Cleveland State -
A sports town with a strong recruiting base. Cleveland State recently signed on to play half of their home contests at neighboring Quicken Loans Arena. Administration has made a commitment to head coach, Gary Waters by inking him through 2019 with a salary almost unheard of in the Horizon.
North Dakota State -
Feeding off the success and exposure from one of the top football programs in FCS, the support for Bison basketball is at an all-time high. It has become a launching-pad for coaches (McDermott, Miles, Phillips), though, budget increases and a new arena will undoubtedly help temper the "springboard" reputation.
An Ivy League education fused with an administration that values sports-namely men’s basketball. Harvard and Coach Amaker have changed the climate of Ivy league recruiting and become the premier job in the Ivy league.
Illinois State -
In a basketball state, attendance is at a preimium. The Red Birds rank in the top 100 with almost 90,000 on the year and about 6,000 per game.
Coastal Carolina -
A head coach approaching 700 wins coaching at a school that sits only a stone's throw from Myrtle Beach makes for a really good situation. Throw in a brand new 35-million-dollar facility and very reasonable admission standards makes Coastal a GREAT job!
Middle Tennessee -
A president (Sidney McPhee) with a strong dedication to athletics and an athletic director (Chris Massaro) who has demonstrated patience and faith in his men’s basketball program makes Middle Tennessee a top-flight job. Now the largest university in the state, in one of the fastest growing communities, and sitting in Nashville’s backyard. Blue Raider basketball is prime real-estate!
Simply put, Liberty has $$$. Athletic Director, Jeff Barber has cart-blanch with the check book and has poured money into basketball over the last few months. While they may have some religious codes, Liberty has resources that fellow Big South members only dream of.
Long Beach St. -
The university has capital to invest in its basketball program, starting with the 50th highest paid head coach in the country. Sitting in a major media hub with the beaches of SoCal and the revitalized city know to be the hipster community college students love.
UT has made a commitment to basketball! One of the top 2 budgets in the conference, generous coaching salaries, centralized location to several recruiting hotbeds, state of the art arena and practice facility, and the fact they compete in the MAC West (traditional weaker side of the league) make this job a sleeping giant.
Akron has managed to invest in men's basketball while the rest of the university deals with an economic crunch. Sports and academic programs have been cut, however, but basketball continues to ZIP right along. Ultra-successful coach, Keith Dambrot, has a long-term contract and a local celebrity referred to by only his first name,“Lebron” as a key donor.
Stephen F. Austin -
A big time basketball school with a Texas sized budget! Fellow Southland teams’ support pales in comparison to SFA. Little Nacogdoches, TX has built itself a championship factory!
Old Dominion -
Location is fantastic-right on the Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by some of the top prospects in the region. An athletic director that truly supports basketball, in Wood Selig. Loyal and rowdy fan base along with the perfect conference (C-USA) to contend for a championship regularly.
UMASS AD, Ryan Bamford, has demonstrated extensive success in donor relations for fundraising scholarships, endowments and capital projects and is a former college basketball stand out player. The tradition rich hoop program has more to brag about just Dr. J.
Talk about location! Ranked among top cities in the country with competing state-of-the-art facilities, gorgeous campus, basketball tradition, and a terrific following. Charlotte is also considered one of the top 5 financial business hubs in America.
This “niche” program lures the best LDS prospects in the world to Provo Utah. Combine that with paid attendance 25 out of the last 29 years, and the great basketball mind of Dave Rose and you have a recipe for success.
Charleston is a 4 year staycation for top level prospects. A dream location with beautiful facilities, Cougar athletics has all the makings of yet another revolution.
An athletic department long anchored by basketball and the winning ways of Coach McKillop, Davidson boasts a private academy niche in the hoop-haven of North Carolina. The recent A10 initiation makes the job that much more attractive.
Western Kentucky -
With one of the finest mid-major on-campus facilities consistently packed to the gills, every game night emulates an exciting March Madness atmosphere. The gorgeous campus in a basketball rich state attracts attention from a national audience.
Ohio U. -
Bobcats athletic director, Jim Schaus, came from Wichita State with a knack for raising money and a penchant for spending it. The only show in town with a beautiful cozy campus tucked away in Athens, Ohio. OU boasts the MAC’s best budget and largest facilities.
Northern Iowa -
Sitting in a hotbed of midwest talent with an ever-improving reputation, the Panthers pack the McLeod Center for every game. Basketball is king at Northern Iowa and the financial commitment to keep Coach Jacobsen and improve every facet of the program has paid dividends.
One of the youngest athletic directors in the country, Neil Sullivan,35, is a passionate leader committed to engaging his top 25 basketball program. The largest student organization on campus is the Red Scare which facilitates an electric atmosphere on game night. When you think University of Dayton you think BASKETBALL!
New Mexico -
The Lobos recently completed a $7 million indoor practice facility, and have plans for the $60 million renovation to one of the most storied and significant venues in college basketball, The Pit. A rich basketball tradition and support from the universities upper-brass makes UNM a preeminent job.
Murray State -
Built to win, and has been for many years. The crown-jewel of the OVC has all the resources for continued ultimate success. Saddled in the commonwealth of Kentucky known as a breeding ground, these thoroughbreded Racers will continue to compete for conference titles!
Resources are on par with many of the nation's elite programs. With no football, Ram basketball anchors the athletic department. A recent revival of urban Richmond has changed VCU from a commuter school to a destination university. Capitalizing on their Final 4 run, game nights are the premier social event!
Our national panel voted on the best low and mid-major jobs relative to respective leagues. Budget, facilities, location, academic standards, salaries and contracts, administration/community support and specific niches were all considered.
*Gonzaga, Wichita State and UNLV were not included.
San Diego State –
These Aztec’s are armed to the teeth with one of the great on-campus basketball arenas in the nation. Host to many NCAA tournament games and the Mountain West Conference Championship for good reason. A state-of-the-art venue that keeps fans close to the floor and part of the action for ultimate fan engagement is key. Add in the fact it sits in one of America's favorite destinations, San Diego, and the top ranking starts to make sense. With an athletic director who's vision is a program that competes with the nation's best on the court and in the classroom the #1 ranking is validated and solitified!!!