Top 7 men's basketball coaching hires this offseason

Krysten Peek
·7-min read

There’s been a lot of movement early on in the men's college basketball offseason with a record number of players entering the transfer portal and Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams announcing his retirement after 33 years. A few high-major jobs opened up after Sean Miller (Arizona) and Archie Miller (Indiana) were both let go and Shaka Smart (Texas) took the head coach position at Marquette. There have also been a few key assistant coaching hires in the last month since the season ended.

Below we take a look at the top seven coaching hires in the 2021 offseason.

1. Chris Beard, Texas head coach

Former program: Texas Tech (head coach)

Texas fans have a lot to be excited about after Beard was named the head coach on April 1. In five seasons at Texas Tech, Beard led the Red Raiders to four NCAA tournament appearances, two Sweet 16 games and the championship game. In 2019, he was named the AP National Coach of the Year and has an overall record of 252-103. Beard graduated from Texas in 1995 and was a student manager under then-head coach Tom Penders.

Beard got to work right away assembling an army of assistant coaches, including long-term Kansas assistant coach Jerrance Howard, who is responsible for a ton of recruiting wins for the Jayhawks since 2013. Beard also brought along former Texas Tech assistant Ulric Maligi, who was the lead recruiter in landing Tech’s very first McDonald’s All-American, Nimari Burnett. Former UTEP head coach Rodney Terry joined Beard's staff as the associate head coach and previously was an assistant coach at Texas from 2002-2011.

The coaching staff made an early statement in signing two key transfers in Timmy Allen (Utah) and Devin Askew (Kentucky) and have four-star recruit Jaylon Tyson coming in next year.

The day after the national championship game, Beard posted an open letter to the Texas Longhorn nation saying, “This is a Monday Night program. We have work to do to get there, but I’m not afraid to talk about it from day one. That’s the game we’re trying to get to, and everything we do will be about getting us to the level where we can compete for national championships.”

Chris Beard of the Texas Tech Red Raiders directs his team against Utah State in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament on March 19. (Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Chris Beard of the Texas Tech Red Raiders directs his team against Utah State in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament on March 19. (Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

2. Shaka Smart, Marquette head coach

Former program: Texas (head coach)

Texas lost to Abilene Christian by one point in the first round of the NCAA tournament on March 20 and three days later Shaka Smart took the head coaching job at Marquette. Smart grew up 88 miles away from Marquette in Oregon, Wisconsin, and this is a homecoming for him. Smart led Texas to its first-ever Maui Invitational win and won the Big 12 tournament this past season. He has high expectations coming into next season and recognizes all the hard work that’s been done by the coaches that have come before him.

“The reason why I’m here is the success built by past coaches and past players and I want all those former coaches and players to know that I take the responsibility of being your basketball coach very seriously,” Smart said after arriving on campus.

Smart got to work right away and landed Clemson transfer Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who was a former four-star recruit, and have a pair of top-100 high school recruits coming in with Stevie Mitchell and Emarion Ellis.

3. Danny Manning, Maryland assistant coach

Former program: Wake Forest (head coach)

Manning is one year removed from coaching and was an college basketball analyst for ESPN this past season. It didn’t take long for another program to hire Manning and it came from his former Kansas teammate, Mark Turgeon.

“I've known Danny for a long time and I cannot say enough about him as a coach and as a human being. He has seen it all in the game of basketball and will bring unparalleled experience to our program,” Turgeon said after the hire.

Manning brings experience in recruiting out of the DMV, an area where Duke and North Carolina have ruled for the last few years. The Big Ten is arguably the most competitive conference in the country and the addition of Manning is a huge win for the Maryland program.

4. Hubert Davis, North Carolina head coach

Former program: North Carolina (assistant coach)

Davis has huge shoes to fill after Roy Williams announced his retirement. He had been on Williams' coaching staff since 2012 and played for legendary coach Dean Smith from 1988-1992. In the last nine seasons, the Tar Heels won a national title in 2017, made eight NCAA tournament appearances and went 228-95.

Davis has retained most of the team, with only Walker Kessler and Garrison Brooks entering the transfer portal, and he has two four-star recruits coming in next year with Dontrez Styles and D’Marco Dunn.

Porter Moser of the Loyola Ramblers reacts against Oregon State in the Sweet 16 round of the 2021 NCAA tournament on March 27. (Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Porter Moser of the Loyola Ramblers reacts against Oregon State in the Sweet 16 round of the 2021 NCAA tournament on March 27. (Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

5. Porter Moser, Oklahoma head coach

Former program: Loyola Chicago (head coach)

Moser led mid-major Loyola Chicago to two incredible tournament runs in 2018 and 2021 and became one of the most sought-after coaches in the offseason. Lon Kruger retired this year after 10 seasons at Oklahoma. The Sooners made seven NCAA tournaments in the last 10 years and made a Final Four run in 2016.

This is Moser’s first high-major coaching job after starting his coaching career in 1990. Moser has already landed a couple big transfers in Tanner and Jacob Groves (Eastern Washington). Tanner Groves was the Big Sky Conference Player of the Year and averaged 17.2 points and eight rebounds per game last season.

6. Tommy Lloyd, Arizona head coach

Former program: Gonzaga (assistant coach)

Lloyd beat out several former Arizona players and current coaches for the Arizona head coaching job. Many thought Lloyd was being groomed to be Mark Few’s replacement at Gonzaga after spending 21 years on Few’s coaching staff. Lloyd had been instrumental in building the Gonzaga program and was one win away from an undefeated season and a national championship.

“While there are certainly potential obstacles ahead for our program, I embrace the challenge as we will build on the foundation in place to compete for PAC-12 and national championships,” Lloyd said after arriving in Tucson.

Lloyd brought in Gonzaga transfer Oumar Ballo, who is a 7-foot-2 center but averaged only 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game as a freshman. He also retained a key high school recruit in four-star shooting guard Shane Nowell.

7. Mike Woodson, Indiana head coach

Former program: New York Knicks (assistant coach)

This is the first collegiate coaching job for Woodson. He had spent 25 years at the NBA level as a head coach and most recently, an assistant coach for the New York Knicks. Woodson is a former Hoosier who played for Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight and is one of five players to reach 2,000 points at Indiana.

“I haven’t seen that IU championship spirit like we used to have, but I think Mike Woodson is definitely going to bring that tradition, those winning ways back to Indiana University basketball,” Former IU player Landon Turner said.

Woodson signed a six-year contract and has his work cut out for him. Six Indiana players have already entered the transfer portal and Woodson and his staff will have to work on retaining talent after his first season as head coach.

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