The college basketball offseason is officially underway and with it comes inevitable change. Seniors graduate. Star underclassmen go pro or transfer. Freshmen prepare to step into the limelight. And the couching carousel completes yet another spin.
In December, we told you about “the eternal sense of optimism that comes whenever a football program starts a new chapter of its existence” when it came to college football coach hires. The same rules apply for college basketball, where every new coach is a program-builder or local-god-in-training. Sometimes it’s the grizzled vet looking to bring back the glory days, either his or the program’s. Other times it’s the fresh prince, ready to make their mark and remake the program in their image. Either way, the prevailing opinion of many is that each and every new hire is a “home run hire.”
We know that not every new coach isn’t going to work out. Hell, we know from history that most new coaches aren’t going to work out. The average length of a coaching tenure in college basketball falls somewhere in the 3-4 year range, which presumes there were some pretty good reasons they didn’t want you around any longer. But of course, that’s not going to stop fans of their program from thinking their guy is The Guy who will make it happen.
While we’re all about freezing cold takes over here, you can consider this recent crop of new hire “home runs” to be freezing cold takes in the making.
Duquesne: Keith Dambrot
Wow! As a kid from Akron, I've known about and watched Dambrot for a long time. I can tell you that is a home run hire for Duquesne! https://t.co/hn3yALvyvx
— John Bedell (@JBedellWHIO) March 28, 2017
— Larry Snyder (@Larry_N_Snyder) March 28, 2017
VCU: Mike Rhoades
Home run hire by VCU. Good lord, what a day for the A10 in the coaching carousel https://t.co/YPTmGh8zDm
— Terrence Payne (@terrence_payne) March 21, 2017
Mike Rhoades to VCU. Another home run hire for a school that can't seen to go wrong with coaches.
— Andrew Feather (@AFeatherMVP) March 21, 2017
Dayton: Anthony Grant
I am not hating this move. Home run hire by Dayton. https://t.co/Ka1C1xQmAx
— Andrew Hammond (@ahammsportsgeek) March 30, 2017
CBS analyst Clark Kellogg: Anthony Grant hiring a ‘home run’ https://t.co/tcwzmDh7CO
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) March 31, 2017
Akron: John Groce
Home run hire by Akron hoops. They're still gonna struggle next season but this is a great long term hire
— Pat in Shaker (@PatNShaker) April 4, 2017
Lest you think Home Run Hires are limited to the mid majors, fear not. There are home runs being hit by athletic departments in all the major conference as well. And as you’ll see, sometimes the big boys don’t just hit home runs, they hit grand slams!
LSU: Will Wade
You could knock me over with a feather. LSU hit a home run with its basketball hire. https://t.co/q7ibytwKbD
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_SEC) March 21, 2017
#LSU landing Will Wade is absolutely a homerun hire.
— Coaching Carousel (@CoachesDatabase) March 21, 2017
Illinois: Brad Underwood
I think Illinois made a home run hire in Brad Underwood for Hoops.
— Brad Carson (@BradCarson) March 20, 2017
— Joshua Parrott (@JoshuaParrott) March 18, 2017
Illinois hit a grand slam getting Brad Underwood. Excellent hire. #Illini
— Tony Patelis (@CollegeHoopNews) March 18, 2017
Indiana: Archie Miller
— IndyStar Sports (@IndyStarSports) March 27, 2017
— Matt Glenesk (@MattGlenesk) March 25, 2017
Archie Miller to Indiana. Home run hire for the Hoosiers. Will be strange seeing different guy leading Dayton sideline.
— Marc Davis (@marcdavissports) March 25, 2017
Grand slam hire by @IndianaMBB. Archie Miller will be a Hall of Famer some day, mark my word. (And so will his brother.)
— Reid Forgrave (@ReidForgrave) March 25, 2017
Washington: Mike Hopkins
— Chris Fetters (@Chris_Fetters) March 22, 2017
Here’s former Syracuse AD Daryl Gross tossing the ol’ grand slam into the mix for Hopkins. He also says UW won the lottery, though not in the way that’s usually thought of in the world sports.
“I think the University of Washington just hit a grand slam home run.”
“The first thing that comes to mind is the University of Washington just won the lottery. This guy is one of the rare, special coaches that you’re ever going to come across. They’re going to fall in love with Mike Hopkins. And he will win there.”
NC State: Kevin Keatts
Kevin Keatts is home run hire for NC State. Wins everywhere he goes, he's young, turned UNCW around will do same at NCST, big time recruiter
— jordan cornette (@jordancornette) March 17, 2017
NC State hit a home run with Keatts. And if UNCW decides to stay in house, I hope @CoachCaseyUNCW is considered for a step up. #CAAHoops
— A Daly Dose Of Hoops (@DalyDoseOfHoops) March 17, 2017
Missouri: Cuonzo Martin
— KTRS Sports (@BigSportsShow) March 16, 2017
Cuonzo Martin Is A Home Run Hire For Missouri https://t.co/hY2HAPjvCL
— The Big Lead (@thebiglead) March 15, 2017
Home run hire for Mizzou. Cuonzo Martin revered in hometown of E. St. Louis, Ill. Will get St. Louis kids to stay home.
— Kevin Brockway (@gatorhoops) March 15, 2017
Georgetown: Patrick Ewing
Jim Boeheim calls Patrick Ewing hire at Georgetown a 'home run' and reveals what he texted Gonzaga's Mark Few https://t.co/dwTk2XkVEl
— Brent Axe (@BrentAxeMedia) April 4, 2017
Hiring Patrick Ewing is a HOME RUN for G-town!!! We are about to do somethings special!!
— Michael Graham (@grahamshow50) April 5, 2017
Congrats to everyone on your Home Run Hires. We’re sure it’s going to work out for all of you…