These are the best jobs as of 3/18/18 in DI and DII.
Coaches want a place where they can win, where kids want to go, and recruiting can be successful. With that in mind, this ranking is based heavily on culture specifics; namely: Accumulative Attendance, Budgets, Academics, Facilities and resources as well as the college experience offered.
High Major jobs were excluded.
Colorado Mesa DII
Not much national post season success since the eighties and nineties. But they continue a strong tradition of winning throughout the years in a solid RMAC coupled with a fan base that shows up year in year out. Currently in a six year conference championship drought the whole community is ready to get back to the top and pledges their full support.
Central Washington DII
Located smack in the middle of the Cascades this could be a skiers dream. With a developing athletics department and new facilities the program is snowballing to a big bright future. This is the time to make your mark on the basketball culture in a town that is quickly becoming a favorite getaway and relocation for Seattle natives and a place where the community will come out to watch.
Southwest Oklahoma State DII
A quiet dusty factory town, Terry Evans steps into a sports culture (though mostly a baseball history in the community). Nonetheless, they support their sports and SWOSU as the only game in town. Their President and Athletic Director understand the small-college athletic landscape, to make Evans feel important, and him coach.
Griff Aldrich joins a family atmosphere and a president with forward thinking. The growing university is committed to athletics all in-line from the top down and sits in a fertile recruiting area and historic town. From there you can get out and compete against the best teams in the country without breaking the bank on travel.
Missouri Western DII
The MIAA is one of the most challenging league in all of basketball. But with great risk comes greater reward and Sundance Wicks is a guy who can answer the call. Kids want to compete against the best. This a program with a strong desire to win and a landscape to do just that combining a great education with top competitors in their gym for competitive games.
A.W. Hamilton returns to a strong culture forty-five minutes south of home in EKU. And that sums up what the Colonels value in their basketball; local community support; together; under strong leadership. It’s a system that can work well given the abundance of talent and development in the bluegrass state.
Walter McCarty has a long road ahead of him. But not as long as some may think. With a decent acceptance rate and the basketball crazed Indiana as his two biggest assets. Coupled with seventeen wins last year, there is a solid foundation to build on in a developing MVC.
Tubby Smith recounts one evening in 2011 “You want to give back as much as you can to your alma mater. They helped me reach my goals and dreams.” Now he has his chance. Cherry did a solid job before him with two NIT teams winning their regular-season but falling short in the conference tourney as recently as 2016; the talent is there, as is the recruiting and fertile fan base in NC.
Winston-Salem State DII
One of the more storied programs in the CIAA, this could be a great opportunity especially for a passionate and engaging personality to get the program going. Three scholarships less than the rest of the conference, but the pantry is well stocked with solid players who are all on schedule to graduate.
The next head coach (Patrick Beilein??) will have his work cut out for him. Still, there is an audience. And the woman’s team is a conference title contender so the roadmap for winning is right next door. If you dig deep you’ll also see that of the halftime stats of almost every game shows a tight matchup. Only one or two pieces away, this could be a championship contender in a year or two.
Dr. Carson Cunningham lands at one of the top fifty Regional Universities West, according to U.S. News Best Colleges List of 2018. UIW could be a sleeping giant ready to capitalize on the foundation of an NBA basketball culture and large market in San Antonio where there is only one other college game in town via UTSA. Additionally, the Southland is wide open for the taking.
Only three years removed from a thirty win season there is still tremendous potential poised to compete for a championship sooner than later. With enormous interest from the community as the predominate sport of the university, the incoming coach has a unique opportunity to build on the relatively recent successes as momentum continues.
Any program Rodney Terry touches turns to gold. Aside from returning to his native Texas, UTEP has allot to offer Terry. The budget isn’t great, but its being addressed. UTEP has a new "We Are Miners," campaign emphasizing merchandising. Above all, the accumulative attendance of 10,4637 plus tops the current market.
Kentucky Wesleyan DII
Drew Cooper has the lion by the tale with his new opportunity. Kentucky Wesleyan is not only the top DII job available this year, but probably for the next five years. A deep deep culture of championships, coupled with strong academics, facilities and in the strong recruiting ground of Kentucky there is much to work with.
Boasting solid academics, a decent budget, and a top five ranking in attendance for jobs available. That’s not surprising when you look at their former coaches: Charlie Spoonhour, Steve Alford and Cuonzo Martin. Past leaders have set the program on the right path. Basketball is primed and ready for Dana Ford to end the eighteen year NCAA tournament drought.
USU offers a budget that ranks in the top 100 of DI athletics (113th for basketball specifically), and the second largest attendance record of schools on this list. Craig Smith becomes part of a rich tradition with outstanding support including a world class home court advantage. Additionally it could be a skier’s paradise and potentially a great place to live after college.
Dusty May finds a great spot with strong leadership under new AD Brian White. Bottom line, the Owls can win at a high level. There is passion in the community, and opportunity to recruit to Florida. Their College of Education is the number one FAU undergraduate major by enrollment which works well for future coaches both players and GAs.
Returning numerous all-conference players, the pieces are there. If it stays right where it is, they have a great chance to be the top program in the Mountain West next year. A trending city, larger than the capital, Fresno offers lots to do for both player and coach. That includes the second ranked top collegiate venue by Pollstar.
“It is a sought-after opportunity” comments Athletic Director Bill McGillis. The university embodies unbelievable people; and their next head coach will have the personal values that match. Previous head coaching experience is not a major criteria, but a great leader of men to establish and sustain culture is. Located in Sports-town USA with acceptable admissions this is a place you can win.
With a high acceptance rate and a decent budget situation, the ECU job is a solid B. They built the new practice facility, they’ve got an arena with a basketball community to fill its seats. Going the rest of the way for resources, salaries, and promotions would require a coach with a personality who is truly invested in the partnership between his office and the university.
Lorenzo Romar won’t change things overnight. Facility upgrades need to become reality. But, as one of only two revenue-gaining sports on campus, they take more pride in their basketball. With an ocean view that just so happens to also overlook the nation’s largest media market, and high-school basketball hotbed, this could be a special place.
Middle Tennessee State
Nick McDevitt is a young and-up-and-comer; just like the program at MTSU. McDevitt has an energetic, charismatic, passionate honest, personality; just like the community of Murfreesboro and Nashville. Connection matters here and it resonates throughout the campus from their numerous Grammy winning songwriters to the special bond between player and coach and community.
Richie Riley inherits a team returning it’s top five scorers and seven of their top nine in minutes played. The team foundation is just as strong as their beautiful facilities. Nothing is broken in Mobile; it’s a place he can win and win now. All the intangibles are there to wake this sleeping giant.
Niko Medved has a good opportunity. Their former coach was one of the ten highest-paid coaches in the G5 conferences. While that number isn’t on the table to start, it’s a bonus that could be well spent elsewhere. And like the budget, their cupboard isn’t bare. They return the conference leading rebounder, a double-double, 1,000-point career scoring upper classman and a high acceptance rate.
They moved quickly to make sure they got their best guy prior to the final four. That can only happen when everybody from the Chancellor to the cabinet to the Ad are working as a team; united in a common vision and mission. That’s the environment Ron Sanchez walks into. Additionally, he has the rare opportunity to leave lasting fingerprints on a program with a history not a past.