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Coaching Carousel: 2014 Coaching Changes Grades

The Coaching Carousel is spinning fast and furiously, so who has made good hires and who has made some poor decisions?

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

It's certainly hard to tell who will flourish and who will fall when it comes to coaching changes in college basketball. We've had another active year in the college coaching carousel and what schools have made a good grade and who is set to struggle?

Appalachian State Mountaineers
Out: Jason Capel
In: Jim Fox (Davidson Assistant)
Grade: C

It seems like the Mountaineers whiffed on a number of coaches, including Duggar Baucom and Bobby Lutz, before landing on Fox. Obviously Fox comes from a successful program, but I don't think he brings the same level of energy that Yodeling Yosef is going to need moving to the Sun Belt.

Bowling Green Falcons
Out: Louis Orr
In: Chris Jans (Wichita St Assistant)
Grade: B

Hiring the top assistant from a program like Wichita State must look like a homerun to many fans but I'm not totally sold on Jans. He has strong ties to the JUCO ranks, but he seems like one of those assistants that were there more for recruiting prowess than X's and O's. He was VERY successful at the JUCO level a decade ago, it'll be interesting to see if that translates.

Central Arkansas Bears
Out: Clarence Finley
In: Russ Pennell 
Grade: A+

This may be the best hire this offseason a year after the Bears lost Corliss Williamson. Russ Pennell was unjustly fired, in my opinion, for a PR stunt from Jerry Colangelo and Grand Canyon Univer$ity. Pennell has resurfaced at his alma mater and he's already landed some big time recruits in his old Arizona stomping grounds and has even stolen a former Antelope. Central Arkansas got a good quality coach who is motivated to the max.

Florida Atlantic Owls
Out: Mike Jarvis
In: Michael Curry
Grade: B

This was a bit of an unexpected/weird hire when the Owl snagged former NBA head coach Michael Curry.  I think Curry is a good hire though because he is a drive and still young head coach who know has plenty of experience. He knows the area from growing up in the South and should fit right in at FAU.

IUPUI Jaguars
Out: Todd Howard
In: Jason Gardner (Memphis Assistant)
Grade: B

The Jaguars got a young Memphis assistant and Indianapolis native to reinvigorate their program. Gardner is only 33 but he has some regional experience at Loyola (IL) and Memphis. Gardner played at the highest level of college basketball and has his number retired in the Arizona rafters.

Loyola Marymount Lions
Out: Max Good
In: Mike Dunlap
Grade: A

Dunlap was a highly respected college assistant before he accepted Michael Jordan's offer to coach the Charlotte Bobcats a couple of years ago. I like that Dunlap is a LMU alum and he has most certainly hit the ground running in LA. This is one my favorite hires.

Jacksonville Dolphins
Out: Cliff Warren
In: Tony Jasick (IPFW HC)
Grade: A+

Jasick built IPFW in three years to a 25 win program and will look to do the same in Jacksonville. Jasick has some history in the Atlantic Sun footprint as he went to college and was an assistant at several schools based in the South. I think this hire will end up being a home run.

Marshall Thundering Herd
Out: Tom Herrion
In: Dan D'antoni
Grade: F

Marshall not only publicly whiffed on a number of coaches, they got their second choice from the D'antoni family. While D'antoni is a Marshall alum, he hasn't coached in a college game in 43 years. The soon to be 67 year old was a high school coach for 30 years before joining his brothers NBA staffs. I'm sure D'antoni is a fine coach but I don't think he's the answer to reinvigorate a program that hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament in over 25 years.

Maryland Eastern-Shore Hawks
Out: Frankie Allen
In: Bobby Collins (Winston-Salem St HC)
Grade: C

Collins knows the MEAC landscape but he's a bit of a retread after not finding success at Hampton or Winston-Salem State's brief Division I experiment. He has had a good deal of success at the Division II level in recent years but I'm not totally confident that will transfer to the perennially struggling UMES Hawks.

Montana State Bobcats
Out: Brad Huse
In: Brian Fish (Oregon Assistant)
Grade: B

The 48 year old Fish has a lot of experience coming into Montana State including 15 years under Dana Altman. He knows the markets where Montana State needs to recruit well and should be a good fit for the Bobcats.

Ohio Bobcats
Out: Jim Christian
In: Saul Phillips (NDSU HC)
Grade: B

Ohio went with the hot name in replacing Jim Christian and tagged North Dakota State head coach Saul Phillips. Phillips success speaks for itself with a 134-84 mark in Fargo. He also knows the region well after stints at Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

Rice Owls
Out: Ben Braun
In: Mike Rhoades (VCU Assistant)
Grade: A+

People in Richmond would look at me crazy when I'd say that Shaka Smart was the second best basketball coach on VCU's bench but that's how special I believe Mike Rhoades is. He's already built a national contender at the Division III level and now he has several years of experience at the Division I level. If anyone can turn this Rice program around it's Mike Rhoades.

South Dakota Coyotes
Out: Joey James
In: Craig Smith (Nebraska Assistant)
Grade: B

Smith is a former NAIA National Coach of the Year when he took a one win team to the national championship game. The Minnesota native has plenty of experience in the region and he should be a great fit for South Dakota.

Southeastern Louisiana Golden Lions
Out: Jim Yarborough
In: Jay Ladner
Grade: D

Ladner was coaching high school basketball a couple of years ago and while he's had tremendous success at the JUCO level, I don't see how he can transform this program with no college experience. I could be wrong if Ladner really taps into the local high school markets and can get some gems.

UNC Wilmington Seahawks
Out: Buzz Peterson
In: Kevin Keatts (Louisville Assistant)
Grade: B-

From a recruiting standpoint this is a dynamite hire but I'm not totally sold on Keatts coaching ability. This former CAA titan needs a lot of work but Keatts might have the right stuff to get it done.

Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks
Out: Jason Jones
In: Heath Schroyer (UNLV Assistant)
Grade: D

The Skyhawks need a lot of help and at first glance the athletic director grabbed one of his old guys from UNLV. It doesn't look like Schroyer has the local knowledge that would help turn this program around. With so many good up and coming coaches in the South, I think UTM could have made a better hire.

Western Illinois Leathernecks
Out: Jim Molinari
In: Billy Wright (Ball St Assistant)
Grade: B

This is a good hire just based on the fact that Wright spent five seasons at Western Illinois and is certainly qualified. Add a little seasoning from a year in the MAC and you have a solid hire.