New Faces, New Places

By on April 14, 2015

The end of the college basketball season has brought with it a change of scenery for several college coaches and one former NBA coach.  Now is the time to look at some of these new hires as well as one coach who decided not to change addresses.

Gregg Marshall, Wichita State:

Probably the best recruiting job was done by Wichita State who convinced Gregg Marshall to stay put.  Marshall reportedly turned down a significant pay raise (Alabama reportedly offered $4.9 million/year) to remain in Wichita and keep the Shockers a perennial Missouri Valley Conference and NCAA powerhouse.

Ben Howland (Mississippi State) & Rick Barnes (Tennessee):  

The SEC just got a bit more difficult.  The hiring of Ben Howland at Mississippi State and Rick Barnes at Tennessee brings credibility to the SEC as a basketball conference.  Howland and Barnes can walk into any home and not just sell their success at sending players to the NBA but also sell their combined 5 Final Four appearances as well as coaching at powerhouse schools UCLA and Texas.

Shaka Smart, Texas:

It only took 6 years and Texas to come along and pull Smart away from VCU.  Smart was incredibly successfully at VCU, posting a 163-56 record and 1 NCAA Final Four appearance.  The question is, will Smart have the same success at Texas? His previous two predecessors (Jeff Capel & Anthony Grant) did not farewell in the long run.

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Bobby Hurley, Arizona State:

Hurley turned two successful seasons at Buffalo into a pay raise and a coaching job in a Power 5 conference.  As Arizona State tries to keep up with Arizona, UCLA and other PAC 12 schools, it has tasked Hurley with getting the Sun Devils back to the NCAA tournament and keeping them there, something Herb Sendek was only able to accomplish twice in his 9 seasons.

Avery Johnson, Alabama:

The jury is still out on this hire.  Most sports pundits really liked the hire, even some calling it a “home run hire”, based on Johnson’s ability to relate to players and his NBA coaching experience.  Give Bill Battle (Alabama’s AD) credit for thinking outside the box with this hire, but it will be interesting to see if Avery Johnson can recruit and if his NBA pedigree will translate to success on the court.

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