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NCAA: New coaches with most to prove
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On August 23, 2013 @ 5:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
Is it March yet? Hardly. With the NCAA tournament far in the rearview mirror and Midnight Madness several months away, USA TODAY Sports examines several story lines for the 2013-14 college basketball season.
The college basketball coaching carousel always offers intrigue because of the domino effect that takes place when one up-and-coming coach leaves town for the lure of another coveted job.
The story lines don’t often vary as much as the faces do. There was a high-profile coach, who had lifted a mid-level program to top-25 heights, taking a gig with towering expectations (Steve Alford at UCLA). There was the mid-major coach-turned celebrity who rode the publicity of his team’s storybook season to land a much more prominent job (Andy Enfield to USC) and of course, there was the enlightened but didn’t-see-that-coming decision (Minnesota replacing Tubby Smith with Rick Pitino’s son, Richard).
With Alford, Enfield and Pitino relocating, subsequent coaching vacancies ensued — entering names like Craig Neal (New Mexico) and Joe Dooley (FGCU) into the college hoops heading coaching vocabulary.
With close to 40 coaching changes this offseason, actually a lower-than-average number, here’s a look at the coaches with the most to prove in 2013-14.
1. Steve Alford, UCLA: As soon as Ben Howland was fired in March, the UCLA opening became one of the most coveted jobs on the college hoops scene. Alford, a former Indiana player (under Bobby Knight) and Iowa coach (1999-2007), spent his last six seasons with New Mexico. His résumé — two Big Ten titles, four Mountain West titles — is well polished, but coaching at UCLA never comes without skepticism. The Lobos bowed out of last season’s NCAA tournament with an early exit in an upset to Harvard. One reason Alford is a nice fit to take over the Bruins is his connection to the Southern California recruiting scene. He recruited prized players Tony Snell and Kendall Williams to New Mexico. That’s one area where Howland sputtered in toward the end of his tenure.
2. Andy Enfield, USC: This is the classic story of how the NCAA tournament can make a career. Before March, … [For more on Starting Five: New coaches with most to prove in 2013-14, click here.]
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