“College Coaches On The Rise” DECEMBER 31, 2015

“COLLEGE COACHES ON THE RISE”

This article will have a detailed synopsis of what www.inthegymrange.com considers the best “College Coaches On The Rise” for the 2015-2016 college basketball season. These 5 coaches on the list are considered to be some of the youngest, brightest minds in college basketball and will be highly sought after by major programs in the near future.         

The coaches will be listed in order as to who will be coveted by major college programs (Power 5 Conferences) the most, with the number one coach being the top coach as of right now who will have a chance to move onto a more prestigious program. All of these college coaches on the rise are currently at a non-power 5 conference. While not all of these coaches will eventually get a job at a Power 5 Conference school, they will be in consideration for numerous other quality jobs. Although they might not be household names across the country, it will only be a matter of time before that changes.

WHERE ARE THEY HIRING?


#5: MIKE BRENNAN

HEAD COACH: AMERICAN UNIVERSITY (EAGLES)

AGE: 41

COACHING RECORD: 38-24 (.538 WINNING PERCENTAGE) ALL AT AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • VOLUNTEER ASST. COACH AT COLUMBIA- (1995-96)
  • ASST. AT PRINCETON- (2000- 2007)
  • ASST. AT AMERICAN- (2007-2009)
  • ASST. AT GEORGETOWN- (2009-2012)
  • HEAD COACH AT AMERICAN UNIVERSITY- (2013-PRESENT)

HONORS:

1. PATRIOT LEAGUE COACH OF THE YEAR (2014)

 

SYNOPSIS:  A former star player at 1990’s powerhouse Elizabeth High School (NJ), the New Jersey bred Brennan stayed in state and attended prestigious Princeton University. A 4-year starter under legendary coach Pete Carril, Brennan helped lead the Tigers to 2 IVY League Championships as well as 2 NCAA Tournament appearances. The 41-year old briefly played overseas in Belgium and Portugal before starting his coaching career.

In 2000 he headed back to his Alma-mater Princeton and stayed for 7 years. After the stay at Princeton he left for a 2-year stint at his current school, American University. A coaching job with former Princeton Tiger John Thompson III opened up at Georgetown University and is where he began to gain notoriety. It was a great fit from the start. Thompson III runs the (Princeton Offense), which is the same offense Brennan has known since he began college as a baby-faced teenager.

The Princeton Offense emphasizes constant motion, passing, back-door cuts, picks on and off the ball, and disciplined teamwork. It has become so popular that versions of the offense have been run by the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Hornets, New Jersey Nets, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards, and Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA.

After a successful 4-year stay at Georgetown, the big break in which every coach who dreams of being in charge of there own program came to fruition. In April of 2013 Mike Brennan became the 17th Head Coach of the American University basketball program. His first year (2013-14) ended with a Patriot League Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. While losing 75-35 to Wisconsin, a new name on the coaching circuit was born. Despite going 17-16 last season and starting off with a 2-7 record (tough non-conference schedule) in 2015-16 Mike Brennan is a name that will surface when bigger college jobs eventually open up. Being taught by successful coaches in Pete Carril and John Thompson III can only help. Wherever and whenever he leaves for a bigger name job one thing is certain. He will be taking the Princeton Offense with him.

 

PREDICTION FOR NEXT COLLEGE JOB:

  GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

 

#4: RUSSELL TURNER

HEAD COACH: UC IRVINE (ANTEATERS)

AGE: 45

COACHING RECORD: 90-80 (.529 WINNING PERCENTAGE) ALL AT UC IRVINE

PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • 1993-1994: HAMPDEN-SYDNEY (ASST.)
  • 1994-2000: WAKE FOREST: (ASST.)
  • 2000: SAN FRANCISCO (WOMEN’S ASST.)
  • 2000-2004: STANFORD (ASST.)
  • 2004-2010: NBA GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (ASST.)
  • 2010: PRESENT: UC IRVINE (HEAD COACH)

HONORS:

1.  BIG WEST REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP (2014)

2. BIG WEST TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP (2015)

SYNOPSIS: Playing physical man-to-man defense is what Russell Turner prides his coaching philosophy on. Since becoming the Anteaters head coach, the 45-year old has taken a once downtrodden program and has risen it up to become one of the BIG WEST

Conferences elite as the Anteaters are currently 10-4 on the young season.

In 2014-15, his team set a new school record for lowest defensive average, limiting opposing teams to an outstanding 62.1 points per game and were 15-1 when limiting the opposition to under 40-percent shooting from the field. UC Irvine have won 48 of their last 50 games when holding opponents to 60 or fewer points.

Turner is a well-traveled basketball coach. The first big name player the Roanoke, Virginia born native coached was Tim Duncan, while he was an assistant at Wake Forest during the mid 1990’s. Former Stanford and ex-NBA coach Mike Montgomery is one of Turner’s mentors. Being an assistant under Montgomery from 2000-2014, Turner coached current NBA players, twins Robin and Brook Lopez while at Stanford. Montgomery’s teams were dependent on physical man-to-man defense, which he has taken to UC Irvine. A call from the NBA Golden State Warriors and

there new coach, his mentor Nike Montgomery changed his career in a big way. Spending 6 years as an assistant can help a coach in a variety of ways. Having the chance to coach at the highest level is an opportunity only a select few get to accomplish. However, the temptation to return to college basketball was to strong to resist as Turner was named the 7th head coach in UC Irvine program’s history in 2010.

