Rant Sports NCAAB Season Preview: Top 10 On-The-Rise Coaches

By rodneyknuppel

Each year we hear about coaches who are on “the hot seat,” but many seem to forget about those individuals who are continuing to do great things for their program. We have compiled a list of a few coaches who are rising in the business.

Here is the Rant Sports NCAAB Season Preview:  Top 10 On-The-Rise Coaches for 2012-13.


1. Gregg Marshall, Wichita State Shockers – The hottest name in the business has to be Marshall. The Shockers are the defending Missouri Valley Champions and are also coming off 27 wins. Wichita State has enjoyed 54 wins in 72 games with Marshall as the head man. Before that, Marshall spent several seasons at Winthrop, where he turned the Eagles’ program into a Big South contender. Marshall spent 13 seasons as an assistant coach and his teams each had great records. There is no doubt that Marshall can win games as a head coach in college basketball.


2. Tim Cluess, Iona Gaels – The Gaels are the defending champions out of the MAAC. Iona won 25 of 33 games a season ago. Cluess is a Hofstra graduate and has been at Iona since the start of the 2010 season. In those two seasons, the Gaels have improved dramatically. Before taking over the reins at Iona, Cluess was an extremely successful coach at the high school level and then at the Division II level. Look for Cluess to get some big looks, especially from out east if Iona continues to run the MAAC in 2012-13.


3. Steve Prohm, Murray State Racers – Murray State is coming off a season in which they lost just two games all season long. Prohm’s teams then stuck with Marquette, but were bounced in the Round of 32. For a team out of the Ohio Valley Conference, the Racers had every right to be elated over their success. Prohm is beginning his second season as the head man in Murray, Ky. The Racers have some question marks regarding their 2012-13 team, but look for Prohm to secure those early and for Murray State to be solid once again.


4. Bruiser Flint, Drexel Dragons – Flint has emerged as a hot name in the coaching circle. The Dragons are entering his 12th season as the head coach, and he has 285 wins during that time. Flint is just 47 years old, so he’s still relatively young in terms of a head coaches. Look for Drexel to continue winning games, Flint to pick up his 300th career win and schools to come calling for his services following the season. The Dragons can be an NCAA Tournament team in 2012-13.


5. Scott Sutton, Oral Roberts Golden Eagles – The Golden Eagles won the Summit Conference and 27 games a season ago. There is no doubt that the Sutton name can win. Sutton will begin his 12th season as the head coach at Oral Roberts, which is the longest tenure of any head coach there. Many believe Sutton’s time is limited if they can continue their success. Sutton has won at nearly 63 percent ratio over the past decade.


6. Derek Kellogg, UMass Minutemen – The Minutemen won 25 games a season ago in what was a very competitive Atlantic-10 conference. Kellogg is a former Minutemen player, so to have him leave the program would take a great offer from a top-notch school. Kellogg will look to compete for the Atlantic 10 conference title during the 2012-13 season, thanks in large part to junior point guard Chaz Williams.


7. Dave Rice, UNLV Running Rebels – It’s not an easy task following Lon Kruger’s footsteps in the Sin City. Rice has done a pretty solid job through just one year, though. The Runnin’ Rebels were ranked in the Top 25 for most of the season and finished with 26 wins. The Runnin’ Rebels made the NCAA tournament, but were upset by Colorado in the Round of 64. Rice has several key players returning to the squad this year with a savvy mix of newcomers, so UNLV will be in search of a Mountain West Conference title. The head coach is just 43 years old, so he is still one of the better, “younger” coaches in the nation.


8. David Carter, Nevada Wolf Pack – The Wolf Pack were the class of the Western Athletic Conference a season ago. Nevada was upset in the conference tournament and just missed out for the NCAAs. Despite that, Carter’s name has been tossed around for higher-profile jobs. Carter is a Saint Mary’s alum and entering his fourth year as the head man at Nevada. The 28 wins that the Wolf Pack picked up last season were tied for second in school history for a single season.


9. Rick Byrd, Belmont Bruins – The Bruins won 27 games a season ago and ran away with the Atlantic Sun Conference. Coach Byrd and his squad will join the Ohio Valley Conference this season, competing with the likes of Murray State and Morehead State. Byrd and his squad gave Georgetown all they wanted in the first game of the NCAA tournament last season. Byrd is a Tennessee graduate and is entering his 26th season. He has won over 540 games at Belmont and 637 in his career. While Byrd may not be leaving Belmont, maybe he could be interested in a new challenge in the coming years.


10. Sean Woods, Morehead State Eagles – Another Ohio Valley Conference coach who seems to be a high commodity is Sean Woods. Coach Woods is a 1992 Kentucky graduate, and played in 91 games for Rick Pitino. Woods will enter his first season as the head coach of the Eagles in 2012-13. Last season, he was the head man at Mississippi Valley State, where the Delta Devils made the NCAA tournament as a No. 16 seed.


Names such as VCU’s Shaka Smart, Butler’s Brad Stevens and Gonzaga’s Mark Few would be listed with the names above, but it would take a dream job to pull them away from their current gig. These individuals have done a great job for several years and have quickly moved into the new echelon of coaches. We hope you enjoyed our On-The-Rise Coaches segment!


Follow Rodney Knuppel on Twitter at @knuppelrodney


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