In early February there was curiosity within college basketball over whether there'd be more than 30 jobs that could change, due in part to lingering financial concerns from the ongoing pandemic.
Instead, this year's coaching carousel has turned into one of the noisiest of the past decade.
Cincinnati fired John Brannen on Friday, a termination that was the worst kept secret in college basketball for weeks and something considered an inevitability in the week following the end of the season. Brannen lasted two seasons and was recently subject to an investigation into how he ran the program/treatment of his players. He also had nearly half the roster opt to transfer out this year.
Sources told CBS Sports that Brannen and Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham had not been on speaking terms for weeks. Brannen's ouster marks the 15th change in a Major Seven conference this season. Here's a quick seven-list set of possible candidates for the Cincinnati job ...
- Archie Miller, former Indiana coach: He just got paid $10 million to leave Indiana. But he was really good at Dayton. Can also afford to take the year off if he wants. Would be the biggest-name hire, I'd think, but there could be a job in a better spot that comes open in a year.
- Nick Van Exel, scout for Mavericks: One source lobbed this name to me a few days ago when we were discussing the inevitability of UC opening. The fan base would likely love it. He's an alumnus. If he wants it, well, there probably wouldn't be a hire that would create more immediate momentum.
- Darren Savino, UCLA assistant: Longtime Mick Cronin assistant who just helped bring UCLA to a dream Final Four run. Cincinnati was an NCAA Tournament regular when Cronin and Savino were there. He was passed over for the job two years ago. Had he not been, UC would not be in the spot it finds itself in now.
- Dennis Gates, Cleveland State coach: Gates' name was connected to Penn State, Minnesota and DePaul. All those jobs filled and Gates is still the head coach at Cleveland State. Hard to see how he's not in the mix here, though. A young coach destined for a bigger job eventually, maybe this will wind up being fate. Gates inherited a disaster at CSU two years ago and got the Vikings to the NCAAs this year. It would be negligence to not give him a long look.
- Scott Nagy, Wright State coach. Cincinnati could easily look in-state and see the coach at Wright State who's both as qualified and has more wins to his name than anyone else who should be considered for the job. The 54-year-old Nagy has a 519-289 record across his time at South Dakota State and Wright State. He's unassuming, but ideal. He also better get a call.
- Richie Riley, South Alabama coach: Riley is from the Cincinnati area and is 54-39 in his past three years running that program. Not a huge name, but someone who's a fixer. This situation is in need of fixing.
- Ritchie McKay, Liberty coach: McKay has received a bump in buzz in recent years because he's guided the Flames to three consecutive ASUN championships. He has a history in coaching at the power-conference level and might eventually get one more crack at a bigger gig.
Brannen's firing comes two days after another noisy exit. Arizona fired Sean Miller on Wednesday. Miller was sacked after 12 years -- yet three and a half years removed from the world-rocking event that led to his firing. The FBI's investigation into college basketball, announced in September of 2017, which looped in his program due to nefarious acts by former assistant Book Richardson, landed Miller in hot water.
Arizona stood behind Miller -- who was given one Level I coach-control charge in the NCAA's Notice of Allegations -- until it didn't. As Gary Parrish wrote this week, that was a weird way of conducting business.
Now that Arizona is open, its candidate list includes the likes of Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd, in addition to former players Damon Stoudamire, Miles Simon, Luke Walton and Mike Bibby. Interviews began Thursday and will continue Friday and Saturday. The anticipated timeline is that the new coach will be officially announced Monday.
If that happens, Monday will be one week from another top-10 job closing, as North Carolina filled hours before Monday's national championship game when Hubert Davis was promoted from within. The 50-year-old has been on staff since 2012, and is of course a Carolina alumnus. He's also the first Black head coach in North Carolina men's basketball history.
The other piece of news from earlier this week: Texas Tech stayed in-house to promote Mark Adams, who will replace Chris Beard. Adams is acknowledged as an elite defensive tactician. It will surely be interesting to see Texas vs. Texas Tech in the coming years. Adams has earned his shot; he was a major part of getting TTU to the national championship game in 2019.
