College basketball coaching changes tracker: Western Michigan hires from within, citing COVID-19 crisis
Get the latest updates on on this season's college basketball's coaching changes
Western Michigan athletic director Kathy Beauregard made it clear in the school's announcement of its new basketball coach on Saturday that the Broncos are promoting from within because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clayton Bates, a longtime WMU assistant, will replace his former boss Steve Hawkins.
"I decided to change leadership of our program days before the COVID-19 crisis emerged," Beauregard said. "A comprehensive national search in this time of anxiety, despite exceedingly strong national interest in the position, just didn't sit well with me."
Hawkins went 291-262 with a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in his 17-year run, and Bates was part of the program for most of that time. But the Broncos posted sub .500 records the past two seasons, and Beauregard announced on March 11 that Hawkins would not return for the 2020-21 season.
The COVID-19 crisis has intensified in the time since that announcement, and as schools from major conferences shy away from making coaching changes amid financial concerns, Western Michigan touted the cost savings of promoting Bates in its announcement of his promotion over the weekend.
"Bronco athletics will spend approximately $165,000 less on the head coach position in the coming season," the university announcement said.
|Team||Out||In||What to know|
|Dave Pilipovich||Air Force was polite in its announcement that Dave Pillipovich won't be returning. Athletic Director Nathan Pine referred to Pillipovich as "a gentlemen and a professional" in a statement. But after seven straight losing seasons, the Falcons are making a change. "The bottom line is we have to be more competitive on the court," Pine said. "We entered this season with a senior-laden and talented team with high expectations, unfortunately we did not meet our goals as a program this year."|
|Lewis Jackson||Lewis Jackson, a former Alabama State star player and assistant coach, is resigning after 15 years as the program's head coach. Expect to see him around, though, as his wife is the women's coach. Lewis led the Hornets to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2009 and 2011 but ASU did not finish above .500 in the SWAC the past five seasons. The program is historically an upper-tier SWAC team.|
|Montez Robinson||Montez Robinson put together the best run of any Alcorn State coach since the revered Davey Whitney led the Braves to their two most recent NCAA Tournament appearances in a four-year span from 1999 to 2002. But athletic director Derek Horne announced March 23 that Robinson's contract will not be renewed for a sixth year after the Braves finished the season 15-15 (11-7 SWAC). His tenure concludes with a 69-86 (50-40 SWAC) record.|
|Russ Pennell||Anthony Boone||Anthony Boone coached the Bears to a 9-13 record over their final 22 games after Russ Pennell resigned following a 1-9 start. The effort earned Boone the full-time job and the opportunity to try and get the UCA program on winning footing for the first time since it joined Division 1 for the 2006-07 season. UCA's only winning season so far came when it went 18-17 in 2017-18 under Pennell. Boone, an Arkansas native and former Ole Miss player, was the associate head at UCA for five seasons before he got the interim job.|
|Walter McCarty||Todd Lickliter||The Purple Aces notched the upset of the season by winning at Kentucky on their way to a 9-4 start. But it all fell apart when coach Walter McCarty was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 26 and subsequently fired over allegations of sexual misconduct. Under interim coach coach Bennie Seltzer and new coach Todd Lickliter, Evansville lost its last 19 games to finish 9-23 -- its lowest win total in a decade. But Lickliter is a former Butler and Iowa head coach who spent 2018-19 as an assistant at Evansville. His experience should help steady the Purple Aces and make them competitive in the Missouri Valley Conference again.|
|Dan Majerle||Bryce Drew||Grand Canyon is turning to Bryce Drew as the Antelopes try and make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since becoming eligible in 2018 following the transition from Division I to Division II. Expectations are high at the Phoenix, Arizona university. Dan Majerle won 20-plus games four seasons in a row before he was dismissed following a 13-17 campaign.|
|Mark Byington||Brian Burg||After three straight 20-win seasons, Mark Byington left for James Madison. That leaves the Eagles in search of a new coach. They have reportedly settled on Texas Tech assistant Brian Burg, who followed Red Raiders coach Chris Beard from Little Rock and helped Texas Tech make the 2019 national championship game.|
|Steve McClain||Luke Yaklich||Considering where things were at Illinois-Chicago when he started, Steve McClain did a nice job in his five years as he led the program to three consecutive winning seasons in Horizon League play for the first time since the school joined the league for the 2001-02 season. But the program has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2004, and athletic director Michael Lipitz made it clear in the announcement of McClain's departure that he expects the next coach to lead the Flames to the Big Dance. That next man, according to Jeff Goodman, is expected to be former Michigan and Texas assistant Luke Yaklich, an Illinois native with a high school coaching background in the Chicago area.|
|Tim Cluess||Rick Pitino||The Gaels made a splash by hiring 67-year-old Rick Pitino three years after his run at Louisville ended in a heap of controversy. Pitino comes to Iona from Panathinaikos B.C. in Greece. He's entering a good situation, too. Former coach Tim Cluess led Iona to six NCAA Tournament appearances in nine years before spending last season away from the team for health reasons.|
|Don Verlin||Zac Claus||Zac Claus spent four seasons as an assistant under Don Verlin before Verlin was fired with cause in June 2019 after a probe revealed possible NCAA violations. Claus took over as interim coach before the season and earned the full-time job in February even as the Vandals struggled through an 8-24 campaign.|
|Louis Rowe||Mark Byington||Mark Byington will be the coach christening the Dukes' new 8,500-seat Atlantic Union Bank Center in the upcoming season. After seven years as coach at Georgia Southern, he replaces Louis Rowe, a former JMU player and assistant who struggled to a 43-85 record over four seasons with his alma mater.|
|Mike Dunlap||Stan Johnson||Stan Johnson is stepping in from his role as Marquette's associate head coach after LMU and Mike Dunlap "agreed to part ways" when Dunlap's sixth season came to an end with an 11-21 record. Johnson's resume also includes stops at Arizona State and Utah, among others.|
|Jeff Linder||Steve Smiley||Three of the Bears' top four scorers this season were seniors, which means there was going to be some rebuilding at Northern Colorado even if Jeff Linder hadn't taken the Wyoming job. But by promoting Steve Smiley from associate head coach, Northern Colorado is ensuring there will be some continuity from Linder's solid four-year run. Smiley is a Colorado native and successful former junior college head coach.|
|Scott Padgett||The Bulldogs joined the Southern Conference for the 2008-09 season and have yet to finish a season with a winning record in the league. But the history is not all doom and gloom for Samford. The program made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 1999 and 2000 under Jimmy Tillette. Before Tillette's brief run of success, John Brady parlayed a few good years at Samford in the 1990s into landing the LSU job. Mountain Brook High School coach Bucky McMillan is a candidate for the job, according to Jon Rothstein.|
|Rick Ray||Brad Korn||Former Mississippi State coach Rick Ray is out after posting a 51-104 record in five seasons and qualifying for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament only once. Kansas State assistant Brad Korn will get the next crack at taking the Redhawks back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000.|
|Rob Ehsan||Andy Kennedy||Rob Ehsan is out after four years, done in by a failure to make the NCAA Tournament and mediocre results in a conference the Blazers have historically fared well in. But the Blazers are scoring a former power coach and famed alum in his replacement. Andy Kennedy is leaving the broadcast table to take over his alma mater two years after he resigned following a 12-year stint at Ole Miss.|
|C.B. McGrath||Takayo Siddle||Takayo Siddle comes to UNCW from Kevin Keatts' staff at NC State to try and continue what Keatts started in his three seasons coaching the Seahawks from 2014 to 2017. UNCW made two straight NCAA Tournament appearances under Keatts with Siddle on the bench as an assistant. After Keatts left for NC State, the Seahawks turned to longtime North Carolina C.B. McGrath, who went 26-58 in two and a half seasons. It didn't work out for McGrath. But as Keatts and Brad Brownell (now at Clemson) have shown, the UNCW job can be a springboard to bigger things for those who have success.|
|Billy Wright||Rob Jeter||The Billy Wright era at Western Illinois had its moments, such as when the Leathernecks upset a ranked Wisconsin team in 2015. But success never came in the Summit League under Wright, and now former Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter gets another chance to lead a program. Jeter spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Minnesota.|
|Steve Hawkins||Clayton Bates||Western Michigan athletic director Kathy Beauregard cut straight to the point in the university's announcement that associate head coach Clayton Bates will be promoted to head coach by saying that a national search "just didn't sit well" with her because of the COVID-19 crisis. Bates is a long-time WMU assistant, and the university announcement explicitly explained how the athletic department "will spend approximately $165,000 less on the head coach position in the coming season" by promoting Bates.|
|Allen Edwards||Jeff Linder||Jeff Linder parlayed a strong four-year run at Northern Colorado into landing his first head coaching job. The Bears were in the midst of a third straight 20-win season when the Big Sky Conference Tournament was called off. Linder replaces Allen Edwards, a former Kentucky player and Wyoming assistant who started his four-year tenure with a pair of 20-win seasons before combining to go 17-48 the last two years.|
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