It’s time for everyone’s favorite Valentine’s Day tradition: the annual ranking of the sexiest mid-major basketball coaches. This year, I got some help as the MMM staff gave its nominations (there were dozens) and somehow I was able to narrow it down to 10 for #sexycoaches2017
The best part? No repeats from previous years! Derek Kellogg’s 2016 title is safe, but it’s time for some new blood:
10. TJ Otzelberger (South Dakota State)
While it’s the first time he’s been on the list, this is not South Dakota State’s first appearance; back in 2015, Scott Nagy placed sixth. While Otzelberger’s 12-16 record this year is less than desirable, the Jackrabbits definitely have the leadership capabilities to get things going.
9. Earl Grant (College of Charleston)
Grant has already made his mark on Cougar basketball. In his second year, he turned the program into one of the most improved in Division I and developed four all-conference players. His Cougars are currently second in the CAA standings and one win away from breaking the 20 mark.
8. Robert Ehsan (UAB)
Ehsan’s first year isn’t going so bad, with his Blazers tied for fourth in Conference USA. Back in 2015, he helped them cause some serious March Madness as associate head coach when the No. 14 Blazers knocked off No. 3 Iowa State in the Round of 64.
7. Ryan Odom (UMBC)
First off, Silver Fox, anyone?
Odom is in his first year at UMBC and he’s made a world of a difference. UMBC’s success this season has really gotten people talking after a seven-win season a year ago. The Retrievers also came close to crashing the conference and beating Vermont over the weekend. Something tells me they might get one more chance...
6. Danny Kaspar (Texas State)
Danny Kaspar knows what he’s doing. After 13 years at Steven F. Austin and many 20-win seasons, he’s been putting that to work with the Bobcats. He’s led them to their first two appearances in the Sun Belt conference tournament and has them in the mix this year for the regular season title.
5. Brett Reed (Lehigh)
Reed is someone who knows winning, and anyone who knows my qualifications for “sexy” knows that winning is at the top of the list. In fact, he’s won more than any other coach in school history — 162 times. Add that 27-win season back in 2011-12 and you’ve got yourself the resume for a top 10 sexiest mid major coach.
4. Porter Moser (Loyola-Chicago)
The fifth-year head coach has made quite a statement with Loyola basketball. I mean, his jacket even has a Twitter. I think that’s a big deal. His Ramblers are in the middle of the Missouri Valley Conference standings, but are just four wins from the 20 mark.
3. Pat Kelsey (Winthrop)
Kelsey is in his fifth year as head coach at Winthrop. His Eagles are just a game back in the Big South standings and are within striking distance of their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010. Now sit back and imagine a Big Dance with Kelsey and Keon Johnson.
2. LaVall Jordan (Milwaukee)
Jordan is another first-year coach, but his track record is already impressive. He was regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the country when he was working with the Michigan Wolverines, helping them to five NCAA Tournament berths, including that championship game appearance in 2013.
And that brings us to our winner:
1. Matt Lottich (Valparaiso)
Lottich moved his way up from assistant to head coach this year and he’s been doing great things. The Crusaders currently sit at the top of the Horizon standings with an 11-2 league record (21-5 overall). They’re also currently pegged as a 13 seed in the bracket matrix, putting them in prime upset territory. Not bad for his first time.
Now, he gets the title of Sexiest Mid-Major Coach to go with it.
2016: Derek Kellogg
2015: Will Brown
2014: Tony Jasick