Here are the 55 jobs that have changed to this point. Nearly 15 hirings are still yet to be made, and at least half of them should fill by Tuesday.
|Team||Former coach||New coach||What to know|
|Roy Williams||Hubert Davis||UNC kept it in the Carolina Family after Roy Williams' retirement by elevating long-time assistant Hubert Davis. Davis has been on the Tar Heels staff for nine seasons. He is the first Black men's basketball coach in UNC history.|
|Shaka Smart||Chris Beard||Texas nabbed its top target, which is a reflection on how coveted the UT job is. Beard went 112-55 at TTU and carries a 142-60 career record. It is anticipated that he will get Texas to the Final Four and turn that program into one that can win the Big 12 as often as any other. We shall see.|
|Archie Miller||Mike Woodson||Mike Woodson is leaving the NBA life after decades in the game to return home and coach the Hoosiers. Woodson agreed to a six-year contract, and in a particularly smart move, also will be linking up with former Ohio State coach Thad Matta. Matta will oversee operations for men's basketball in an advisory role.|
|Sean Miller||TBD||Miller's end came after the coach and the administration were at loggerheads for more than a month over contract details. This is a top-10 job in the sport when looming sanctions, and a potential postseason ban, don't hang over it. Even still, it's top-20 variety.|
|Steve Wojciechowski||Shaka Smart||Marquette moved quickly and quietly to lure Shaka Smart away from Texas, and in doing so, turned some heads. This was considered Porter Moser's job to turn down. Instead, a fresh start for Smart, a Wisconsin native, who goes back to basketball-first university in a basketball-first conference.|
|Larry Krystkowiak||Craig Smith||The Utes fired Krystkowiak after 10 seasons and two NCAA Tournament appearances. It doesn't help when BYU and Utah State are making NCAA Tournaments regularly, while the biggest university in the state with the proudest history is treading water around .500. And so with that, Smith scoots on down from Logan to coach in Salt Lake City. A solid hire for a historically proud program.|
|Lon Kruger||Porter Moser||Kruger's somewhat-sudden retirement, combined with Marquette choosing not to wait for Moser's tournament run to end, opened the door for the Sooners to swoop in, offer a six-year deal and lure him away from Loyola Chicago. The question is, can he be as successful in a power conference as he was in the Missouri Valley? Following Kruger is doable, but not simple.|
|Steve Prohm||TJ Otzelberger||ISU AD Jamie Pollard did not want to cut ties with Prohm, but a 2-22 season left him with no choice. Prohm was 97-95 in six seasons, with three NCAA appearances. Turns out Pollard had his guy waiting in the wings the whole time. Otzelberger had mediocre seasons at UNLV but he is capable of having success in territory he's quite familiar with.|
|Richard Pitino||Ben Johnson||Certainly a surprising hire. Minnesota closed the deal with Golden Gophers alumnus Ben Johnson, who formerly worked under Richard Pitino before more recently serving as an assistant for Travis Steele's Xavier staff.|
|John Brannen||TBD||Brannen's two-year run went poorly, to say the least. One transfer after another, and a rocky relationship with the AD that ended in tire fire-like fashion. If anything, the job could lose an appealing candidate or two because of the way this went down. |
|Chris Beard||Mark Adams||Adams, the top assistant on Beard's Red Raiders staff, has been with the program since Beard took over the gig in 2016. He was elevated to associate head coach prior to the 2019-20 season. A Texas Tech alumnus, Adams, who graduated from the school in 1979, is a long-time understudy of Beard.|
|Gregg Marshall||Isaac Brown||Marshall's resignation in November allowed Brown to step in on an interim basis. After putting the Shockers into the NCAA Tournament picture and guiding them to the top of the AAC standings by mid-February, the school announced a promotion for Brown to the full-time position on Feb. 26.|
|Jim Christian||Earl Grant||A surprise hire, as Grant comes from Charleston, where he went 127-89 in seven seasons, with one NCAA Tournament run. Christian was fired Feb. 15 after six and a half seasons. He went 78-132 and did not make an NCAA Tournament. Boston College has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2009.|
|Pat Chambers||Micah Shrewsberry||Purdue assistant Micah Shrewsberry has been tapped to take over in Happy Valley. Shrewsberry was considered an inevitable head-coaching hire in college basketball for a couple of years now, and he'll stay in the Big Ten, as the school is now the only one in that league employing Black coaches in men's basketball and football.|
