10@10: The top head coach hires this offseason

25 May

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

As usual, the coaching carousel was rapidly spinning this offseason. There weren’t a lot of major hires but there were some great hires. Here’s the top 10 hires of the offseason in today’s edition of 10 @ 10.

1. Lon Kruger, Oklahoma – Kruger has been to the NCAA tournament 13 times. That’s more than any of the new hires in 2011. You have to go all the way back to 1998-1999 for his last sub .500 year. He went 14-18 at Illinois but went 22-10 the next year. Kruger has only won one conference title as a head coach. Kruger’s history has proven his value long before he ever steps on the sidelines in Norman. The Sooners made a brilliant hire with the former UNLV head man.

2. Mike Anderson, Arkansas – There’s nothing quite like going home. Everyone in college basketball knew Anderson would be the head coach for the Razorbacks. It was just a matter of time when it happened. He’s the perfect fit in Fayetteville. He connected immediately with the great fan base and more importantly he kept the No. 7 overall recruiting class intact. The talent is in place for immediate success.

3. Mark Turgeon, Maryland – When Gary Williams retired this month, the Terps were faced with the difficult task of replacing a legend with limited candidates. Turgeon was the right fit. He may not be the sexiest of picks but for Maryland’s sake, he’s the right fit. Landing a coach like Turgeon that late in the coaching hiring game was impressive. Moreover, he snagged the perfect guy for his staff in Dalonte Hill of Kansas State, too. Nick Faust, the top recruit from the Williams regime, recommitted to the program, too.

4. Paul Hewitt, George Mason – After a nasty split with Georgia Tech, Hewitt was going to try his hand at television or try to land a job with a team in the NBA. Then George Mason opened up. Hewitt fell into a gold mine. He has a team that some have in the top 25. He’s in a fertile recruiting area. He is at a basketball school. He landed a top 100 player after he made an important assistant coach hire but he also lost a foundation piece in Luke Hancock, who left for Louisville.

5. Mark Gottfried, N.C. State – When Sidney Lowe was fired, the list for the Wolfpack job was long and, at times, laughable. So when the former Alabama coach landed the position, there were some that waved off the hire as a bad one. They’ll probably rescind those thoughts in time. Gottfried is a good coach. He has only had one season under .500 in his career as a head coach. He’s been to seven NCAA tournaments. Right out of the gates, he and his staff of very capable and qualified assistants landed 5-star guard Torian Graham, an in-state stud. There is no denying the value of N.C. State as a potential No. 3 team in the ACC. Gottfried has the talent around him in North Carolina to build it into a consistent tournament team.

6. Archie Miller, Dayton – Just 32, Miller is the youngest coach on this list. He’s a rising star in the business. At the helm of his first program, the former N.C. State point guard is going down a similar path that his brother, Sean, went down. Work at a major program (he did at Arizona, while Sean did at Ohio State) and then land a gig at an Atlantic 10 school in Ohio. Archie will build a winner. The big question are: how long will it take and how long will he be there?

7. Rob Senderoff, Kent State – There is strength in continuity when it comes to college basketball. No one knows that better than Kent State. Senderoff is the third straight in-house hire for the head coach position. He takes over for Geno Ford, who took over for Jim Christian. Kent State has won 20 or more games 12 of the last 13 seasons. Senderoff knows what it takes to be successful at the MAC school. No reason to believe the program drops off now.

8. Andy Enfield, Florida Gulf Coast – The former Florida State head coach may have not been a big name hire on the national level but understand something: this is a major hire. Talk to anyone in the Atlantic Sun and they will tell you that FGCU is a sleeping giant. The facilities are great. The campus is nice. Fort Myers is an easy sell. Enfield, a former NBA assistant, has already landed a handful of good recruits. He’ll reel in plenty of talent to FGCU. With Belmont leaving the Atlantic Sun, Enfield could have this program on the rise and in the post-season.

9. Frank Haith, Missouri – This hiring was analyzed more than any other high-major hire, mostly on the not so good side of things. I disagree. You can’t judge Haith’s efforts in Miami as the end all, be all. He won 20 games three times and was only below .500 once in his career at the school. Haith is a proven recruiter and Missouri has the facilities to land a big timer once a  year. Give him time.

10. Paul Lusk, Missouri State – The Bears lost a lot after a great regular season run. The major of the team graduated and Cuonzo Martin left for Tennessee. Lusk, a long-time Purdue assistant, is one of the young rising stars in the coaching ranks. Inside the industry, he’s highly regarded. The cupboards at Missouri State aren’t as full as some other jobs that were opened. That’s why Lusk’s hiring is so good. He’ll restock the shelves and have the Bears in the post-season. Just watch.

2 Responses to “10@10: The top head coach hires this offseason”

  1. Ben Moore May 25, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    No Ron Hunter at Georgia State?


  1. Clipboard conversations: Rob Senderoff, new Kent State coach « - June 2, 2011

    […] is the new head basketball coach at Kent State. Get to know the name because he’s one of the top coaching hires of the off-season. I caught up with him to talk about his new job, his past, what he hopes to […]

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