Who's Our Guy? A Dive Into College Basketball's Head Coach Openings for the 2022-23 Season.
Every program wants to have "that guy" at the helm. While that may sounds generic, the "that guy" mentality is how many college basketball coaches today got their jobs. It could be a school hiring their former player, like Juwan Howard at Michigan or Penny Hardaway at Memphis. It could be a former assistant of the program like Tom Izzo at Michigan State or Mark Few at Gonzaga. Heck, it could even be that hotshot guy that you steal from another program. Texas did that with Chris Beard when they took him from rival Texas Tech, and Alabama did the same by hiring Nate Oats away from Buffalo. Point is, there's tons of ways for schools to find "that guy". So, at the end of the season when each school with a head coach vacancy looks for their guy, they'll have a bunch of options. But, who is the best coach for each school? Note: This page will change as the coaching carousel continues!
Duke: In- Jon Scheyer, Out- Mike Krzyzewski; This hire was obvious. Coach K's time has come to hang up the cleats, and Scheyer has been waiting I the wings for some time to get his shot. Already Duke's top recruiter and a former player of Coach K, it makes sense for a blue blood program like Duke to stay in the "family" for their next head coach. Scheyer might be a bit too inexperienced for the job, but he'll have all the talent and aid in the world to help him keep the Blue Devils a contender year after year.
Future Duke Head Coach Jon Scheyer (left) on the sideline as an assistant to current Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Georgia: In- Mike White, Out- Tom Crean; With Tom Crean being fired on March 10th after an abysmal four year stretch, Georgia basketball has decided to start anew with another SEC man in Mike White. However, it is somewhat shocking that they didn't go with either of the two major candidates the betting world had their eyes on, those being Jonas Hayes and Matt McMahon. Still, White is a good choice, having led the Florida Gators to four NCAA Tournament appearances and an Elite Eight in the 2016-17 season. It will be interesting to see how he plans to turn around a program that hasn't gone to the big dance since 2015.
New Georgia Head Coach Mike White on the sidelines at his old job as the Head Coach of the Florida Gators.
Kansas State: In- UNDECIDED, Out- Bruce Weber; Moving on from a longtime coach is a hard thing for any program. However, moving on from a longtime coach at a subpar power conference school is even harder. Simply put, Kansas State is in an odd position where it isn't very desirable for assistants from top programs or up and coming coaches from mid majors. Like some other schools on the list, top assistants like Jerome Tang or up and comers like Matt McMahon are a dream scenario for the Wildcats. However, it is more likely that they pull a different coach from a mid major, Niko Medved. Medved is currently leading Colorado State to a six seed in this year's March Madness, and has slowly ascended from roles at lower schools like Furman and Drake to a really nice job at Colorado State. Although his overall success rate might be a little lower than Kansas State's standards, it could be worth a shot for a team with nothing to lose after making the tournament just twice in the last ten years.
Up and comer Niko Medved at a press conference during his current tenure as Head Coach of the Colorado State Rams.
Louisville: In- UNDECIDED, Out- Chris Mack; After a nice run of dominance, the Cardinals have cooled off quite a bit over the last few years. This obviously resulted in Chris Mack's firing and the beginning of a search for their next head coach. The favorite for the job is New York Knicks assistant Kenny Payne, an alum of the program who would add a huge boost to the school's recruitment efforts. There's also talks of Louisville aiming for the stars and going after either UCLA's Mick Cronin or Ohio State's Chris Holtmann. However, considering both are in great positions at equal or better programs it seems hard to believe either would jump ship. Similar to Georgia, Matt McMahon is also a possibility and would be a huge success for the Cardinals. But, it would be a risky investment for a program that wants to win now. In short, Payne is probably the best realistic option, and would be great for Louisville to start fresh with.
Former Louisville basketball player and coaching prospect Kenny Payne at his current job as an assistant for the New York Knicks.
Maryland: In- UNDECIDED, Out- Mark Turgeon; This opening has been open for a long time, yet little has been done to really fill the gap. Former top possibilities like Rick Pitino and Andy Enfield have maintained their commitment to Iona and USC, respectively, and current interim head coach Danny Manning isn't Big Ten head coaching material at the moment. Yet, there are still options. Current Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard would likely welcome a change of scenery as well as a culture change (and an increase in salary) in College Park. Willard has led the Pirates to four tournament appearances, and won the Big East in 2020. A slightly more qualified coach is current Providence head coach Ed Cooley. However, Cooley is a native of Providence and is currently enjoying plenty of success with the Friars. Thus, pulling him away will be difficult. Lastly, Mike Brey of Notre Dame is another qualified candidate for the Terps that has seen plenty of success over his career, although he is getting old and wouldn't be a good long term option. Ultimately, Willard is the most likely going to become the next coach of the Terps. However, a big move to pull Cooley would be great for a historically great program that fell off a cliff this year.
Likely upcoming Maryland Head Coach Kevin Willard on the sidelines for his current job at Seton Hall.
Missouri: In- UNDECIDED, Out- Cuonzo Martin; The most recent firing of the bunch, Cuonzo Martin finds himself without a job after a measly 78-77 record in five seasons with the Tigers. Like a few of the schools mentioned earlier, Matt McMahon is a popular name for the job who certainly has the qualifications and talent for a power conference job. North Texas coach Grant McCasland is also a popular candidate, as he has seen success at virtually every school he's been at. The problem with him is that it would be a big step up from the Mean Green, so it might take some time for him to adjust. The final and most likely candidate is Baylor assistant Jerome Tang. Tang, a longtime assistant of the Bears, has never been a head coach before. However, he has a perfect record as an interim coach and has both the experience and recruiting prowess to take over a program like Missouri. Tang is also the most intriguing prospective coach, as he would bring the grand winning culture of Baylor over to a Tigers squad that needs some wins.
Possible Missouri Head Coach Jerome Tang (left) on the sidelines with current Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew.