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New Coaches in OVC Bring Excitement to Conference in Need of Parity

Everyone knows that Murray State has a new head man, but what about the other teams with new coaches?

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Not everyone can be a Rick Byrd or Dave Loos. New faces come and go on the college basketball scene like a fresh plate of eggs and bacon at Bob Evans.

Murray State Racers

With a not so new face in a new position in Murray, Kentucky taking over the role of head basketball coach for the Racers, many OVC fanatics are quite aware that a new era could be upon the conference. Matt McMahon takes over a program that has been the beacon of success for the OVC for the better part of a decade, winning at least 18 games every year since 2007-2008. Two 30-win seasons highlighted this stellar run.

McMahon, the 16th coach in program history, was swiped back from Louisiana Tech where he had taken an Associate Head Coach position with the Bulldogs, only to be called right back where he had just left as an assistant under now former coach Steve Prohm (now at Iowa State). This is obviously where he wanted to be, and he now takes over a program that has realized success that most wouldn't have envisioned for an OVC school before the 2000's.

The Racers have every reason to envision success in 2015-2016 under McMahon, even without the vision of Prohm and skill of someone like last year's OVC Player of the Year Cam Payne.

But what we're here to remind you is that there are other coaching changes ongoing this offseason, as new men get acclimated to their respective programs, bringing new hype to their schools and fanbases.

Eastern Kentucky Colonels

Maybe most notably to the conference was the loss of Eastern Kentucky coach Jeff Neubauer to Fordham in a move that shocked many. On comes former University of Louisville assistant Dan McHale, who has worked under the likes of Kevin Willard, Rick and Richard Pitino and Tubby Smith.

Expect to see some "Pitino-ball," aka up-tempo play out of the full-court press, as well as some matchup zones, springing out of the philosophies employed by former boss Rick Pitino.

With guys like Eric Stutz, Corey Walden, Timmy Knipp gone, others like Ja'Mill Powell, and Denzel Richardson (whose role regressed last season) will be asked to elevate their games for the Richmond faithful.

Southeast Missouri State Redhawks

Outside of Kentucky and into the frontier of the west as far as this conference goes, new Southeast Missouri State coach Rick Ray was introduced in May (hey!) after serving as the head coach at Mississippi State for three seasons. That SEC pedigree will get him some attention, but its yet to be seen how it applies at an upstart program in terms of success.

Ray put together a 37-60 mark as the Bulldogs head coach in his three seasons in Starkville, Mississippi. He becomes the first African-American coach in the school's history. Ray will attempt to bring new talent to a program that has hovered around .500 over the course of the last few years. Improving on its 13-17 mark from last year might be difficult considering the need to replace leading scorer Jarekious Bradley who netted 16+ per game a season ago.

Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Cougars

Elsewhere in the OVC, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville found itself a new head coach in Jon Davis, who has worked the last seven seasons under Cuonzo Martin at Missouri State, Tennessee and California. You might remember Harris as a stud rebounder who played on Marquette's Final Four team. The homegrown coach is back in Edwardsville where he developed his knack for basketball.

Davis will be tasked with finding a way to help SIUE win some ball games a year after it picked up just one road victory. By comparison the cougars went 11-3 at home. Like the aforementioned programs, the Cougars lose their leading scorer from a year ago (Kris Davis).

Noticing a trend? Well, for the sake of parity, let's hope big-time players emerge to create some excitement in the OVC. Season tip-off is under two months away. That's right, feel the goosebumps.

Can any one of these new head men create an environment for their respective programs that produces success on the level of a Murray State or Belmont (new as they might be)?