NCAA BK

Report card: Grading the coaching hires

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Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. Check out his Yardbarker blog. MORE>>
 
   
 

Now that Miami has hired Jim Larranaga, that means just five openings exist – and none are of the high-major variety.

Coaching carousel

With the season over, keep track of all the coaching firings and hirings.

It also means it’s time for me to dole out the annual FOXSports.com Coaching Carousel Grades, starting with the teams from the Power Six conferences:

ARKANSAS

In: Mike Anderson
Out: John Pelphrey.

I’m not sure Pelphrey shouldn’t have gotten another year with the incoming class he had assembled, but if the administration was going to make a move this was the ideal replacement. Anderson is a former Nolan Richardson assistant and was the ideal hire in Fayettevville.

GRADE: A-

GEORGIA TECH

In: Brian Gregory
Out: Paul Hewitt

Remember, the Yellow Jackets didn’t have the money to lure a heavy hitter to Atlanta, not after buying out Paul Hewitt’s contract for $7.2 million and also renovating the arena this year. Gregory is a solid choice here because of his work ethic and ability to recruit high-character players.

GRADE: B-

MIAMI

In: Jim Larranaga
Out: Frank Haith

I understand Larranaga has been successful at the mid-major level, getting to the Final Four at George Mason. But he’s 61 years old and is heading down to Miami – an area he has little familiarity with. I just feel as though Larranga is better-suited to the mid-major level – a la Greg McDermott at Creighton.

GRADE: C

MISSOURI

In: Frank Haith
Out: Mike Anderson

This hire was criticized, largely because of Haith’s inability to consistently get to the NCAA tournament at Miami. However, that’s not an easy job – as Jim Larranaga will soon learn - and Haith is a proven recruiter from his days as an assistant at Texas and at Miami.

GRADE: B-

NORTH CAROLINA STATE

In: Mark Gottfried
Out: Sidney Lowe

Oh, Debbie. N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow got spurned by plenty of candidates and ended up with an unemployed coach in Gottfried – who has been with ESPN since his forced resignation at Alabama in 2009. One of Yow’s issues with Gary Williams when she was at Maryland was his lack of tenacity on the recruiting trail. Well, Gottfried helped spearhead the movement to get rid of the April recruiting period – one of the worst decisions in college basketball in recent memory.

GRADE: C

OKLAHOMA

In: Lon Kruger
Out: Jeff Capel

Give Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione credit for being able to lure Kruger from UNLV – especially with an NCAA investigation still hanging over the Sooner program’s head. Kruger is a proven winner and is a huge get for Oklahoma.

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GRADE: A-

PROVIDENCE

In: Ed Cooley
Out: Keno Davis

Cooley is a local kid who comes home. He’s got the fiery personality that the former coach was lacking, and he should also be able to recruit in New England. Let’s face it: The Friars weren’t getting a big-name guy, so Cooley was a quality hire after what he had built at Fairfield.

GRADE: B+

TENNESSEE

In: Cuonzo Martin
Out: Bruce Pearl

This one came out of left field, maybe even out of the entire ballpark. The Vols needed someone clean after the Bruce Pearl Saga – and they got it with Martin, a former Matt Painter assistant who has done a good job at Missouri State the last few years. Remember, proven coaches weren’t standing in line for this job with the uncertainty of an NCAA investigation looming.

GRADE: B-

TEXAS TECH

In: Billy Gillispie
Out: Pat Knight

I’m so torn on this one. I’m not a huge Billy Clyde Gillispie fan for the way he has treated people – and players – in the past. However, I do feel as though this is the ideal fit for him. He’s well-liked in Texas, has had success at UTEP and Texas A&M and works his tail off. He has also assembled a quality staff – luring Texan Chris Walker from Villanova and retaining Chris Beard.

GRADE: B

MID-MAJORS

ALCORN STATE

In: Luther Riley
Out: Larry Smith

Honestly, I don’t know enough about this one to give it an accurate assessment. Riley has been a high school head coach for the past 11 years at Provine High in Mississippi, which makes me question the hire, but I’ve been told he’ll bring energy and enthusiasm to a program that has been brutal of late.

GRADE: Incomplete

BRADLEY

In: Geno Ford
Out: Jim Les

Ford took over for Jim Christian three years ago and Kent State hasn’t missed a beat. The Golden Flashes won a couple of MAC regular-season titles and were a basket away from going to the NCAA tournament this season. In addition to his ability to coach and recruit, Ford will also bring plenty of enthusiasm to the table.

GRADE: B+

CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD

In: Rod Barnes
Out: Keith Brown

How many chances is Barnes going to get? Yes, we know he was the National Coach of the Year at Mississippi – but that seems like a hundred years ago. This one makes no sense. Hire a young guy who wants this job.

GRADE: D

DAYTON

In: Archie Miller
Out: Brian Gregory

I love what Dayton athletic director Tim Wabler did with this hire. He went with one of the elite assistants in the nation in Miller – a rising star who could wind up being as good if not better than his older brother, Arizona head man Sean Miller. But Wabler also looked at another big-time assistant: Vandy’s Dan Muller.

GRADE: A

EASTERN MICHIGAN

In: Rob Murphy
Out: Charles Ramsey

Murphy is a local guy who should be able to get players in the Detroit area. He was the guy who was responsible for getting Wesley Johnson to Syracuse, but the question is whether he can coach.

GRADE: B-

EASTERN WASHINGTON

In: Jim Hayford
Out: Kirk Earylwine

I don’t know much about the 43-year-old Hayford, but what I do know is that he was 217-57 at nearby Whitworth University, a D-3 school that has gone to the NCAA tourney each of the last five years. Hard to question that kind of success.

GRADE: B

FAIRFIELD

In: Sydney Johnson
Out: Ed Cooley

It was shocking to hear Johnson’s name so often for jobs the last month or so, but the Princeton grad wound up leaving his alma mater after an NCAA tournament appearance, and he takes over a team that could win its league this season. Johnson is a perfect fit for the Stags.

GRADE: B+

FLORIDA GULF COAST

In: Andy Enfield
Out: Dave Balza

Enfield has NBA experience and has been on Leonard Hamilton’s staff at Florida State the last five years, so he has familiarity in the state. The 41-year-old was a solid hire by athletic director Ken Kavanagh.

GRADE: B

FRESNO STATE

In: Rodney Terry
Out: Steve Cleveland

I’m just not quite sold on this one. Terry has strong ties in Texas, but heading all the way to Fresno, Ca. didn’t make that much sense to me. He has been on Rick Barnes’ Texas staff for a while and had spurned a couple of opportunities in the past.

GRADE: C

GEORGIA STATE

In: Ron Hunter
Out: Rod Barnes

Hunter took IUPUI from a Division II school to one that competed for league titles in the D-1 ranks. He produced George Hill, and is a terrific hire for Georgia State.

GRADE: B+

IPFW

In: Tony Jasick
Out: Dane Fife

 

Fife left to join Tom Izzo’s staff at Michigan State and Jasick – who has been with Fife since he took over six years ago – slides into the head coaching spot. Solid move keeping it in the family.

GRADE: B

IUPUI

In: Todd Howard
Out: Ron Hunter

It took a month for the administration to hire Hunter’s right-hand man, but I’m not going to take that out on my grade. Howard was responsible for George Hill coming to IUPUI, and he deserved this opportunity.

GRADE: B

KENNESAW STATE

In: Lewis Preston
Out: Tony Ingle

You won’t find too many better people than Preston, but I’m not sure on this one. Remember, he was a guy who went from his assistant coaching spot at Florida to Penn State.

GRADE: C+

KENT STATE

In: Rob Senderoff
Out: Geno Ford

Senderoff was the fall guy in the Kelvin Sampson mess at Indiana, but he’s the perfect guy to keep it going at Kent State. He’s smart, is a tireless worker and knows the job as well as anyone – after two assistant coaching stints at the school.

GRADE: B+

LAMAR

In: Pat Knight
Out: Steve Roccaforte

Texas Tech is a tough job – certainly one of the worst in the Big 12. Now Bob Knight’s son gets a chance at a pretty good job in the Southland – one in which he should be able to compete for league championships. I’m a self-admitted fan of the younger Knight, and think he’ll be better suited to the mid-major level.

GRADE: B+

LOUISIANA TECH

In: Mike White
Out: Kerry Rupp

White may be young, but he’s got quality bloodlines (his father is Duke athletic director Kevin White), and is extremely savvy. This one was outside the box, but I love it.

GRADE: A-

LOYOLA-CHICAGO

In: Porter Moser
Out: Jim Whitesell

Moser had a successful three-year run at Arkansas Little-Rock before struggling for three of his four years at Illinois State. He gets a third chance, after spending the past four years as an assistant at Saint Louis.

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GRADE: C

MANHATTAN

In: Steve Masiello
Out: Barry Rohrssen

Masiello has learned under Rick Pitino for the past half-dozen years, but he also spent time under Bobby Gonzalez at Manhattan, and knows the New York area extremely well. He’ll recruit, and he’s a far better X’s-and-O’s guy than people realize.

GRADE: A-

MISSOURI STATE

In: Paul Lusk
Out: Cuonzo Martin

Missouri State replaces one former Matt Painter aide with another – and this was the right decision. Lusk is similar to Purdue’s Painter in his approach – tough, hard-nosed and no B.S.

GRADE: A-

MONMOUTH

In: King Rice
Out: Dave Calloway

This one surprised me, largely because the 42-year-old Rice hasn’t been in the northeast in a while. Rice played at North Carolina and has been at Vanderbilt over the last few years as an assistant under Kevin Stallings. It’s a solid pick, but I’m still concerned with his staff. He hired a pair of former UNC players in Derrick Phelps and Brian Reese.

GRADE: B-

NORTHERN ILLINOIS

In: Mark Montgomery
Out: Ricardo Patton

This is a great get for Northern Illinois. Montgomery has been Tom Izzo’s right-hand man for the last few years, and has been integral to the success of Michigan State in recent years.

GRADE: B

PEPPERDINE

In: Marty Wilson
Out: Tom Asbury

Everyone knew that Wilson would take over the program after a year or two, once Asbury called it a career. Wilson is an alum who has also spent nine seasons on the staff for the Waves. He knows the lay of the land.

GRADE: B

PRINCETON

In: Mitch Henderson
Out: Sydney Johnson

The Tigers kept it in the family, and did so with the perfect fit. Henderson was at the school when they were running things in the Ivy – and he’s been at Northwestern as an assistant to Bill Carmody.

GRADE: B+

SOUTHERN

In: Roman Banks
Out: Rob Spivery

Banks was a nice get for the Jaguars. He’s been an assistant at Southeastern Louisiana for the past eight years and spent six seasons as an assistant at Southern. He’s from Louisiana and knows the area well.

GRADE: B+

STETSON

In: Casey Alexander
Out: Derek Waugh

The 38-year-old Alexander has been Rick Byrd’s right-hand man for years and is a huge reason why Belmont has been so successful. Alexander has been on Byrd’s staff for the past 16 seasons.

GRADE: B+

TENNESSEE TECH

In: Steve Payne
Out: Mike Sutton

Sutton has battled health problems over the years and turned the program over to Payne, who has filled in for Sutton at times recently. Payne is the perfect guy to take over.

GRADE: B+

TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI

In: Willis Wilson
Out: Perry Clark

Wilson has some familiarity with the state. He’s a high-character guy who played and coached at Rice. He’s been an assistant with Josh Pastner the last couple of years at Memphis, and now gets another chance.

GRADE: B

TOWSON

In: Pat Skerry
Out: Pat Kennedy

Skerry is the complete opposite of his predecessor. Skerry is a young, energetic recruiter who has strong northeast ties. This was a perfect hire by AD Mike Waddell, as Skerry will waste no time upgrading the talent level.

GRADE: A-

UNLV

In: Dave Rice
Out: Lon Kruger

This may not have been the sexy choice (that would have gone to Reggie Theus), but Rice was integral in BYU’s recent success, and he’s also a former UNLV player. Rice knows the program and the conference, and he’ll do it the right way.

GRADE: A-

UTAH

In: Larry Krystkowiak
Out: Jim Boylen

Krystkowiak has spent his coaching career between the college ranks and the NBA. He’s been an assistant at Montana and Old Dominion and was also the head coach at Montana – leading the program to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances. Over the last few years, he’s been in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks and New Jersey Nets.

GRADE: B+

WYOMING

In: Larry Shyatt
Out: Heath Schroyer

Shyatt spent one year in Laramie years ago before taking the job at Clemson. In his time with Billy Donovan at Florida, he’s spurned several opportunities to get another shot at a head job, but this was one he also wanted another shot at. Shyatt may be 60, but he’s a spry 60.

GRADE: B+

STILL NOT FILLED

Alabama A&M (Out: Vann Pettaway); Colgate (Out: Emmett Davis); Florida A&M (Out: Eugene Harris); George Mason (Out: Jim Larranaga); UC Davis (Out: Gary Stewart).

Tagged: Tennessee, Rob Murphy

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