The start of the 2022-23 season is only a few months away and it should be great with a capital A.
The landscape of college basketball has changed dramatically. The future moves from Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC and USC and UCLA to the Big Ten have ruffled a few feathers. The transfer portal has made big news with more than 1,700 players switching teams, including several players of the year who switched schools.
With all the changes, some fans may have forgotten the movement in the coaching ranks. We said goodbye to two champions, some of the best roaming the sidelines in Coach K and Jay Wright. We also saw Bob McKillop retire after an illustrious 33 years with Davidson. His son, Matt, will take over the coaching reins.
In taking on interim coaches elevated to principal positions, more than 60 Division I schools made changes to head coaching in the 2022-23 campaign. That’s about one in six.
We can welcome a number of coaches on the sidelines again. Let’s start with former Arizona coach Sean Miller, who landed with Xavier where he previously coached from 2004-09. Miller won 30 games there in 2008.
His brother, Archie, signed a five-year contract with Rhode Island after a season hiatus following his discharge from Indiana. The younger Miller is comfortable in the A-10, as he previously coached at Dayton.
Thad Matta, who has won at least 20 games in 16 of his previous 17 seasons as head coach, has returned to his alma mater Butler, where he coached in 2000-01. Matta last coached in Ohio in 2017 and led the Buckeyes to the National Championship in 2007. He starts this season with 439 career wins and a 0.740 win rate.
Fran Dunphy is back on the sidelines taking over at his alma mater, La Salle. The former Penn and Temple leader was already a member of the Big 5 Hall of Fame and last coached with the Owls in 2019. He is approaching 600 wins in his career. Elsewhere in the Big 5, Kyle Neptune left Fordham after one season to take over for Hall of Famer Wright in Villanova.
As is often the case, a number of experienced coaches switched schools. Most notable is SEC turnover, with six coaches taking over as head coaches. Mike White left Florida for the Georgia job. Todd Golden went from San Francisco to the Gators. Matt McMahon left Murray State for LSU. Lamont Paris won 27 games at Chattanooga last season; now he is in South Carolina. Dennis Gates left Cleveland State for Missouri. Chris Jans went from the state of New Mexico to the state of Mississippi.
Veteran Frank Martin landed at UMass after leaving South Carolina. He spent 10 years with the Gamecocks and reached the Final Four in 2017.
Outside of SEC turnover, there were many other coaches who switched jobs. Shaheen Holloway left for his alma mater Seton Hall after a great NCAA tournament in St. Peter’s. The Pirates saw Kevin Willard move on to Maryland. Travis Steele, after being fired from Xavier, now heads the Miami (Ohio) program.
In addition to the Miller and Holloway brothers, it will be fun to see other memorable former college basketball players as head coaches. One of them, Jon Scheyer, will be under a microscope to replace Coach K at Duke. Another is that Kenny Payne is taking over a program in Louisville seeking recovery.
It will be great to keep an eye on these coaches during the 2022-23 campaign, and I can’t wait to get back on the sidelines calling out matches!
The 18th Annual Dick Vitale Gala, benefiting the V Foundation, will be held on May 5, 2023 at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida. For more information, visit dickvitaleonline.com.