July 12, 2010

Five coaches who could make a big jump

July is a busy month on the college basketball calendar, with numerous big summer recruiting showcases. Coaches are out in force, scouting for talent in the senior class as well as looking for rising-star underclassmen.

Some of the coaches on the prowl for talent won't be in the same job next year at this time; some will lose their jobs, while others will fill those voids.

Three coaches who made a huge jump this offseason -- from coach at a low-major program to a Big Six conference school -- are Colorado's Tad Boyle (from the Big Sky's Northern Colorado), Boston College's Steve Donahue (from the Ivy's Cornell) and Rutgers' Mike Rice (from the Northeast's Robert Morris). They are among the nine current coaches who have made that big jump.

With that in mind, here are five guys who could make that leap after the 2010-11 season:

MORGAN STATE'S TODD BOZEMAN
Age: 46
League: Mid-Eastern Athletic
Buzz: He just finished his fourth season with the Bears and has guided them to 20-plus wins in each of the past three. Morgan also has made three consecutive postseason appearances, including two in a row to the NCAA tourney -- the first trips to the Big Dance in school history. The Bears have dominated MEAC opponents, going 42-6 in league play the past three seasons. Thus, there's no question his work at Morgan State has been great. What might keep Bozeman from moving on, though, is his time at California from 1993-96, which is ironic considering that with the Golden Bears, he was the youngest coach to take a team to the Sweet 16. But some of his actions put Cal on probation and Bozeman was given an eight-year "show-cause" sanction by the NCAA, meaning a school would've had to petition the NCAA to allow Bozeman to coach before the sanctions were up. Bozeman was hired by Morgan State less than a year after the sanctions were lifted. There are no ex-MEAC coaches currently leading Big Six programs.

PRINCETON'S SYDNEY JOHNSON
Age: 36
League: Ivy
Buzz: Johnson, a Princeton alum, has done yeoman work in his three seasons as coach of the Tigers. They were 6-23 in his first season after he was hired off the staff at Georgetown. The Tigers improved to 13-14 in his second season, then finished 22-9 -- including a run to the CBI semifinals -- last season. Johnson was the Ivy League player of the year in 1996-97 and understands the intricacies of the league, including its tough recruiting standards. He's also a good Xs-and-Os guy, not surprising when you consider he was recruited to Princeton by Pete Carril. As for the idea that a "big" school wouldn't take a chance on an Ivy coach, there are four former Ivy coaches now working in a Big Six conference -- Donahue in the ACC, Northwestern's Bill Carmody in the Big Ten, Oregon State's Craig Robinson in the Pac-10 and Georgetown's John Thompson III in the Big East. Johnson was on Georgetown's staff when he was hired away by Princeton -- and Thompson was Princeton's coach when he was hired away by Georgetown.

QUINNIPIAC'S TOM MOORE
Age: 45
League: Northeast
Buzz: Moore has been coach at Quinnipiac, in Hamden, Conn., for the past three seasons and guided the Bobcats to 23 wins this past season, which ended with a first-round loss to Virginia Tech in the NIT. That was the first postseason berth in school history. He was hired by the Bobcats after spending 13 seasons as an assistant to Jim Calhoun at Connecticut. Moore remains close to Calhoun. Moore is known as a top-flight recruiter. His name did surface in the scandal surrounding UConn's recruitment of Nate Miles, for which the school is under investigation. But Moore's attorney has said Moore has been cleared in the NCAA's investigation of the matter. Rice is the only former Northeast Conference coach now at a Big Six program.

ORAL ROBERTS' SCOTT SUTTON
Age: 40
League: Summit
Buzz: Sutton has been coach at ORU for 11 seasons and has led the Eagles to 20-win seasons in five of the past six years. There have been three NCAA appearances and one NIT bid in that six-season span. Sutton is the son of former long-time coach Eddie Sutton. Scott Sutton, who was an assistant at ORU under Bill Self and Barry Hinson before being promoted, prefers an up-tempo brand of basketball. One former Summit League coach now is a coach at a Big Six school -- Baylor's Scott Drew, who had been at Valparaiso.

JACKSONVILLE'S CLIFF WARREN
Age: 42
League: Atlantic Sun
Buzz: Warren just finished his fifth season at Jacksonville, and has overseen the Dolphins' growth from a Division I bottom-feeder -- they were 1-26 in his first season -- to annual contender in the A-Sun. JU has finished tied for third, second, first and tied for first in the A-Sun in the past four seasons, but the Dolphins have not made the NCAA field under Warren; instead, they have made consecutive NIT appearances, including a first-round win at Arizona State this past season that gave them 20 victories. It was Jacksonville's first 20-win season since 1986. Still, the lack of NCAA experience likely will be held against Warren by some athletic directors. Warren played and was an assistant at Mount St. Mary's under long-time coach Jim Phelan, then was an assistant to Paul Hewitt at Siena and Georgia Tech before being hired by JU. There are no former A-Sun coaches currently coaching a Big Six program.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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