News, thoughts and more from the world of college sports across the nation and Long Island.
Coaches on the move
It’s been a rough season for coaches as 30 have already been fired or have stepped down. The big jobs are UCLA, USC and Minnesota. VCU’s Shaka Smart reportedly turned down UCLA and Minnesota already. It’s an understandable decision on his part, especially spurning UCLA. Despite the lore and tradition of the program, the Bruins family can be hard on its coaches. Just ask Jim Harrick, who was fired a year after winning a championship. Granted Harrick violated NCAA rules and lied when confronted, but UCLA can be very tough on coaches who make mistakes.
Even ask Ben Howland, who has the second most wins in school history and took the program to three final fours. Howland tool the program to the NCAA Tournament seven times in 10 years. Steve Lavin took UCLA to the NCAA Tournament six times in seven years, including to five Sweet 16s and one Elite 8. Yes, UCLA isn't the easiest place to coach at.
Minnesota isn't the easiest place to win at. Being in the Big 10 is a great thing, but the Golden Gophers have been overshadowed by Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State for years. You can win at Minnesota, but there's clearly been a ceiling at the school.
Locally, Hofstra is open. Iona’s Tim Cluess is clearly in the Pride’s sights. But considering state of the CAA, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if Cluess holds out for another job. Hofstra is still a good job, but the conference just lost George Mason and two or three of its other programs -Northeastern, Drexel, Delaware- might not be far behind.
The list below contains all Division I coaching changes this spring with the replacements in parenthesis.
Ball State – Billy Taylor
Buffalo – Reggie Witherspoon (Bobby Hurley)
Cal State Fullerton – Bob Burton
Cal State Northridge – Bobby Braswell
Campbell – Robbie Laing
Chattanooga – John Shulman
Drake – Mark Phelps (Ray Giacoletti)
Fairleigh Dickinson – Greg Vetrone
Furman – Jeff Jackson
Georgia Southern – Charlton Young
Hofstra – Mo Cassara
Jackson State – Tevester Anderson (Wayne Brent)
Longwood – Mike Gillian
Marist – Chuck Martin
Minnesota – Tubby Smith
Northwestern – Bill Carmody (Chris Collins)
Old Dominion – Blaine Taylor
Pacific – Bob Thomason (Ron Verlin)
Saint Louis – Rick Majeras, Jim Crews (Interim)
San Jose State – George Nessman
Siena – Mitch Buonaguro
South Alabama – Ronnie Arrow (Matthew Graves)
South Carolina State – Tim Carter, Murray Garvin (interim)
Texas-Pan American – Ryan Marks
Texas State – Doug Favalos
Texas Tech – Billy Gillespie
Troy – Don Maestri (Phil Cunningham)
UMKC – Matt Brown (Kareem Richardson)
UCLA – Ben Howland
USC – Kevin O’Neill