College basketball coaching changes: UC Riverside promotes assistant after head coach bolts to Arkansas

Dave PilipovichJoe ScottAir Force is turning to a familiar face in former coach Joe Scott after parting ways with Dave Pilipovich following his eighth season. Scott led the Falcons to the 2004 NCAA Tournament in the final season of a four-year run as the program’s  coach. Since then, he’s been the coach at Princeton and Denver and an assistant at Holy Cross and Georgia.

Lewis JacksonMo WilliamsFormer NBA champion and All-Star Mo Williams is returning to his southern roots to take over a historically proud SWAC program after Lewis Jackson resigned in March following 15 seasons on the job. Williams spent the past two seasons on the staff at Cal State Northridge but played college basketball at Alabama.

David PatrickMike MagpayoPatrick left to take the associate head coaching gig at Arkansas on July 1 after two seasons at UC-Riverside. He led the team to just its second winning campaign since it joined Division I for the 2001-02 season. The Highlanders opted for continuity by promoting associate head coach Mike Magpayo.

Montez RobinsonTBDMontez Robinson put together the best run of any Alcorn State coach since the revered Davey Whitney led the Braves to their two most recent NCAA Tournament appearances in a four-year span from 1999-2002. But athletic director Derek Horne announced March 23 that Robinson’s contract will not be renewed for a sixth year after the Braves finished the season 15-15 (11-7 SWAC). His tenure concludes with a 69-86 (50-40 SWAC) record.

Russ PennellAnthony BooneAnthony Boone coached the Bears to a 9-13 record over their final 22 games after Russ Pennell resigned following a 1-9 start. The effort earned Boone the full-time job and the opportunity to try and get the UCA program on winning footing for the first time since it joined Division I for the 2006-07 season. UCA’s only winning season so far came when it went 18-17 in 2017-18 under Pennell. Boone, an Arkansas native and former Ole Miss player, was the associate head at UCA for five seasons before he got the interim job.

Steve ForbesJason ShayEast Tennessee State found itself in the unexpected position of needing to fill its head-coaching vacancy after Steve Forbes left for Wake Forest on April 30. Shay was the easy/ideal candidate. ETSU is one of the best programs in the SoCon. 

Walter McCartyTodd LickliterThe Purple Aces notched the upset of the season by winning at Kentucky on their way to a 9-4 start. But it all fell apart when coach Walter McCarty was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 26 and subsequently fired over allegations of sexual misconduct. Under interim coach coach Bennie Seltzer and new coach Todd Lickliter, Evansville lost its last 19 games to finish 9-23 — its lowest win total in a decade. But Lickliter is a former Butler and Iowa coach who spent 2018-19 as an assistant at Evansville. His experience should help steady the Purple Aces and make them competitive in the Missouri Valley Conference again.

Dan MajerleBryce DrewGrand Canyon is turning to Bryce Drew as the Antelopes try and make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since becoming eligible in 2018 following the transition from Division I to Division II. Expectations are high at the Phoenix, Arizona university. Dan Majerle won 20-plus games four seasons in a row before he was dismissed following a 13-17 campaign.

Mark ByingtonBrian BurgAfter three straight 20-win seasons, Mark Byington left for James Madison. That leaves the Eagles in search of a new coach. They have reportedly settled on Texas Tech assistant Brian Burg, who followed Red Raiders coach Chris Beard from Little Rock and helped Texas Tech make the 2019 national championship game.

Linc DarnerWill RyanLinc Darner’s dismissal at Green Bay came as a surprise after the program’s fourth winning season in five years under his direction. Now Will Ryan, the son of former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, will get a chance at the Division 1 level after spending last season as head coach of Division II Wheeling University in West Virginia.

Steve McClainLuke YaklichConsidering where things were at Illinois-Chicago when he started, Steve McClain did a nice job in his five years as he led the program to three consecutive winning seasons in Horizon League play for the first time since the school joined the league for the 2001-02 season. But the program has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2004, and athletic director Michael Lipitz made it clear in the announcement of McClain’s departure that he expects the next coach to lead the Flames to the Big Dance. That next man, according to Jeff Goodman, is expected to be former Michigan and Texas assistant Luke Yaklich, an Illinois native with a high school coaching background in the Chicago area.

Tim CluessRick PitinoThe Gaels made a splash by hiring 67-year-old Rick Pitino three years after his run at Louisville ended in a heap of controversy. Pitino comes to Iona from Panathinaikos B.C. in Greece. He’s entering a good situation, too. Former coach Tim Cluess led Iona to six NCAA Tournament appearances in nine years before spending last season away from the team for health reasons.

Don VerlinZac ClausZac Claus spent four seasons as an assistant under Don Verlin before Verlin was fired with cause in June 2019 after a probe revealed possible NCAA violations. Claus took over as interim coach before the season and earned the full-time job in February even as the Vandals struggled through an 8-24 campaign.

Louis RoweMark ByingtonMark Byington will be the coach christening the Dukes’ new 8,500-seat Atlantic Union Bank Center in the upcoming season. After seven years as coach at Georgia Southern, he replaces Louis Rowe, a former JMU player and assistant who struggled to a 43-85 record over four seasons with his alma mater.

Mike DunlapStan JohnsonStan Johnson is stepping in from his role as Marquette’s associate head coach after LMU and Mike Dunlap “agreed to part ways” when Dunlap’s sixth season came to an end with an 11-21 record. Johnson’s resume also includes stops at Arizona State and Utah, among others.

Jeff LinderSteve SmileyThree of the Bears’ top four scorers this season were seniors, which means there was going to be some rebuilding at Northern Colorado even if Jeff Linder hadn’t taken the Wyoming job. But by promoting Steve Smiley from associate head coach, Northern Colorado is ensuring there will be some continuity from Linder’s solid four-year run. Smiley is a Colorado native and successful former junior college head coach.

Scott PadgettBucky McMillanAfter a wildly successful 12-year run at nearby Mountain Brook High School, Birmingham native Bucky McMillan is taking his championship pedigree to the Division 1 ranks. He’ll be tasked with energizing a program that has not posted a winning record in Southern Conference play since joining the league for the 2008-09 season.

Rick RayBrad KornFormer Mississippi State coach Rick Ray is out after posting a 51-104 record in five seasons and qualifying for the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament only once. Kansas State assistant Brad Korn will get the next crack at taking the Redhawks back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000.

Rob EhsanAndy KennedyRob Ehsan is out after four years, done in by a failure to make the NCAA Tournament and mediocre results in a conference the Blazers have historically fared well in. But the Blazers are scoring a former power coach and famed alum in his replacement. Andy Kennedy is leaving the broadcast table to take over his alma mater two years after he resigned following a 12-year stint at Ole Miss.

C.B. McGrathTakayo SiddleTakayo Siddle comes to UNCW from Kevin Keatts’ staff at NC State to try and continue what Keatts started in his three seasons coaching the Seahawks from 2014 to 2017. UNCW made two straight NCAA Tournament appearances under Keatts with Siddle on the bench as an assistant. After Keatts left for NC State, the Seahawks turned to longtime North Carolina C.B. McGrath, who went 26-58 in two and a half seasons. It didn’t work out for McGrath. But as Keatts and Brad Brownell (now at Clemson) have shown, the UNCW job can be a springboard to bigger things for those who have success.

Danny ManningSteve ForbesForbes takes over from East Tennessee State after winning 130 games in five seasons, including two SoCon championships. He was Wake Forest’s top choice. The terms to their deal will not be disclosed publicly because Wake Forest is a private university. Manning was fired after compiling a 30-80 ACC record in six seasons. His ouster made Wake Forest the first school from any of the sport’s power conferences to initiate a coaching change amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Billy WrightRob JeterThe Billy Wright era at Western Illinois had its moments, such as when the Leathernecks upset a ranked Wisconsin team in 2015. But success never came in the Summit League under Wright, and now former Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter gets another chance to lead a program. Jeter spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Minnesota.

Steve HawkinsClayton BatesWestern Michigan athletic director Kathy Beauregard cut straight to the point in the university’s announcement that associate head coach Clayton Bates will be promoted to head coach by saying that a national search “just didn’t sit well” with her because of the COVID-19 crisis. Bates is a long-time WMU assistant, and the university announcement explicitly explained how the athletic department “will spend approximately $165,000 less on the coach position in the coming season” by promoting Bates.

Allen EdwardsJeff LinderJeff Linder parlayed a strong four-year run at Northern Colorado into landing his first head coaching job. The Bears were in the midst of a third straight 20-win season when the Big Sky Conference Tournament was called off. Linder replaces Allen Edwards, a former Kentucky player and Wyoming assistant who started his four-year tenure with a pair of 20-win seasons before combining to go 17-48 the last two years.

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