Having success and rebuilding a program that was destitute before Turner took over has its benefits. The main benefit would be getting on the radar of athletic director’s from the Power 5 Conferences throughout the country.. Having already turned down George Mason University to become its next head coach, Turner re-upped his contract that will keep him at UC Irvine until the 2019-2020 season.

However, as fans of all sports know some contracts are signed just for the financial security if a job opening in a better conference doesn’t transpire. Having been linked previously to openings at Arizona State (New Coach: Bobby Hurley Jr., and Wake Forest (New Coach: Danny Manning) shows how highly regarded he is in the coaching circle. It is only of matter of when and not if that you will hear some big-name school announcing Russell Turner as its new Men’s Basketball Head Coach.

PREDICTION FOR NEXT COLLEGE JOB:

PAC 12 CONFERENCE SCHOOL/UNLV

 

#3: ANDY TOOLE

HEAD COACH: ROBERT MORRIS (COLONIALS)

AGE: 35

COACHING RECORD: 109-66 (.623 WINNING PERCENTAGE) ALL AT ROBERT MORRIS

PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • 2006-2007: LAFAYETTE (ASST.)
  • 2007-2010: ROBERT MORRIS (ASST.)
  • 2010-PRESENT: ROBERT MORRIS (HEAD COACH)

HONORS:

1. NEC REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP (2013-2014)

2.NEC TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP (2014)

3.NEC COACH OF THE YEAR (2014)

 

SYNOPSIS: Since taking over for former Robert Morris and ex-Rutgers head coach Mike Rice in May of 2010 the 35-year old Toole has done nothing but win. Currently the 6 youngest head coach in the country, Toole attended college at the University of Pennsylvania where he was named a co-captain at the prestigious Ivy League institution. While at Penn, Toole helped guide the Quakers to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

Toole has some similarities of Mike Rice, the former embattled coach who gave Toole the opportunity to be one of his assistants at Robert Morris in 2007. Fiery, hard-nosed and getting his team to play aggressive man-to-man defense are 3 of those similarities. The former Red Bank, New Jersey native splashed onto the college basketball radar in 2013 when his Robert Morris team shocked Kentucky 59-57 in the NIT. Kentucky was coming off an NCAA Championship the year before and the game happened to be broadcasted on ESPN. Moments like that game can instantly propel a team and coach into the minds of college basketball enthusiasts.

Primarily employing the motion offense (motion offenses use player movement, often as a strategy to exploit quickness of the offensive team or to neutralize a size advantage of the defense) has been extremely beneficial to the teams’ success. Smaller mid-major programs such as Robert Morris use the motion offense because it is tough recruiting a skilled player with size. Skilled big-men are usually highly coveted prospects who end up signing with nationally known programs.

After leading the Colonials to the NIT in 2013 and 2014, the self-proclaimed “huge Bruce Springsteen fan” led the Moon Township, PA school to its 8th ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Ending the season with a 20-15 record, the Colonials went onto win the NEC postseason tournament championship, which leads to an automatic NCAA tournament berth. Appearing as the #16 seed they faced #1 seed Duke Blue Devils and eventual NCAA champion. While eventually losing 85-56, for small Division 1 schools such as Robert Morris, making the “Big Dance” is a victory in itself. The exposure a program gets shows potential recruits is immeasurable.

While currently struggling with a 2-10 record in the early going of the 2015-16 season might be a cause for concern, a tough non-conference schedule has played a part in the loss department. Playing big time schools will only help Robert Morris for when conference play begins. It will also show what a good coach Andy Toole is as he will have his squad prepared for the rigors of the ever-improving NEC conference play. The main question that will need to be answered during and after the season won’t be what the Robert Morris Colonials accomplish. More importantly for the stability of the program, the question will be “Does Andy Toole sign a new long-term deal with Robert Morris or does he get persuaded into taking on a bigger challenge and become the new head coach at a more prestigious basketball school?

PREDICTION FOR NEXT COLLEGE JOB:

ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE SCHOOL

 

 

#2 JEROD HAASE

UPDATED: HAASE IS THE NEW STANFORD HEAD COACH

HEAD COACH: UAB (BLAZERS)

AGE: 41

COACHING RECORD: 61-49 (.555 WINNING PERCENTAGE)) ALL AT UAB

PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • 1999-2003: KANSAS (ASST.)
  • 2003-2012: NORTH CAROLINA (ASST.)
  • 2012-PRESENT: UAB (HEAD COACH)

HONORS:

1.CONFERENCE USA TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP (2015)

 

SYNOPSIS: A former star player at both Cal and Kansas,the former shooting guard was part of a star-studded 1996-97 Kansas team that went 34-2. In the starting lineup beside Haase were all future NBA players. Jacque Vaughn, Scot Pollard, Raef LaFrentz and future NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce made up the starting lineup. Unfortunately, Arizona upset Kansas in the 1997 NCAA Tournament and he never accomplished his goal of winning a championship as a player.

