The Tier 1 schools profiled in last week's article are the movers and shakers in college basketball. They tally up the most representatives in the NCAA tournament and relegate the rest of the schools to "mid-major" status. There are plenty of interesting things that happen beneath Tier 1, however. We have a few big-name coaches, and multiple replacements are stepping in to noteworthy jobs that have been vacated. Before we examine some of the new Tier 2-3 coaches, let's take a peek at the newest Tier 1 coach: Steve Prohm at Iowa State.
Iowa State Cyclones: Steve Prohm
Prohm is poised to have the easiest transition from Tier 2 Murray State to the big time. The Mayor, Fred Hoiberg, left for the NBA, but there is plenty of talent on the Cyclone roster. The team returns its leading scorer (Georges Niang), rebounder (Jamaal McKay), and assist-man (Monte Morris). Prohm figures to be a good match with the talent because he pushed the Racers to 79.1 points per game (11th in the nation) and an undefeated record in Ohio Valley Conference play. We don't know if Prohm's style will mesh perfectly with Hoiberg's players, but it seems likely that the Cyclones will be one of the better teams in the Big 12.
The Citadel Bulldogs: Duggar Baucom
This coaching change has me more excited than any other. For the last 10 years, Baucom had VMI as one of the top scoring teams in the nation. He produced many college fantasy studs, including Reggie Williams, who has had an itinerant career in the NBA. Now, Baucom will take his super pace across the Southern Conference to The Citadel. The Bulldogs have not won more than 16 games in the last six years and will need to replace leading scorer Ashton Moore (18.0 points) and center P.J. Horgan. Guard Warren Sledge should see a big bump in minutes and keep an eye on freshman center James Pado from Australia. The Citadel may not win more in Baucom's first season, but they will score like crazy.
VCU Rams: Will Wade
While the Rams couldn't keep Shaka Smart after six successful seasons (five trips to the Big Dance and a run from First Four to Final Four in 2011), they chose a new coach from the VCU tree. Smart is now surrounded by piles of cash in Texas, but Wade was his assistant through 2013. For the last two seasons, Wade has been the lead man at Chattanooga. The Mocs won 22 games last season, but lost to Furman in the SoCon quarterfinals. It would be Wade's last game with Chattanooga. Wade should have a solid building block in guard Melvin Johnson, while junior Mo Alie-Cox should provide strength in the paint.
Nevada: Eric Musselman
One quick look at Musselman's resume indicates that the new coach of the Wolf Pack is a basketball lifer. His father was an NBA coach and Musselman has led both the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. His NBA teams were competitive, but never reached the playoffs. Musselman has also coached in the CBA and NBDL, and one of his particular talents is player development. The Wolf Pack only won three games in conference last year, but should be poised to improve. Senior center A.J. West provided a double-double (12.1 points, 11.0 rebounds) with 2.6 blocks. Don't overlook freshman point guard Lindsey Drew, son of former NBA player and coach Larry Drew.
Charlotte 49ers: Mark Price
Price is likely the most well known name on this list to the casual basketball fan. He was the point guard for those fine Cleveland Cavalier teams in the 90s that couldn't get over the Michael Jordan hurdle. Price hit better than 40 percent of his 3-pointers over his career. He has been a shooting consultant for many NBA teams and will hope to bring his wisdom to bear as the coach of the 49ers, who last went dancing in 2005. The team will be without Torin Dorn, who transferred to North Carolina State (as if to stick a pin in the 49ers new coach who went to Georgia Tech). Price will not have the services of the team's top four scorers from last season, but Braxton Ogbueze – a transfer from Florida – could be a player to remember.
Holy Cross Crusaders: Bill Carmody
What do you get after spending 13 years at Northwestern without making the NCAA tournament? A year off and then a ticket to Worcester, Massachusetts. Although Carmody was unable to take the Wildcats to the Promised Land, they were generally competitive. The Crusaders have made the Big Dance, but not since 2007 (and they have not won a game since 1953). Carmody will bring his Princeton-style offense to the Patriot League. While the team will not have its top two scorers from last year, junior Malachi Alexander should again lead the team in rebounding. It may take some time for Carmody to transform Holy Cross, but he went dancing twice while at Princeton, establishing a precedent for success at the mid-major level.
Penn Quakers: Steve Donahue
Like Baucom, Donahue is making a cross-conference lateral move. Granted, Donahue used a highly successful run at Cornell, including an appearance in the 2010 Sweet 16, to a four-year stint at Boston College. The Eagles only won 15 conference games over the last three seasons under Donahue, but he knows what it takes to succeed in the Ivy League. The Quakers have room for improvement after winning just four conference games under former star Jerome Allen. The team should have solid returning players in guard Tony Hicks and center Darien Nelson-Henry.
Utah State Aggies: Tim Duryea
For 17 years, Stew Morrill was the Aggies' coach. He led the team to consistent achievements, including three straight tournament appearances from 2009 to 2011. Unfortunately, the Aggies have not received a dance card in the last three years. Duryea is a long-time assistant at USU, so things should remain largely the same as before. Morrill left plenty of his players to stick around for Duryea. Leading scorer Jalen Moore (15.2 points, 6.7 rebounds) will be a junior in 2015-16, while David Collette had an impressive freshman season (12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds). Duryea also received a commitment from Crew Ainge, Danny's son.
Fordham Rams: Jeff Neubauer
I've often remarked upon Fordham's ability to provide fantasy-capable players while not being competitive. Chris Gaston was a four-year stud for the Rams and the team never won more than a handful of A10 games. Meanwhile, Neubauer was turning Eastern Kentucky into one of the better teams in the Ohio Valley with three straight postseason appearances (two CIT, one NCAA). While Eric Paschall has taken his high-scoring ways to Villanova, Neubauer will be able to build around forwards Mandell Thomas and Ryan Rhoomes.
George Mason Patriots: Dave Paulsen
Like Neubauer, Paulsen used sustained success at a relatively small school, Bucknell, to earn a move up to the A10. The Bison finished in first place in the Patriot League in four of the last five years. They twice appeared in the NCAA tournament, but were upset in the Patriot tournament twice and had to settle for the NIT. The Patriots had fallen on hard times under Paul Hewitt and equaled Fordham's win total last year. Paulsen will have a star in the making with senior center Shevon Thompson, who provided 12.5 points and 11.3 rebounds last season.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors: Eran Ganot
Prior to the 2014-15 season, the future looked bleak for the Rainbow Warriors. The team was without a coach after Gib Arnold was fired amid investigations into improprieties in terms of NCAA regulations. Benjy Taylor steered the team to a 22-win season and the finals of the Big West tournament. Ganot was hired after serving as associate head coach at St. Mary's. He was on the Hawaii bench from 2006 to 2010, so he knows the landscapes (volcanoes and all). Junior Aaron Valdes, the team's leading scorer at 13.7 points, returns.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs: Eric Konkol
Louisiana Tech probably didn't expect to be looking for a new coach. Mike White had won three straight regular season Conference USA titles. Then, the Florida job opened up and White jumped to the Gators. Konkol, like Ganot, does not have any head coach experience, but he is steeped in time on the bench. For the past eight seasons, he has supported Jim Larranga at both George Mason and then with Miami. The UW-Eau Claire graduate will have the services of Alex Hamilton, a 6-4 guard who averaged 14.7 points.