After yet another a rough season, this one ending with just seven wins for the UMBC Retrievers, the time for a change had come. That change came in the form of a new head coach.
UMBC announced at the end of March that the new guy on the sidelines would be Ryan Odom. Odom comes from Lenior-Rhyne (N.C), where he lead the Division II Bears to their first ever Regional Finals appearance and their first 20-win season in almost a decade.
Before his stay as the Division II head coach, he was on the coaching staff at UNC-Charlotte from 2010-15, and during his stay, led the 49ers to an NIT bid in 2013. In 2014, he was promoted to associate head coach and in Jan. 2015, was named interim head coach. Before that, he had stints at South Florida, Furman, UNC Asheville, American, and Virginia Tech. His bloodline isn't bad either -- he's the son of former South Carolina head coach and 400-game winner Dave Odom.
It's clear he has the credentials as a head coach for UMBC, but will he be able to restore the program's glory from a decade ago?
The Retrievers have had a rough few years. The last time they had a double-digit win season was back in 2009, and they have not had a winning America East season since 2008, which was the last time they made it to the conference championship and only time they made the NCAA tournament.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Odom believes that the Retrievers are a "sleeping giant." But if he is going to prove that, there will certainly be a long road ahead.
To be fair, this could be opportune timing for Odom; UMBC is heading into a fresh start with a new head coach and a new arena coming in two years.
"There has been success here before," Odom said according to NYC Buckets, "It's happened before and I'm confident it can happen again. You got to look at all the things UMBC has to offer, the leadership, the new arena and the recruiting footprint. All of that gives you a fighting chance. Then you got to put the talent out there, coach them up, get them better and have a little luck at times too."
Odom has brought in Nate Dixon, Eric Skeeters and Bryce Crawford as assistant coaches, and Griff Aldrich as Director of Operations. With a completely new staff and a young team, can Odom be the spark that the program needs?