Haase transitioned into coaching in 1999 when Roy Williams offered him an assistant coaching job at Kansas. Haase was loyal to Roy Williams and followed him to the University of North Carolina in 2003 when Williams became the Tarheels new head coach. Haase had many responsibilities in Chapel Hill including coaching the North Carolina Tar Heels junior varsity basketball team. This experience was beneficial as it gave the South Lake Tahoe, CA native the opportunity to be a head coach and run his own team.

Being an assistant coach under one of the all-time win leaders in Roy Williams certainly has its benefits. You get to learn how to run practices, how to recruit, and how to manage young men. It also gives you notoriety and eventually the opportunity to have college programs come recruit you to become its next basketball coach.

On March 26, 2012, that dream came true for Jerod Haase. He was named the head coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB). Years of hard-work as an assistant led to this opportunity. In 2015, the “Blazers” had arguably the biggest win in its men’s basketball program history. As the #14 seed in the NCAA tournament UAB shocked #3 seed Iowa State 60-59. Iowa State’s team was coached by current Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, as the win put UAB and Jerod Haase on the college basketball map.

Currently 8-3 on the young 2015-16, UAB looks to be among the favorites in CONFERENCE-USA. It will be hard keeping a rising, young head coach at a school like UAB. Other big time colleges will be sure to contact the university asking to speak to Jerod Haase. He is known to be a loyal coach as he followed Roy Willams around for over a decade. However, when you have success it becomes only a matter of time before you feel the temptation to take on a bigger challenge. When will Jerod Haase feel that temptation?

PREDICTION FOR NEXT COLLEGE JOB:

SEC CONFERENCE SCHOOL

 

#1: KING RICE

HEAD COACH: MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY (HAWKS)

AGE: 47

COACHING RECORD: 51-77 (.340 WINNING PERCENTAGE) ALL AT MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY

PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE:

  • 1992-93: OREGON (ASST.)
  • 1993-98: ILLINOIS STATE (ASST.)
  • 1998-2000: PROVIDENCE (ASST.)
  • 2001-2004: BAHAMAS NATIONAL BASKETBALL TEAM (HEAD COACH)
  • 2006-11: VANDERBILT (ASST.)
  • 2011-PRESENT: MONMOUTH (HEAD COACH)

HONORS:

1.BAHAMAS NATIONAL BASKETBALL TEAM HEAD COACH (2001-2004)

 

SYNOPSIS: When taking a glance at King Rice’s overall record at Monmouth you might be wondering why he is number 1 on this list or even on this list at all. What this author took into account when comprising the list are a couple of key variables.

  1. What was the program like when the new head coach took over?
  2. What experience did the new head coach have at coaching before taking over?
  3. Does he command respect from the players?
  4. Can he recruit?
  5. Is he young enough that athleic director’s from around the country see tis coach as someone who can rebuild their own basketball program and stay for a long time?

There are more variables but these are 4 key ones. Rice walked into a downtrodden program that needed a fresh, new start. He provided that. He has coached at a high level for almost 20 years so he was ready to become the face of the basketball program. He certainly has the respect of his players and he grew up in New York, which helps in recruiting. After understandably struggling in his first 3 years, 2014-15 signaled a dramatic change for the Ocean County, NJ school. Going 18-15 was only a symbol of things to come.

One of the feel good stories of the 2015-16, the Monmouth Hawks have proven they can play with some of the elite programs in the country. So far this this year they have beaten 5 teams from the Power-5 Conferences.

  1. AT UCLA: 84-81 (OT)
  2. #17-NOTRE DAME: 70-68
  3. USC-83-73:  AVENGING AN 11 POINT LOSS 13 DAYS EARLIER
  4. AT GEORGETOWN: 83-68
  5. AT RUTGERS: 73-67

These are pretty impressive wins for a team 3 years ago that was among the worst in the MAAC Conference. Rice was a star point guard at North Carolina and played under legendary coach Dean Smith. He led the Tar Heels to a 29-6 overall mark and appearance at the NCAA Final Four in 1991. He finished his career ranked third on the Tar Heels all-time assist list with 629. Rice has been a winner in college and has been coached by and with excellent teachers of the game. He came to Monmouth very well prepared to lead a program.

With the early season success the Monmouth basketball program has had, rumors will start to swirl surrounding the next move of the head coach. Playing for a legendary program in North Carolina, as well as being an assistant under very good coaches will set Rice up nicely in the near future. There is a rebuilding program roughly 45 minutes away from Monmouth who just entered the BIG 10 Conference in Piscataway, NJ. The way Rutgers University has looked this year they might be in the market for an up and coming coach, somebody just like King Rice.

PREDICTION FOR NEXT COLLEGE JOB:

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY