2020 Coaching Carousel

Getty Images

College Basketball’s 2020 Coaching Carousel

1 Comment

The college basketball coaching carousel is rolling for the 2020 offseason. Keep up to date on the college basketball hot seat and college basketball coaching changes this spring.

To help keep track of all of the movement, CBT has created this page to stay up to speed.

As the offseason continues, and new hires are made, we’ll update this list with every coaching change.

Be sure to follow our Twitter account @CBTonNBC for the latest college basketball news and notes.

THE 2020 COACHING CAROUSEL

High Major College Basketball Coaching Carousel

NONE YET

Mid Major College Basketball Coaching Changes

AIR FORCE

  • OUT: Dave Pilipovich

One of college basketball’s toughest jobs has opened up. Pilipovich spent just over nine seasons with the Falcons, 110-151 record. Air Force only made one CIT appearance during Pilipovich’s tenure — never finishing higher than sixth in conference play.

  • IN: Joe Scott

Air Force went back to Joe Scott as head coach. Scott is a 16-year veteran who previously coached the Falcons from 2000 through 2004. During the 2003-04 season, Scott led Air Force to the NCAA tournament. After the season, Scott departed to coach at Princeton, his alma mater. Scott also spent nine seasons as the head coach at Denver.

ALABAMA STATE

  • OUT: Lewis Jackson

Following 15 seasons at the helm, Lewis Jackson resigned as head coach. An accomplished alum at the school, Jackson made two NCAA tournament appearances and an NIT. But the Hornets haven’t made the postseason since a CIT berth in 2014, struggling to only eight wins in three of the past four seasons.

ALCORN STATE

  • OUT: Montez Robinson

Alcorn State announced they wouldn’t be renewing the contract of head coach Montez Robinson after five seasons. Things appeared promising for Robinson early in his tenure. The Braves had back-to-back second-place finishes in the SWAC and a notable 18-14 finish in 2016-17. Things didn’t sustain, however, as Alcorn State struggled to stay at .500 the next three seasons.

CENTRAL ARKANSAS

  • OUT: Russ Pennell

Pennell took a leave of absence from the program on Dec. 16th, and three weeks later the two sides “agreed to part ways.” UCA was 1-9 on the season when Pennell took his leave of absence. Under interim head coach Anthony Boone, the Bears have gone 9-11 with a 9-10 record in the Southland.

  • IN: Anthony Boone 

The interim tag was lifted from Anthony Boone as he’s the new head coach at UCA. A five-year associate head coach with the program before taking over at midseason in 2019-20, Boone was solid down the stretch. The Bears were 9-13 and a notable 7-3 at home once Boone took over.

EVANSVILLE

  • OUT: Walter McCarty

Just 18 months into his tenure with the Purple Aces, McCarty was placed on administrative leave in December and was eventually fired in January after multiple incidents of what was termed “inappropriate conduct” by McCarty. At the time, Evansville was 9-4 on the season with a win over then-No. 1 Kentucky in Rupp Arena.

  • IN: Todd Lickliter

Lickliter has since been hired as his replacement. He had been the head coach at Butler and Iowa back in the 00’s, and was hired by McCarty as an assistant coach when he got the job. Evansville has lost their last 18 games and became the only team in college basketball history to beat the No. 1 team in the country and go winless in league play in the same season.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN

  • OUT: Mark Byington

Head coach Mark Byington took the James Madison job after a successful seven-year stint. Byington led Georgia Southern to four 20-win seasons and a CBI appearance during his tenure. The past three seasons, the Eagles had 20-win campaigns, so Byington’s consistency will be missed.

  • IN: Brian Burg

Texas Tech assistant coach Brian Burg is taking over at Georgia Southern. Burg spent the past four seasons with the Red Raiders under head coach Chris Beard. Burg also spent time at Campbell, North Carolina Central and Little Rock.

GRAND CANYON

  • OUT: Dan Majerle

To date, Grand Canyon is probably the best job that has opened up during the carousel. He had been the head coach there for seven season, but never won a league title or earned a bid to the tournament. It’s a program that has money, plays in a league that can be won and has a desire to invest in the hoops program. Their homecourt is absolutely electric. Rick Pitino has been a name that has been linked with the job this offseason.

  • IN: Bryce Drew

After taking the year off to do television, Bryce Drew is back on the sidelines. The former Valparaiso and Vanderbilt head coach gets a fresh chance to lead an up-and-coming program. Drew’s energetic presence should fit in nicely at Grand Canyon, a program that’s developed a tremendous homecourt environment  with an underrated fanbase. Drew had success recruiting McDonald’s All-Americans to a place like Vanderbilt. It’ll be fascinating to see the type of talent he can draw to Grand Canyon.

