach. Recruiting excellence in the 3 C’s of basketball: classroom, court, and character. Cherry simply wins the right way.
La Velle Moton - NCCU
Using his own life as an example, Moton pulled his alma mater up by the bootstraps. Living the rags to riches dream the outspoken and never shy media savvy Moton will no doubt do the same this year. A middle of the pack team we think could surprise the MEAC. Anything is possible for this impactful life coach.
Greg Heiar - Wichita State
Heiar has elevated the standard everywhere he's been; as a player, head coach, and assistant coach. Strong at building relationships beneficial to recruiting and the success of a head coach (fundraising, community events, etc etc) this complete package coach has taken advantage of the opportunity to lead each program he touches.
Linc Darner - UWGB
Darner burst onto the national scene from the D2 level winning not only a national championship (Florida Southern) but the admiration and respect of coaches and basketball guys at all levels. Only one year into his D1 coaching career we are all excited to watch this rising Phoenix take flight from here.
Rob Senderoff - Kent State
Senderoff specifically shifts, sliding his pieces across the wooden surface. It's calculated change with each move considering spacing and position. Rebounding from an injury plagued year, now with a health team, the flashes will add to conference leading rebounding and field goals statistics to contend for the MAC championship in 2017.
John Coffman - IPFW
Five years as the head Mastodon, Coffman has continued the proud lineage of success in Fort Wayne. Quietly roaming the plains of college basketball as the giant shaggy elephant in the room, his teams are always capable of “upsets”. The docile plant eater got a taste of blood in 2015 with 24 wins and an NIT birth. In 2016-2017 look for these herbivores to turn full carnivore.
Russell Turner - UC Irvine
The Kauffamn client is in good hands. Add to that his NBA ties and the incredible job he has accomplished building not only a winner from scratch but a powerhouse program and culture with sustainability at an academic institution, coupled with a previous history of developing talent the likes of Tim Duncan at Wake Forest… the next chapter in his story will turn soon.
Travis Steele - Xavier
Armed with a basketball pedigree stemming from various jobs at Butler, Indiana, Ohio State and Xavier as well as a family tree consisting of John Groce (Illinois). Over the last few years we have seen Xavier march over its competition by Steele-ing top recruits from big schools not to mention his efforts on the court, and in the community.
Ron Sanchez- Virginia
No stranger to our rankings, you need only revisit our 2015-2016 rankings for Top 25 HM Assistant Coaches (#10), Top 25 Hottest Names to Make A Jump This Spring (#16), and Top 25 HM Assistant Coach Recruiters (#2) to further review his qualifications. This AC with a servants heart continues to improve the quality of life in Charlottesville.
King Rice - Monmouth
King’s name has been well documented throughout the year from the job he did at Monmouth. As King knows from his own life experiences, anything can happen. One day at a time he continues to elevate his brand as well as the Hawks as their senior latent team will continue last seasons successes story.
Greg Paulus - Ohio State
With the departure of Jeff Boals (Stony Brook), Paulus stands at a crossroads. He could shift responsibilities to broaden his horizon or master his current role leading to a quicker promotion. He may also have some opportunities to elevate to a top assistant in other programs. Which-ever way things branch out, Paulus will greatly bolster his resume and experience in 2017, a pivotal period in his career.
Archie Miller - Dayton
Miller stands at the forefront of the novel yet simple philosophy that patience is a virtue. Like Stevens and Smart before him, Miller waits for the absolutely best fit before jumping ship to a larger program. This season Miller continues to grind grain into flour as the team to beat the A10.
Matt McCall - Chattanooga
McCall won the Southern Conference and was named SoCon Coach of the Year his first year. Oscar Wilde provided an apt description when he said “a man who can dominate the London dinner table can dominate the world”. The articulate intelligent former student manger secured the future domination of his conference by landing Xavier transfer Makinde London.
Greg Gary - Purdue
Following three trips to the NCAA, a huge impact on the recruiting trail, developing multiple All-Americans, multiple first-team All-Big Ten, multiple Big Ten All-Freshman Team and multiple NBA draft picks, Gary is true to his Boilermaker brand, the exceptionally well trained craftsman.
Kevin Keats - UNCW
Without question Keats is a hot name in basketball circles. In a relatively short period he grew from a highly successful high-school coach to an assistant at Louisville to a HC who almost pulled off the difficult Cinderella ball dance. This grey cardinal will attack with all the veracity needed to lead his program to the top of the CAA yet again this year.
Pat Kelsey - Winthrop
Steadily building a powerhouse in the Big South the last eight years he has surfaced on multiple coaching reports. The hardworking blue collar manufacturer will produce 20 wins for the third straight year this season. Scoring high, the eagles are in a good position to capture the long awaited conference tournament championship.
Dan Majerle - Grand Canyon
His ability to raise the Grand Canyon U program from obscurity to reach a top 25 vote and an NCAA tournament puts Thundering Dan in the unique position to skip go, collect the million dollar contract, and land right in the NBA. But for now, he will continue to develop a global child much in the same way universities like Xavier and BYU have done through family, academics, and spiritual overtones.
Joe Dooley – FGCU
Long known as Florida’s destination spot, Ft. Meyers has now become basketball’s hot spot home to America’s best coaches including Joe Dooley. Maintaining the tradition of rising above the rim, his teams consistently rank among the nations’ top 25 in total rebounds, defensive rebounds, three point FG defense, and FG percentage.
Matt Driscoll - North Florida
Seven years into a program that averaged 5 wins as a D2 school before his arrival, Driscoll has led them to DI and 17 wins a season including a breakout year of 23 wins (2014-2015) with an NCAA berth. His teams regularly lead the country in 3 pointers implementing his Big 10 style of shooting play.
Dane Fife - Michigan State
The Fife file starts at IPFW where at 25, he guided the program through its D1 transition. He simultaneously managed to post an 82-97 record at a school that didn’t have student dorms let alone athletic facilities. Bottom line, his teams continually improve. Nothing has changed since becoming an assistant for Tom Izzo. The former Michigan Mr. Basketball fits like a mitten in the Great Lakes area.
Steve Forbes - ETSU
The successful JUCO and LM D1 coach has served in various capacities all across the Volunteer State. His connections run down the Mississippi River and throughout the deep-south. Learning from top confederate generals in Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M and Bruce Pearl at Tennessee, his aggressive man-to-man defense and attacking offense will have the Buccaneers stealing wins all over the country this year.
Chris Caputo - Miami
Caputo has been the leading project engineer for success at both George Mason and Miami. Winning longevity lasting an entire decade now, Caputo reports only to architect Larranaga. His strong recruiting ties in D.C. and Baltimore land him on the short list for Hottest Names in 2016-2017.
Jeff Capel – Duke
Simply put, Duke is highly CAP-ab-EL of another national championship this year.
Riding the coattails of a successful 2015-2016 season these are the top coaches our panelists are excited to see in action for the 2016-2017 season. There is a palatable buzz around campus as expectations are high among the community and in basketball circles for these coaches.