Richie Riley - Nicholls State
The former UAB and Clemson assistant (among others) has lots of success to draw from. Landing key transfers may be crucial to develop Nicholls basketball; and Riley excels at exactly that. Furthermore, his sleuth recruiting abilities allow him to early identify a complete core of players necessary for long term growth.
Bob Walsh - Maine
Among the unfinished parts of the globe, working with next to nothing, Walsh sits on the mountain tops alone and isolated with zero campus or basketball resources. However, the former Rhode Island College coach lead the Anchormen to a 135-43 (.758) record over the last six years that witnessed 81-18 (.819) conference and 23-8 (.741) postseason records. Thus proving that he is the one to get the job done against such an unforgiving backdrop.
David McLaughlin - Dartmouth
Only 35 years old, the former Northeastern associate head coach led them to regular season co-champion honors in the CAA while coordinating recruiting efforts that brought all conference POY, defensive POY, and tournament MVP’s to campus. Prior to Northeastern, the StoneHill College (DII) head coach reached three NCAA Tournament appearances, two regional #1 seeds, one Final Four appearance, two Regional COY Awards, and two Northeast-10 League titles.
Avery Johnson - Alabama
Johnson has reached out to his neighbors in football coach Nick Saban to learn college leadership and develop coaching skills for this level. With that kind of support on campus, the facilities, the power conference, the local ties, the desire, the background of overcoming adversity, it’s no surprise his first year was a winning one nineteen times. Year two is only getting better with the nation’s sixth best recruiting class of 2017.
Tubby Smith - Memphis
A perfect fit, the already well respected and highly successful national champion will flourish in Memphis as a historic hire for a historic city. Smith has had tremendous success in that region of the country and comes in with the roads already paved to turn the tigers around sooner than later.
Jerod Haase - Stanford
Haase now lives the only life he’s ever imagined. The power of that dream in combination with his accomplishments (revamped UAB basketball, COY honors in C-USA and national levels, winning every which way possible, on the road, at home, against top 25 opponents and post season wins), make it easy to see the South Lake Tahoe native and Stanford basketball will meet with a success unexpected in common coaching.
Jim Engles - Columbia
Seeking sustained success and steady growth, Columbia reached out to their former assistant (’03-’08) Engles for their HC job. In a growing basketball league, the Lions have new expectations. While we foresee a slow start with Engles start coming after the school’s admissions deadline past, his multi dimensional strategy will undoubtedly fit the high academic student athletes, and the city sells itself.
Richie McKay - Liberty
The former Virginia associate head coach is back home to a familiar setting, having formerly served two seasons as Liberty head coach (’07 and ’08). Now the more complete coach looks to combine his deeper understanding of the defensive game while re-establishing his one time Big South and NCAA top scoring offense at Liberty.
LaValle Jordan - Milwaukee
Ranked 18th in last seasons Top High Major Assistant Coaches, Jordan has now reached the big chair. A true developer, his most recent highly publicized project was 2013 NBA Draft pick, Consensus National Player of the Year and a Consensus All-American Trey Burke. Through his character, the lessons learned from Beilein, and his location: remaining in the region of his native Michigan, we are confident Jordan can bring the Panthers back to the Horizon.
Jeff Boals - Stony Brook
After a move that received lots of national press, it’s no surprise to see Boals on this list. Boals inherits a senior, tournament experienced team which should sooth the transition and allow him to expand their success from last year. Boals is in a strong position to achieve his goals of emulating what has been done at Middle Tennessee State and Arkansas Little Rock dominating conference play.
Eric Konkol - Louisiana Tech
In 2015 the then four year Miami top assistant coach joyfully skipped across the Gulf to take over the well trained Bulldogs. Year one was highly successful finishing just shy of 30 wins. A lifetime spent criss-crossing the country as an assistant in almost every region while honing his skills in recruiting, scheduling, player development, and more will play a central role in continuing the expectations of a 30 win season year in year out.
Kyle Smith - San Francisco
Dubbed "the smartest man in college basketball” by a Princeton graduate and motion offense coach (Chris Mooney) The former Columbia HC has a history of assistant stops on the west coast including St Mary’s and San Diego. As a player boasting a single-season record for three point shooting that still stands today, he expects the same success from his team and we are confident they will respond in kind.
