College Basketball: 10 Head Coaches Who Deserve a Raise
10 College Basketball Coaches Who Deserve a Raise
Every college basketball season can be summed up in different ways, but every season can always be classified as "crazy". The 2013-14 season has certainly been no different.
Before the season, people likely expected to see teams like Syracuse, Kansas, and Michigan State at the top of their respective standings and ranked in the top 25. But how many people expected to see Texas A&M, Cincinnati, and California at the top of the standings? Or even seeing Wichita State unbeaten and in the top five. Conference realignment has impacted the landscape of college basketball over the last few seasons. Two former Big East teams are first place in the ACC. A "mid-major" is first place in the Big East and former Big 12 teams have had success in the SEC.
The Big 12 is filled with depth. Powerhouses like Kansas, Oklahoma State and Kansas State are always good, but Iowa State and Oklahoma's success comes as a bit of a surprise. Teams like Georgetown, Villanova and Marquette should and are among the best teams in the new Big East conference, but Creighton is in first place at 5-0. The new American Athletic Conference has the defending national champions Louisville, as well as the defending Conference USA champions Memphis and former Big East power UConn. This makes it surprising that Cincinnati is the only unbeaten team in first place in the conference.
These ten coaches have done a terrific job in 2013-14 and deserve more recognition and a raise for the success they have had.
10. Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M
Texas A&M is surprisingly unbeaten in SEC play and tied for first place. Billy Kennedy replaced Mark Turgeon, who led the Aggies to the NCAA tournament for all four years he was in College Station. His overall record (43-36) is nothing special, but he is beginning to get his players in place and adapting to life in the SEC as opposed to Big 12.
9. Lon Kruger, Oklahoma
Lon Kruger got Oklahoma into the NCAA tournament in 2013, their first appearance since 2009. It seems to be trending that way again for Oklahoma in 2014. Oklahoma played Michigan State tough earlier in the season and gave Iowa State their first loss of the season this past weekend.
8. Mike Montgomery, California
California is 4-0 and tied for first place in the Pac-12. They have road wins over Stanford and Colorado already in the conference. Mike Montgomery has spent five years at Cal and made the NCAA tournament four times, including the last two. The departure of Allen Crabbe, their best player a year ago, made it seem like the Bears may take a step back, but they continue to improve in 2014.
7. Derek Kellogg, UMass
UMass is ranked 16th and are 15-1 overall. They have wins over New Mexico, LSU, BYU and Nebraska. Derek Kellogg has yet to lead the Minutemen to an NCAA tournament appearance, but it seems likely he will this year. They won 25 and 21 games the last two seasons respectively, but it was only enough for the NIT. Despite no tournament appearances, Kellogg is 100-78 in 5-plus seasons.
6. Jim Crews, Saint Louis
Jim Crews replaced the late Rick Majerus at Saint Louis last season. He has compiled a 44-9 record so far and the Bilikens are among the best teams in the Atlantic-10. They have been consistently among the top 25 teams in the weekly rankings.
5. Greg McDermott, Creighton
Greg McDermott replaced Dana Altman in 2010. His first season at Creighton resulted in a CBI championship game appearance, and he's made the NCAA tournament the last two years. One of his biggest contributions is having his son play for him. Doug McDermott is on his way to being one of the greatest scorers in NCAA history. Creighton has continued their success in the new Big East as they are 5-0 and tied for first place.
4. Tad Boyle, Colorado
Colorado was terrible under former coach Jeff Bzdelik. Tad Boyle was hired in 2010 from Northern Colorado without much fanfare. He was 56-66 in four years there and the Buffaloes went 31-59 in the previous three years. They made the NIT in his first season and have consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He has an overall record of 83-39 in three-plus seasons.
3. Fred Hoiberg, Iowa State
"The Mayor of Ames" as many call him, Fred Hoiberg has been a better hire than anyone could have expected for the Cyclones. His team is 14-2 after winning their first 14 games. Iowa State made the tournament and won their first game in each of the last two years. A third straight NCAA tourney appearance, and people might actually elect Hoiberg as the mayor.
2. Mick Cronin, Cincinnati
Mick Cronin has done an outstanding job this year since consecutive losses to New Mexico and Xavier. The Bearcats are 16-2, 5-0 in the AAC and have held 25 straight opponents under 67 points. Their defense is outstanding and while the offense has sputtered at times, Cronin has recruited long and athletic players that all fit a certain mold. His team hustles, rebounds and defends well, which makes up for the team's lack of shooting.
1. Gregg Marshall, Wichita State
After a surprising Final Four appearance by Wichita State in 2013, Gregg Marshall's team is off to a fast start this season. They haven't lost since losing to the eventual champion Louisville in the national semifinals. They are 18-0 and ranked in the top-five, and the team seems poised to complete a perfect regular season.