|Dave Leitao||Tony Stubblefield||Congrats to Stubblefield, who was a pick out of left field for many. He's spent the past 28 years in coaching, with this his first opportunity to run a program. He comes via Oregon, where he spent the past 11 years as an assistant for Dana Altman. |
|TJ Otzelberger||Kevin Kruger||Lon Kruger coached in Las Vegas once upon a time. Now his son will get the chance, as the school decided to stay in-house and promote the 37-year-old to his first head-coaching gig. Kruger finished his college player career with UNLV in 2007.|
|Paul Weir||Richard Pitino||I'm not convinced the Pitino hire is going to work to maximum ends, but it will be interesting. He's adaptable, that's for sure, and that should suit him well. New Mexico has lofty expectations given its conference and location. The fan base holds its head coaches accountable on the level you'd find at a top-40 program.|
|Jeff Neubauer||Kyle Neptune||Neptune spent the past eight seasons serving under Jay Wright. This hire is a good one for the Bronx native, who can give Fordham its best chance at competing in the A-10 as any coach in the past 20 years. The job remains among the toughest in a multi-bid league. The school joined the Atlantic 10 in 1995; it's failed to make the NCAAs since. In fact, it's had just two seasons above. 500 in that span.|
|Dave Paulsen||Kim English||George Mason went young, hiring 32-year-old Tennessee assistant Kim English. The former second-round NBA pick starred at Missouri and also spent time on the bench at Tulsa and Colorado.|
|Craig Smith||Ryan Odom||Utah State tapped sitting head coach Ryan Odom -- of UMBC -- to fill its vacancy. Odom was 97-60 in five seasons with UMBC and most famously was the head coach of No. 16 seed UMBC when it knocked off No. 1 seed Virginia in 2018.|
|Porter Moser||Drew Valentine||Loyola elevated 29-year-old Drew Valentine -- who was on Porter Moser's staff the last four seasons -- to the head gig. Valentine played at Oakland where he later returned as an assistant. He also gathered experience at Michigan State under Tom Izzo. He's the youngest head coach in D-I basketball.|
|Earl Grant||Pat Kelsey||The top job in the Colonial is filled by Kelsey, who has a chance to get Charleston back into national relevance. The program has made the NCAAs once in 22 years.|
|Rob Murphy||TBD||Murphy will make his way to the G League, and a fairly attractive MAC job is now open. Eastern Michigan is the kind of gig that usually attracts high-major assistants who are overdue for their shot at running a program.|
|Greg Lansing||Josh Schertz||Indiana State has tapped into the Division II ranks for its next coach. Schertz spent 13 years and Lincoln Memorial and won nearly 85% of his games. He'll make for an interesting experiment in the Valley.|
|Jean Prioleau||Tim Miles||The toughest job in the Mountain West goes to a guy who was always going to get back in the game. Miles, last seen coaching Nebraska, could wind up being the perfect hire for a program that must limb out of the basement.|
|Rodney Terry||TBD||Terry left his post at UTEP after three seasons to become the top assistant -- making nearly a million dollars annually -- for Chris Beard at Texas.|
|Joe Mihalich||Speedy Claxton||Sadly, Mihalich stepped down after not coaching the 2020-21 season due to health reasons. Hofstra opted to hire a program legend in Claxton, 42, who spent the previous eight seasons as an assistant in Hempstead.|
|Pat Kelsey||Mark Prosser||Prosser got his first head job at Western Carolina three years ago. He went 37-53 and was handed the keys to Winthrop.|
|Byron Rimm II||TBD||Byron Rimm II has been the IUPUI interim for nearly two full seasons. Seems like a long shot he will stay on after taking over for Jason Gardner in the summer of 2019.|
|Terry Porter||Shantay Legans||After taking Eastern Washington to the NCAA Tournament, Legans has been quickly lured away and into the WCC at Portland. The question becomes: Will the lovable Groves brothers, who were fleeting NCAA tourney cult heroes, follow their coach to the Rose City?|
|Mark Montgomery||Rashon Burno||Arizona State assistant Rashon Burno is on his way to Northern Illinois. He's a savvy, high-energy hire. Burno replaces Mark Montgomery, who was 125-170 in nine and a half seasons. The school last made the NCAAs in 1996. |
|Shantay Legans||David Riley||Legans' link to the Portland job was something known for weeks. Eastern Washington was clearly prepared for it, and within days of Legans' move to Portland, it announced longtime assistant David Riley would take over. He gets a roster that just went to the NCAA Tournament, a perk few other coaches on this list get to inherit.|
|Chris Ogden||Greg Young||Ogden took a raise to join Beard's staff at Texas, which is also Ogden's alma mater. Nice work if you can get it. Young scoots one chair over, as he was associate head coach under Ogden.|