Rick Barnes - Tennessee
A rare stellar collision occurred in 2015 when both Barnes and UT simultaneously closed one door to open a window. The force of gravity brought Barnes back to his roots. With the backing of a university and fiercely loyal fanbase eager for a return of their own to sports glory, all the stars have aligned for what we think will be a supernova that will have Smokey and all the other hound dogs barking at the rocky top.
Chris Beard - Texas Tech
A coach who needs no introduction. Simply put, we all saw what he accomplished with much much less at UALR and at the DII level. Another homecoming celebration, by reuniting him with family his resolve has never been greater.
Linc Darner - UW-Green Bay
After only one year his system has already proven itself by setting numerous POY awards from all levels and just as many program records and marquee wins. Green Bay led the NCAA in steals and free throws attempted, second in steals per game sixth in points per game, fourth in turnover margin. Year two is sure to see a continuation of that success and year three may even see another move for the rising Phoenix.
Matt McCall - Chattanooga
Continuing to prove our panelists right, the CoachStat.net 11th ranked Hottest D1 Name for ’16-’17 (published 11/1/16) , starts year two with a 7-2 record including a key interstate win against Tennessee in Knoxville. Led by the nearby Nashville natives Fleming and London, McCall’s Mocs fit the university athletics brand of a fiercely territorial creature sure to protect their homes with courage, determination and skill.
Ben Howland - Mississippi State
His return to coaching has been a triumphant one. The first season established a foundation to keep the sliding bulldogs from a deep collapse they may have never recovered from. Instead, they are now on solid ground. Off the court he has landed a top twenty recruiting class.
Rob Ehsan - UAB
The intelligent and widely reported on Ehsan was instrumental in helping Haase build the program at UAB. While the river may bend, without a cloud in the sky, it’s smooth sailing towards the next sweet sixteen for the already established Ehsan and UAB basketball program.
Steve McLain - UIC
Racing from one side of the court to the other, yelling and screaming with the relentless energy expected of a ball player, one is pleasantly surprised to notice the unkempt pendulum is in fact not a player but coach McLain. His actions speak louder than words and the experienced HC (Wyoming ’99-’07) has a history of actions such as: back to back NCAA sweet 16’s, a top 25 recruiting class, and a 93-45 record; all as the Indiana associate HC. His accomplishments are sure to speak to the bright future of UIC basketball.
Steve Forbes - ETSU
An administration that knows well how to build a basketball powerhouse, A coach who helped shock the nation as an assistant at Wichita State, A fertile coaching ground full of basketball talent in Tennessee; add them up and it’s clear to see that ETSU already has a champion feel and is already in route to beating last seasons 24 win mark.
Rick Stansbury - Western Kentucky
A key transfer in Buffalo’s Lamonte Bearden, a Washington State transfer, a Providence transfer, the terrific Tennessee transfer Willie Carmichael who is already playing, a top ten prospect in the Class of 2017, and a top 20 overall recruiting class. It’s safe to say that Stansbury’s homecoming has had an immediate impact that is sure to enhance the Hilltoper basketball brand for years to come.
Brad Underwood - Oklahoma State
Thanks to the work of the United Press international.com we simply direct you to their stat which best suits this category saying that “Underwood compiled an 89-14 record, with the win total matching Brad Stevens' mark from Butler as an NCAA record for a coach in his first three years at a school.” He has done it before in his first three years and there is nothing to suggest the next first three will be any different in Stillwater.
Jamie Dixon - TCU
In 1986 a thirty-five foot buzzer beater won the Southwestern Conference Championship for TCU over the visiting team from Austin. Dixon will now twice lift the horned frogs to championship status. Together Dallas and Dixon seem to have all the intangibles. Dixon is further backed by over twenty years of success from a combined 10 conference titles and 19 years of post season play; all the while his student-athletes earned league player of the year awards.
Will Wade - VCU
Everyone knew the score when VCU welcomed back their former assistant coach (’09-’13) this time to the big chair. In his first season, Wade wasted no time producing 25 wins and their first A10 Conference regular season championship. The one time youngest head coach in the NCAA Tournament (2015-16 Chattanooga) has aged quickly into an old basketball soul while developing VCU with him.
Mike White - Florida
White was born to this. He learned allot at an early age as the benefactor of the games most gracious coach (Krzyzewski) who welcomed the young White with open arms to practices and the looker room. Off the court his vision and leadership qualities were also highly developed early, as to be expected from the son of the top AD in college sports (Kevin White).
Coaches in a new school with all the intangibles and resources and basketball ware with all to be highly successful top our list of First or Second Year Coaches Most Likely to Succeed DI.