After an active and swift coaching search that featured such non-power conference coaches as Josh Pastner and Ben Jacobson, Texas A&M hired Murray State's Billy Kennedy to replace the departed Mark Turgeon. The former Aggie assistant told the Houston Chronicle he is happy to be heading back to. College Station.
"I can't wait to get back to Aggieland," said Kennedy, an A&M assistant during the 1990-91 season. "Even though I was there only for a short time, I could tell Aggieland is a special place. Aggies have great pride and passion for their school and their athletic programs. I have watched with interest the recent success and the NCAA tournament appearances the past six years. I look forward to meeting the team and working toward a seventh NCAA bid, as well as even deeper tournament runs."
David Harris of the Dallas Morning News says that while Kennedy may be excited to return to a former school, his work will be cut out for him. Ultimately though, nothing beats winning, even if he wasn't a big name hire.
Of for every school that hires a new coach, there is one that must find a replacement - such is the case for Murray State. The Racers have had a tremendous run under Kennedy, but in the early hours following his departure, Athletic Director Allen Ward says assistant Steve Prohm is an early favorite.
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After dominating the Atlantic Sun to the tune of four NCAA Tournament berths in the last five years, including a 30-win season in 2011, Belmont will be moving to the Ohio Valley Conference starting in the 2012-13 season. While the OVC gets the benefit of another strong mid-major team and the Bruins get a stronger conference to call home, perhaps the most important change for Belmont will be financial.
Speaking of the Ohio Valley Conference, on the heels of their first conference tournament in three years, Southeast Missouri has announced a one-year contract extension for head coach Dickey Nutt.
New Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson continues to fill out his staff as he prepares for his first season. The latest moves over the weekend including the addition of former Richmond director of basketball operations Marcus Jenkins as an assistant.
After battling injury all of last season, Illinois State junior Kenyon Smith has announced that he will be leaving the program and transferring to Division II Southern Indiana.
In recruiting news, Memphis and George Mason both made a splash over the weekend. Paul Hewitt has started off well in his tenure with the Patriots, landing 6-foot-8 Erik Copes, a top 60 player in the class of 2011 who had originally committed to George Washington. The Tigers made a move for their future, landing their first recruit for the 2012 class in 6-foot-5 small forward Damien Wilson out of famed Oak Hill Academy. ESPN ranks Wilson as a top 50 player and the No. 10 small forward overall.
Lastly, news that had long been rumored and impacts all of college basketball, Jeff Goodman has officially announced that he will be leaving Fox Sports and joining the monster college hoops staff at CBS Sports. Justin Young at the National Hoops Report has a great interview with Goodman about the move, go read.