One of the most exciting parts of the college basketball calendar is when the coaching carousel starts up and brings mass hysteria to the masses.
We still have a ways to go before that hits, but for programs that might be off to a rocky start (cough cough UConn), it can be fun to engage in hypothetical discussions of who a team should hire.
This line of thinking stemmed a topic of discussion at the Mid-Major Madness headquarters (our slack chat):
Which mid-major coach would you pick to build a program from scratch?
A few things to note:
- We are excluding “lifers” like Mark Few, Randy Bennett, and Rick Byrd who are synonymous with their program’s reputation.
- MID-MAJORS ONLY. That means no Gregg Marshall, no matter how much we miss him and the Shockers.
We polled our staff as well as reaching out to the good folks of Twitter to see who everyone would pick.
Mid-Major Madness Staff Picks
Chris Schutte (me): Eric Musselman would be my pick. He’s going to recruit high level talent and he’s going to implement a play style that’s fun as hell.
Ben Goren: Bill Carmody, because he is my dad. Really it’s because the Princeton offense is a tremendous negator of talent deficiency. It takes two years to implement, but if you're consistently out-talented, it's a great tool. But mostly because he's my dad and my dad bought an autographed Holy Cross Crusaders chair.
Kyle Cajero: I'll take UC-Irvine's Russell Turner. He'll recruit a plethora of large adult sons, play basically his entire bench, schedule formidably and win 18+ games a year.
Cam Lopez: I’ll go with John Brannen from NKU. He’s young and has built a solid program from the ground up, and his team has shown up when it counted both in the conference tournament and NCAA tourney.
Mitchell Northam: Ron Hunter. Before he got to Georgia State, they hadn't been to a post-season tourney since 2002 (Lefty Driesell's last full season). Since Hunter came in (2011-12) they've had four 20-win seasons, 3 post-season appearances, two Sun Belt titles. Another good one would be LeVelle Moton. Since NC Central jumped to D1 in 2011, he's had one season under .500, four 22+ win seasons, three MEAC reg season titles and two NCAA tourney appearances. And it seems like he wins every year with little known JUCO guys.
Cam Newton (duh):
Oliver Purnell— Oliver Purnell has never been fired (@morrisoncrying) December 6, 2017
Russell Steinberg: John Becker.
Greg Mitchell: Style and youth would be my two keys, but I’m going to go against both of those things and pick Ben Jacobson.
Patrick Tonero: Let's throw some NEC names in the mix! Jamion Christian and Andy Toole.
Scott Cross was a popular pick, and for good reason. He will likely be one of the hottest names on the market at the end of the year. Dan Muller was also a common choice, and will probably be in the same boat as Cross when it comes to his name popping up in the offseason.
Scott Cross (UT Arlington) or Dan Muller (Illinois State)— Mickey Seward (@mickeyseward) December 6, 2017
Tim Jankovich or Scott Cross— No Names Plz (@MG_BBallReport) December 6, 2017
Dan Muller— Stephen McGrady (@StephenMcGrady) December 6, 2017
Kermit Davis was another one that we got a lot of, and actually was my initial pick before switching to Musselman. Given his track record over the last couple of years, it’s hard to argue with that choice.
Kermit Davis or Scott Cross— 111 (@Phade2Black_10) December 6, 2017
Kermit Davis— Brad Cummings (@BwcShaggy) December 6, 2017
Of course we couldn’t forget about one of the more interesting coaches in the country.
Dan Hurley, who has done a great job so far this year with his Rhode Island team, is almost a no-brainer.
Dan Hurley from Rhode Island. Excellent coach, pedigree, and basketball connections.— @JMset3 (@JMset3) December 6, 2017
Here are a couple more that our wonderful followers nominated:
Martelli would probably be the best coach available, I don’t know about program builder though. Maybe you gotta go younger. Kelsey?— Showey D (@ShoweyD) December 6, 2017
Apologies if we didn’t include your pick. If you haven’t weighed in on the discussion yet, feel free to join us and engage in the discourse.
DISCUSS:— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) December 6, 2017
If you could pick one mid-major coach to build your program from scratch (excluding lifers like Few, Bennett, Byrd, etc.), which coach would you pick?