|Tony Jasick||Jordan Mincy||Jacksonville did not have to look that far for its next coach. The school tagged Florida assistant Jordan Mincy to take over after serving the past six seasons on Mike White's UF staff. |
|Danny Kaspar||Terrence Johnson||A few coaches lost their jobs in recent months due to scandal and subsequent investigations. Kaspar was accused on the record by some former Texas State players of using racially insensitive language. After an investigation that lasted more than three months, Kaspar and TSU split in September. Terrence Johnson stepped in and rightfully earned the full-time gig after guiding TSU to an 18-7 season.|
|Rodney Billups||Jeff Wulbrun||A Stanford assistant lands a job that is viewed as a potential Summit League power. Good area, solid facilities for that level. Just waiting to be untapped.|
|Jason Shay||Desmond Oliver||Oliver goes to East Tennessee State and becomes the school's third coach in as many seasons following the surprising resignation from Jason Shay, who lasted one season and went 13-12. It's been reported he resigned after backlash over his players kneeling during the national anthem.|
|Ryan Odom||TBD||UMBC is looking for a coach to replace Odom, who finally landed a new spot after being a buzzy candidate at other jobs the past two years.|
|Will Brown||Dwayne Killings||Brown lasted 20 seasons and made five NCAA Tournaments, but it was time for a change. Marquette assistant Dwayne Killings, who has been a rising star in the industry the past five years, has received rave reviews from peers as Albany's next coach.|
|David Patrick||TBD||When Eric Musselman called Patrick in the offseason and offered him the top assistant's gig at Arkansas -- not to mention a hefty raise -- Patrick left UC Riverside to return to the sidelines in the SEC. (He was previously at LSU.) In his stead, Mike Magpayo made UC Riverside respectable in the Big West. He's likely to get the full-time job, a source told CBS Sports.|
|Barret Peery||TBD||Peery is one of a few coaches who left their spot as a head man to join a bigger program as an assistant. In his case, he moves from Portland State to Texas Tech.|
|Jay Spoonhour||TBD||Spoonhour lasted nine seasons -- he was the longest-tenured coach in the Ohio Valley -- but the school is not renewing his contract. Eastern Illinois went 119-157 in his tenure and was 9-18 this season. |
|Mark Prosser||TBD||A low-major job in the SoCon has come open. Western Carolina hasn't had to make a coaching change in less than three years in more than three decades.|
|Anthony Stewart||Ryan Ridder||UT Martin brought in Ridder, who won 48 games in three seasons at Bethune-Cookman. The team did not play this past season due to COVID-19. Ridder replaces Stewart, who tragically died less than a week before the start of the season when he never woke up from a nap. Stewart led the UT Martin Skyhawks for four seasons.|
|Matt Figger||Nate James||The next Duke assistant to get his shot is Nate James, who will head to the OVC and coach Austin Peay. James, 43, was an assistant at Duke since 2009.|
|Lew Hill||Matt Figger||Terribly, two coaching vacancies existed due to coaches dying. Lew Hill died in his sleep the morning of Feb. 7, perishing just hours after he coached what he thought would be his last UTRGV game for an indefinite hiatus. Figger will be the next coach after going 76-51 in four seasons at Austin Peay.|
|Tic Price||Alvin Brooks||Houston's Final Four run propelled Alvin Brooks to make the leap from assistant under Kelvin Sampson back into the head-coaching ranks. Brooks' last job as a head coach was at Houston, of all places, in 1998.|
|Tommy Dempsey||Levell Sanders||Binghamton is one of the toughest jobs in the country, and Dempsey lasted nine seasons despite never finishing above .500. Sanders steps in on an interim basis for the 2021-22 season.|
|Donyell Marshall||TBD||Central Connecticut never found momentum under UConn legend Donyell Marshall, going 40-104 in five seasons. This is maybe the toughest job in the NEC.|
|Ryan Ridder||TBD||Bethune-Cookman opened when Ryan Ridder left to take the UT Martin job.|
|Heath Schroyer||John Aiken||Schroyer stepped down as McNeese State coach on March 11, but here's the twist: He's also the school's athletic director. His first decision as AD was to promote assistant John Aiken to head coach. An unusual gambit, the program continues without enduring a coaching search after a trying season.|
|George Ivory||TBD||Ivory was let go after back-to-back four-win seasons that tailed out a 13-year run with Arkansas Pine Bluff.|
|Murray Garvin||Tony Madlock||South Carolina State, out of the MEAC, opted not to renew Garvin's contract on March 15. Madlock, a Memphis assistant, will be tasked with turning around a 1-17 team.|
|Eric Skeeters||TBD||Skeeters was let go on April 1. A MEAC job, Delaware State is back on the hunt after three seasons with Skeeters at the helm.|