The start of the 2022-23 season is only a few months away, and it should be awesome with a capital A.
The landscape of college basketball has changed dramatically. The future moves of Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC and USC and UCLA to the Big Ten have ruffled a few feathers. The transfer portal has made major news with over 1,700 players changing teams, including multiple conference player of the year choices who have switched schools.
With all of the changes, some fans may have forgotten the movement in the coaching ranks. We said goodbye to two champions, a pair of the best to roam the sideline in Coach K and Jay Wright. We also saw Bob McKillop retire after an illustrious 33 years at Davidson. His son, Matt, will take over the coaching reins.
When including interim coaches who were elevated to head jobs, over 60 Division I schools have made head coaching changes going into the 2022-23 campaign. That's roughly one-in-six.
We get to welcome back a number of coaches to the sidelines. Let's start with former Arizona coach Sean Miller, who landed at Xavier where he previously coached from 2004-09. Miller won 30 games there in 2008.
His brother, Archie, signed a five-year deal at Rhode Island after sitting out one season following his firing at 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 a head coach, is back at his alma mater Butler, where he coached in 2000-01. Matta last coached in 2017 at Ohio State, and led the Buckeyes to the national championship game in 2007. He enters this season with 439 career wins and a .740 win percentage.
Fran Dunphy is back on the collegiate sidelines, taking over at his alma mater, La Salle. Already a member of the Big 5 Hall of Fame, the former Penn and Temple leader last coached with the Owls in 2019. He's closing in on 600 career wins. Elsewhere in the Big 5, Kyle Neptune departed after one season at Fordham to take over for the Hall of Famer Wright at Villanova.
As is often the case, a number of veteran coaches switched schools. Most noteworthy is the 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 at South Carolina. Dennis Gates left Cleveland State for Missouri. Chris Jans went from New Mexico State to Mississippi State.
Veteran Frank Martin landed at UMass after departing South Carolina. He spent 10 years with the Gamecocks and reached the Final Four in 2017.
Outside of the SEC turnover, there were many other coaches who switched jobs. Shaheen Holloway, after a great NCAA tournament at St. Peter's, departed for his alma mater Seton Hall. The Pirates saw Kevin Willard move on to Maryland. Travis Steele, after being fired at Xavier, is now running the Miami (Ohio) program.
In addition to the Miller brothers and Holloway, it will be fun to watch other memorable former college basketball players take over as head coaches. One of those, Jon Scheyer, will be under a microscope replacing Coach K at Duke. Another, Kenny Payne takes over a Louisville program looking to bounce back.
It will be awesome to keep track of these coaches during the 2022-23 campaign, and I cannot wait to be back on the sidelines calling games!
The 18th annual Dick Vitale Gala, benefiting the V Foundation, will be held May 5, 2023, at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida. For more information visit dickvitaleonline.com.