Trust me, I was hoping it would be another couple of years before I had to write a post like this but alas, Micah Shrewsberry has flocked back to his home state and for the second time in the past three years, Penn State finds itself back on the college hoops coaching carousel.
Given how AD Pat Kraft reportedly was ready to make a strong financial commitment to keep Shrews around for the long-term, it’s reasonable to think that Kraft can take some shots at some names from mid-major programs that have heated up over the past couple of weeks, thanks to reaching and sometimes even winning a game or two in the NCAA Tournament. So, without further ado, here is the debut of our BSD Coaching Hot Board:
Dusty May (Florida Atlantic Head Coach) - Dusty is probably the biggest mid-major coaching prospect whose team is still alive in the NCAA Tournament. An Indiana native who once served as a student manager for Bob Knight’s Hoosiers squads in the late 90’s, he is enjoying a breakout season in his fifth year at the helm at FAU, having led the Owls to a 33-3 record, second-ever Big Dance appearance, and first-ever Sweet 16 appearance. It’s a fairly safe bet that some power conference program is going to land Dusty soon after FAU is eliminated.
Matt Langel (Colgate HC) - Another hot mid-major coaching commodity, Langel has taken Colgate to four straight NCAA Tournaments (would be five straight, if not for COVID cancelling the 2020 Tourney). Like PSU, his Colgate teams also shoot a ton of threes, so offensive style-wise, you wouldn’t see too drastic of a change. Langel is a New Jersey native who played at Penn and was also an assistant coach there and later at Temple under Fran Dunphy before taking the Colgate gig back in 2011. Surely, he’s ready and willing to take on a power conference job at this point, and PSU may just be the ticket.
Mike Rhoades (VCU HC) - This is a name we had listed on our coaching board a few years back when trying to figure out who could replace Pat Chambers. Rhoades is a PA native (Schuylkill) who played college ball at Lebanon Valley College, and would sure be open to taking a power conference job in his home state if PSU came calling. He has had a successful run with VCU, having taken the Rams to three NCAA Tournament appearances (including this year) in his six seasons down in Richmond.
Darian DeVries (Drake HC) - Another mid-major coach who may be targeted by bigger programs, DeVries has taken Drake to two of the last three NCAA Tournaments. He is an Iowa native though, with no ties to the east coast, so he may be more drawn to bigger openings in his home state or elsewhere in the midwest.
Mitch Henderson (Princeton HC) - Mitch and his Princeton Tigers sure are having a moment! Princeton as you probably know, is still dancing in the Sweet 16 as a 15-seed, in what’s been their most successful run in decades. It’s doubtful that he would be a top target on Kraft’s list, and he’s also a former Princeton player, so he will only leave for a school that he thinks is truly the right fit for him. Still, doesn’t hurt to put him on the board.
Bob Richey (Furman HC) - He’s coming off ending a 43-year NCAA Tournament drought at Furman, and if not for being on the wrong end of a buzzer-beating half-court prayer last year, Richey would be coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. You may remember PSU holding off a furious rally against his Furman squad to win their first game of the Charleston Classic back in November, but you probably remember his team mostly for upsetting Virginia in the first round on an absolute bonkers mistake by Virginia that led to a game-winning three. Richey has won 20-plus games at Furman in all but one of his six years at the helm, and that’s mainly because it was a shortened COVID season.
Adam Fisher (PSU Associate HC) - This would be a high-risk/high-reward hire, but Fisher is a PSU alum, an ace recruiter, and an absolute rising star in the coaching ranks, who is reportedly a candidate for the Temple opening. Promoting him to head coach could minimize the exodus of the current freshmen (Kanye Clary, Evan Mahaffey, Kebba Njie, Jameel Brown, and Demetrius Lilley) as well as perhaps keep Carey Booth committed in the 2023 class (I’ve already written off Braeden Shrewsberry and Logan Imes, as the coach’s kid is going to follow his dad, and Imes is an Indiana native, in addition to being Braeden’s AAU teammate). The downside of course is, he’s never been a head coach at any level of hoops. PSU caught lightning in a bottle once with Shrews, but it’s certainly a gamble to try and catch it a second time.