uspw_6863272

Appraising 2012-2013′s new head coaches

A lot of head coaches were in new places for a lot of reasons for the 2012-2013 season. In fact, 47 D-I teams were helmed by a new coach to start the season, and I thought a comprehensive check-in was due.

There's no hard-and-fast method for assessing the job that a new coach is doing. The challenges each face are just so very different. Some, like John Groce and Donnie Tyndall, are climbing the head coaching ranks, some, like Danny Manning, Jay Spoonhor and 29-year-old Bashir Mason, are getting their first go as a head coach, and still others, like Larry Brown, are just out of no where. Some, like Tommy Dempsey and Joseph Price, are trying to rebuild programs from the very bottom, while others, like Kevin Ollie and Jim Christian, are trying to maintain the momentum of those that they replaced. Some come in with no talent waiting, while others come in with a corpse of experienced leaders ready to hit the pine.

That said, I wanted to get a look at the range of progress that the 47 teams with new coaches are facing. A look at wins and losses alone, nor conference standing seemed suitable, so I turned to Ken Pomeroy's rankings. I collected the final rankings of those 47 teams that changed coaches this season and compared them to their current ranking today (Feb. 22, 2013). I found the difference between those rankings and ranked every team accordingly.

Based on that data alone, here are the five new head coaches that have the most improved teams season-to-season. The full dataset follows.

Jim Baron (Canisius) Baron, formerly the head coach at Rhode Island, has turned a former five-win team that was picked to finish ninth this season in the MAAC into the third-place team with junior guard Billy Baron (Jim's son) leading the charge. The Golden Griffs have already won more games this season (17) than they did in any of the previous 11. They've beaten Iona, Temple and St. Bonaventure along the way.

Mike Davis (Texas Southern) The Tigers lost 13 of their first 14 games, but have gone on to win 12 of their last 13 under Davis, who came to Texas Southern from UAB. He was hired on an interim basis, but I suspect he may be asked to return. Only a half game separates TSU and first-place Southern in the SWAC.

Dave Pilipovich (Air Force) Pilipovich actually picked up his current job title a little over a year ago, when Jeff Reynolds was let go after more than four seasons as head coach, but ended up losing a bunch of games to finish out their year. Now things are looking way up for the veteran assistant. The Falcons, which were picked to finish last in the ultra-tough MWC, already are one win away from matching their highest win total over the past six seasons and are ranked 80th on Pomeroy's list thanks to their top-25 offense. They are 6-6 in MWC and rank fifth.

Larry Eustachy (Colorado State) Speaking of the MWC, Eustachy, the former head coach at Southern Mississippi is just smashing expectations. The Rams are ranked in both the AP and the coaches poll for the first time since 1954. They're No. 15 on Pomeroy's charts and have already won 21 games after Tim Miles' former team setup Eustachy for success. CSU is one game behind New Mexico in the MWC rankings.

Jamion Christian (Mount St. Mary's) Christian is resurrecting a Mount St. Mary's team that he previously led on the court as a captain. The Knights won a combined 19 games over the past two seasons under Robert Burke, but currently stand at 13-13 having won six of their last seven un Christian, a former assistant under Shaka Smart at VCU. MSM was picked ninth in the NEC preseason poll but currently are sixth at 8-7.

Some other notes:

  • 21 of the 47 teams with new coaches have moved up in the Pomeroy rankings since last season ended, but on average these teams fell 3.4 spots.
  • Jim Christian has exactly maintained Ohio's No. 62 ranking, so there's that.
  • Rick Ray, Trent Johnson and Jim Ferry have the distinction of leading the programs that have taken the most dramatic tumbles in the rankings.
      Record Pomeroy Ranking
Rank Team Coach 2011-2012 2012-2013 2012 Final Current (2/22/2013) Change
1 Canisius Jim Baron 5-25 17-10 311 119 192
2 Texas Southern Mike Davis 15-18 13-14 287 160 127
3 Air Force Dave Pilipovich 13-16 15-10 195 80 115
4 Colorado State Larry Eustachy 20-12 21-5 96 15 81
5 Mount St. Mary's Jamion Christian 8-21 13-13 294 232 62
6 Brown Mike Martin 8-23 9-13 308 251 57
7 North Carolina A&T Cy Alexander 12-20 13-14 299 246 53
8 Northern Arizona Jack Murphy 5-24 10-16 341 299 42
9 Illinois John Groce 17-15 20-8 73 33 40
10 Southern Illinois Barry Hinson 8-23 11-16 230 192 38
11 Florida International Richard Pitino 8-21 15-12 231 195 36
12 Rhode Island Dan Hurley 7-24 8-17 202 169 33
13 SMU Larry Brown 13-19 13-13 198 174 24
14 Southern Mississippi Donnie Tyndall 25-9 21-6 75 54 21
15 Central Michigan Keno Davis 11-21 9-16 270 252 18
16 Illinois State Dan Muller 21-14 16-12 81 67 14
17 Nebraska Tim Miles 12-18 12-14 158 145 13
18 Eastern Illinois Jay Spoonhour 12-17 8-20 302 290 12
19 College of Charleston Doug Wojcik 19-12 20-8 161 151 10
20 Rider Kevin Baggett 13-19 15-13 199 189 10
21 UNC-Greensboro Wes Miller 13-19 8-18 269 264 5
22 Ohio Jim Christian 29-8 20-6 62 62 0
23 Binghamton Tommy Dempsey 2-29 3-23 343 345 -2
24 Grambling State Joseph Price 4-24 0-23 345 347 -2
25 Samford Bennie Seltzer 11-19 10-18 271 274 -3
26 Winthrop Pat Kelsey 12-20 11-15 256 262 -6
27 LSU Johnny Jones 18-15 15-9 97 105 -8
28 Connecticut Kevin Ollie 20-14 18-7 37 46 -9
47 Tennessee State Travis Williams 20-13 9-20 167 176 -9
29 Kansas State Bruce Weber 22-11 21-5 25 35 -10
30 Idaho State Bill Evans 9-21 5-20 304 321 -17
31 Western Kentucky Ray Harper 16-19 14-14 184 202 -18
32 St. Francis (Pa.) Rob Krimmel 6-23 4-22 307 327 -20
33 UAB Jerod Haase 15-16 12-14 133 167 -34
34 Morehead State Sean Woods 18-15 13-15 189 224 -35
35 South Carolina Frank Martin 10-21 13-13 155 198 -43
36 LIU-Brooklyn Jack Perri 25-9 15-12 163 209 -46
37 Miami (Ohio) John Cooper 9-21 8-16 196 249 -53
38 Southern Utah Nick Robinson 14-17 10-15 237 293 -56
39 Virginia Tech James Johnson 16-17 11-15 90 162 -72
40 Mississippi Valley State Chico Potts 21-13 4-21 257 338 -81
41 Wagner Bashir Mason 25-6 15-11 112 194 -82
42 North Texas Tony Benford 18-14 11-18 159 245 -86
43 Tulsa Danny Manning 17-14 14-12 92 184 -92
44 Duquesne Jim Ferry 16-15 8-18 128 230 -102
45 TCU Trent Johnson 18-15 10-16 156 283 -127
46 Mississippi State Rick Ray 21-12 7-18 89 237 -148
Averages         194.3 197.7 -3.4

 

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