IDAHO

  • OUT: Don Verlin

Verlin was fired over the summer after 11 seasons in Moscow following the disclosure of NCAA violations that were committed during his tenure. Verlin had a 177-176 record as the Idaho head coach.

  • IN: Zac Claus

Claus has acted as the interim coach since the change was made over the summer, and last month he was officially named head coach. The Vandals are 7-22 this season and currently sitting at 3-15 in the Big Sky.

ILLINOIS-CHICAGO

  • OUT: Steve McClain

McClain was let go after five seasons with the Flames. He went 18-17 this season, a disappointing record given the talent he had at his disposal. He had finished above .500 in league play for each of the last three years.

  • IN: Luke Yaklich

UIC made a notable local hire with former Texas and Michigan assistant Luke Yaklich. Credited with being one of college basketball’s up-and-coming assistants, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, Yaklich returns to the Land of Lincoln. Yaklich was a successful high school coach in the Chicagoland area and previously was an assistant at Illinois State as well.

IONA

  • OUT: Tim Cluess

Cluess was one of the best and most consistent mid-major coaches in college basketball, and he opted to step down from Iona due to the health problems that have kept him off of the sideline for much of this season. This is a good job, one that is going to attract some relatively big names. The early favorites for the role are Rick Pitino and former assistant Jared Grasso.

  • IN: Rick Pitino

The most shocking hire of college basketball’s offseason is already done. Rick Pitino is back in the college game. After spending time away from basketball and joining a Greek pro team, the former national champion head coach takes over the Gaels. Pitino is an iconic name in the sport, a legendary coach and a master recruiter. Seeing what a hungry Pitino is capable of at Iona will be one of the 2020-21 season’s more intriguing mid-major subplots.

JAMES MADISON

  • OUT: Louis Rowe

James Madison is moving on from an alum. Rowe only lasted four seasons as head coach. Going 43-85 overall and 21-51 in CAA play, the Dukes never finished higher than seventh in the conference under Rowe. Rowe’s ouster was the least-surprising move during this college basketball coaching carousel.

  • IN: Mark Byington

The Dukes were able to pluck Mark Byington from Georgia Southern to be their new head coach. In seven seasons with the Eagles, Byington had four 20-win seasons and a CBI appearance. The past three seasons, Byington led Georgia Southern to 20-win seasons.

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT

  • OUT: Mike Dunlap

Veteran coach Mike Dunlap is out after six seasons with the program. Things looked positive with a semifinal appearance in the CBI last season before the Lions finished only 11-21 this season. It was the only postseason appearance for Loyola Marymount in six years. Dunlap finished with an 81-108 record.

  • IN: Stan Johnson

Marquette associate head coach Stan Johnson has been tabbed as the new Loyola Marymount coach. Spending the past five years with the Golden Eagles, Johnson helped Marquette to multiple NCAA tournament appearances. Johnson has also been an assistant with Arizona State, Drake, Utah and Cal State Northridge.

NORTHERN COLORADO

  • OUT: Jeff Linder

The Bears will seek a new head coach after Linder left for the Wyoming job. In four seasons, Linder turned Northern Colorado into a consistent winner. The program has three straight 20-win seasons and back-to-back 15-5 records in Big Sky play. Postseason success also came thanks to a CIT title in 2018. Linder made a strong mark in just four seasons and will be tough to replace.

  • IN: Steve Smiley

Northern Colorado promoted Steve Smiley to replace Linder. An associate head coach with the Bears since 2016, Smiley also spent time as an assistant at Weber State. Smiley also brings experience from the JUCO ranks as well. Replacing Linder will be tough. But Smiley’s presence on Linder’s staff means he’s seen the program’s recent formula to success.

SAMFORD

  • OUT: Scott Padgett

Following six seasons at Samford, the program moved on from former Kentucky star Scott Padgett. It seemed like Padgett had things going in the right direction with a 20-win season and CIT appearance in his third season. But the Bulldogs never came close to achieving those benchmarks in Padgett’s final three seasons. Padgett is a former assistant under Manhattan coach Steve Masiello and also spent time at Samford before getting the head job.

  • IN: Bucky McMillan

Samford turned to the local high school ranks to fill its head-coaching vacancy. Mountain Brook High School coach Bucky McMillan takes over the Bulldogs after a 12-year run and five state titles. McMillan isn’t a typical hire but he’s run a winning program before.

SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE

  • OUT: Rick Ray

The school announced the removal of head coach Rick Ray on March 3rd. In five years with the Redhawks, Ray never found his footing, going 51-104 overall and 27-59 in OVC play. The former Mississippi State head coach has spent time as an assistant at Clemson, Purdue, Northern Illinois and Indiana State.

  • IN: Brad Korn

SEMO is turning to the Big 12 for its new head coach. Brad Korn has spent the past five seasons under Bruce Weber’s staff at Kansas State — the past four as an assistant coach. Korn has also spent considerable time as an assistant coach at Southern Illinois and Missouri State.

TARLETON STATE

  • OUT: Chris Reisman

Stepping down as men’s basketball coach due to a promotion, Reisman is remaining with Tarleton State. Reisman will serve in an administrative role as assistant athletic director after two seasons as head coach. Tarleton transitions into Division I this season as a member of the WAC.

  • IN: Billy Gillispie

Returning to the Division I level is the controversial former Kentucky and Texas Tech head coach. Gillispie spent the past four seasons as coach and athletic director at Ranger College in the junior college ranks. Gillispie took Ranger to back-to-back tournaments the past two seasons.

UAB

  • OUT: Rob Ehsan

Ehsan replaced Jerod Haase as the head coach of the Blazers. But after four years, he was let go. Ehsan finished at .500 or above in every season that he was in charge, winning 20 games twice and finishing with a record of 76-57 and 38-34 in league play. The overwhelming favorite to replace him is Andy Kennedy, an alum and a former assistant at the school.

  • IN: Andy Kennedy

After a two-year hiatus, Andy Kennedy is back on the sidelines. The former Ole Miss boss is returning to his alma mater with this decision. Following 12 years with the Rebels, Kennedy resigned and spent the past two seasons in the broadcast booth. Although Kennedy has a notable 266-169 mark as a head coach, he only has two NCAA tournament appearances in 13 seasons as a head coach. The Big Dance will be the benchmark Kennedy will be expected to achieve at UAB.

UNC WILMINGTON

  • OUT: C.B. McGrath

McGrath was relieved of his duties as UNCW head coach in mid-January after the program got off to a 5-14 start to the season, losing their first six games in CAA play. In two and a half years at the helm of the Seahawks, McGrath had a 26-60 overall record and a 10-32 mark in league play. Assistant coach Rob Burke was named the interim head coach.

  • IN: Takayo Siddle

The Seahawks went back to Kevin Keatts with their hire to replace McGrath, grabbing Siddle, who is currently an N.C. State assistant coach, to take the program over. Keatts brought them to two NCAA tournaments in three years before leaving for Raleigh and being replaced by McGrath.

WESTERN ILLINOIS

  • OUT: Billy Wright

Head coach Billy Wright will not have his contract renewed for the 2020-21 season, the school announced March 3. Over six seasons, the former assistant at the school went 53-115 overall with a 20-74 mark in Summit League play.

  • IN: Rob Jeter

Returning to the head-coaching ranks is Jeter. The former Milwaukee head coach amassed a 184-170 mark in 11 seasons with the school, making two NCAA tournament appearances. Jeter has most recently spent time as an assistant at Minnesota and UNLV.

WESTERN MICHIGAN

  • OUT: Steve Hawkins

After 17 seasons as head coach, and 20 overall at the school, Steve Hawkins is out at Western Michigan. The veteran head coach’s contract will run out and not be renewed. Hawkins finishes with two NCAA tournament appearances and a 291-262 at Western Michigan.

  • IN: Clayton Bates

Western Michigan opted to promote associate head coach Clayton Bates to be the program’s new head coach. Bates has been an assistant with the Broncos on-and-off since 2000 as he brings plenty of experience with the program.

WYOMING

  • OUT: Allen Edwards

Things changed quickly at Wyoming under Edwards. His first season, Wyoming claimed the CBI and won 23 games. The second season made it back-to-back 20-win seasons. Years three and four saw Wyoming only win 17 total games. The Cowboys saw the program plummet the past two seasons.

  • IN: Jeff Linder

Wyoming moved quickly to secure Northern Colorado’s Jeff Linder as the Cowboys’ next head coach. Linder is coming off of a strong four-year stretch with the Bears. Following a rebuild, Linder helped the Bears to three straight 20-win seasons — including a CIT title in 2018. Linder was an impressive 48-28 in Big Sky play during his tenure at Northern Colorado.