23 in 23: The next wave of college coaches, part II
Who is the next wave of young coaches that will be the trending leading men in college hoops in the decades to come? We asked our staff to identify the next wave.
Kim English, George Mason - When you ask those inside the game who is on the come-up, English is a name that pops up more times than now. The 36-year-old second-year head coach at George Mason came on strong in the coaching ranks after his pro-playing career. Each stop on his career path has been two years and then a level up. As the head man, he’s getting his feet under him as the leader of a program. He’ll be a hot name for open jobs this decade. Believe that. - Justin Young
Bucky McMillan, Samford - Winning has a tendency to follow Bucky McMillan around — just ask all the coaches he went head-to-head with during his time at Mountain Brook High School, where he captured five state championships in 12 seasons. Fast-forward a few years now and McMillan has the Samford Bulldogs rolling as they sit atop the Southern Conference standings at 4-0. Critics argued that McMillan’s unique style of play — based on tons of subbing and constant pressing — wouldn’t translate to the college level. Those critics are quiet now, and it looks like his promising college coaching career is beginning to take off. McMillan has done a nice job of putting W’s in the win column and putting butts in the seats at Samford. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name pop-up for bigger jobs soon. - Garrett Tucker
Wes Miller, Cincinnati - After a decade at UNC-Greensboro and two NCAA tournament appearances in his final two seasons along with becoming the school’s all-time leader in wins, Miller left for Cincinnati where he is in his second season and has compiled a record of 29-21 overall and has the Bearcats in sixth place in the American Athletic Conference.
Many thought that Miller had a good shot at becoming UNC’s head coach after the abrupt retirement of Roy Williams. He interviewed for the head job and many analysts had him as their pick before UNC and faculty moved with Hubert Davis. I still think that Miller will be the coach at Carolina in the near future and like Davis, was a former player, something that UNC feels strongly about when making the choice for their head coach. With a few more solid seasons at Cincinnati, Miller will be in a prime position if things don’t work out with Davis. - Justin Byerly
Richard Pitino, New Mexico - It’s hard to believe that Richard Pitino is only 40-years-old. I feel like he’s been a head coach forever. At this point, it’s been 10 years. I know his time at Minnesota wasn’t a raging success, but that’s a hard job. Since 2005, the Golden Gophers have only made six NCAA Tournament appearances, and Pitino was responsible for two of them, including getting to the second round in one season and receiving a 5 seed in another—the best seed in that time frame. Now that he’s at New Mexico, he’s in a more advantageous situation, and he’s starting to get things rolling over in Albuquerque. That’s a program with plenty of history and great fan support. Pitino has a nice situation there, but if he continues at this level of success, I’d bet on him going back to a power conference sooner than later. - Josh Tec
Bob Richey, Furman - Richey is 120–51 (.702) at Furman and has logged four seasons with at least 22 wins at the Greenville school. A trip to the NCAA tournament has eluded him out of the one-bid Southern Conference. The 39-year-old head man is one of the smartest coaches in the game. An astute evaluator, Richey knows what works in his system and how to find underrecruited players and develop them into legitimate go-to players in college. Don’t be surprised if Richey is coaching at the high-major level sooner than later. - Justin Young
Josh Schertz, Indiana State - Schertz will love that we classify him as a young guy, but truth be told, the 46 year-old is a new guy for Division I basketball fans. During his thirteen years at the helm of Division II power Lincoln Memorial, Schertz won over 83 percent of his games. I don’t care what level of basketball we’re discussing, winning games 83 percent of the time is impressive. Now in his second year leading Indiana State, Schertz has the Sycamores off to the best start since the Larry Bird days. They’re 6-0 in the conference to go along with a 13-4 overall record, so I think it’s safe to say he’ll be around for a few years. - Garrett Tucker
Drew Valentine, Loyola-Chicago - I’m interested to see how Valentine’s career shakes out. At only 31-years-old, he guided the Ramblers back to the NCAA Tournament in his first season at the helm. While they’re struggling in year two, it’s only natural to assume that there will be some growing pains for a new head coach as young as Valentine is. Fully realizing that he’ll have ups and downs along the journey, I think that Valentine could be someone who continues to emerge as a name that can make a jump up to a bigger job at some point down the line. - Josh Tec