Looks like Troy went within their own conference for their next head coach.
The Trojans will hire Western Kentucky assistant Phil Cunningham as their leading man, according to a report from CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman. A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday.
Cunningham spent this past season on staff at WKU after spending the previous 12 on Rick Stansbury’s staff at Mississippi State. The position will be his first as a Division I head coach. He previously served as a head coach at Sue Bennett College, a junior college/transitional NAIA school in his time there, for three years.
Cunningham and current Troy Athletic Director John Hartwell worked together at Georgia State, where Cunningham served as an assistant under Lefty Driesell.
Cunningham will be tasked with replacing Don Maestri, the only coach Troy has had in its time in Division I. Maestri served as the Trojans head coach in their time as Division II powerhouse, reaching the D-II national title game during the 1992-93 season. The team made the transition to Division I in 1993-94.
Maestri was 500-404 in his 31 seasons as head coach at Troy.
The hire is a solid one. Cunningham is a great recruiter — he brought Jarvis Varnado and Arnett Moultrie to Starkville, and also signed Monta Ellis before he opted for the NBA in 2005. He was on the WKU staff that won the Sun Belt Conference tournament title this season and recently fell 64-57 to no.1 seed Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Troy has had a spotty run in the Sun Belt recently. Cunningham could turn that around if he taps into his already solid recruiting and coaching connections. Troy finished 12-21 overall last season, 6-14 in the Sun Belt.
(Photo courtesy of WKU Athletics.)
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