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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, June 21, 2024

Moments ‘til Madness: Best hires from the coaching carousel

My top moves of the offseason as of right now.

"Moments 'Til Madness " Column Graphic
Graphic by Gretta Goorno

Now that we are a couple of weeks out from the national championship game, the offseason is in full swing and the coaching carousel has almost completed its course. We already had what is most likely the biggest storyline of the summer with the University of Kentucky and John Calipari mutually parting ways, and the program hiring former Brigham Young University head coach Mark Pope to fill the role. We had other big high-major coaching changes like Pat Kelsey to the University of Louisville and Dusty May to the University of Michigan. Here are my favorite moves from the carousel as of now.

Kyle Smith to Stanford University

During Jerod Haase’s eight years at Stanford, the Cardinals had just one season over .500 in Pac-12 play with no NCAA Tournament appearances. Their new Head Coach Kyle Smith has already turned around another team in the conference, Washington State University, earning a No. 7 seed in March Madness last season to end the school’s 16-year absence from the NCAA Tournament. Although Stanford will be joining the ACC Conference next season, it won’t be too far of a step up for the team, and Smith has shown his ability to win conference games. While it will take some adjusting, I think this new era for the Cardinals could be a good one.

Chris Holtmann to DePaul University

It’s hard to find a year where the Blue Demons weren’t in either dead last or second to last in the Big East. After a very forgettable three years of Tony Stubblefield, the Holtmann hire feels like a move in the right direction for DePaul. Not only does he have experience coaching in the Big East, but during his time at Butler University, he made the tournament in all three of his years as head coach. This would eventually lead to his move to Ohio State University, where he made four tournament appearances. Holtmann still has his work cut out for him, with DePaul being easily the hardest job in the conference, but his track record speaks for itself.

Darian DeVries to West Virginia University

Most know about the Bob Huggins fiasco that led to West Virginia losing their Hall of Fame head coach. With this hire, I think Mountaineers fans should be very happy. DeVries turned an almost unheard of Drake University into a regular in March Madness in his last four years at the school. It’s hard to argue with 20 or more wins for six straight seasons and three tournament appearances. Following a brutal 9–23 season, West Virginia should be back in good hands with DeVries.

Jake Diebler to the Ohio State University

Firing Chris Holtmann on Feb. 14, Deibler took on the interim head coaching role and fully exceeded expectations. Starting his tenure with an absurd win against Purdue University, the No. 2 team in the country at the time, he led the Buckeyes to a 5–2 record for the remainder of the season. Ohio State is one of the sport’s biggest jobs, and it says something that Deibler was able to win the position with all the high-profile candidates to whom it could’ve been given. Being that he’s shown he can win and has full confidence from the athletic department, I have lots of faith in this hire by the Buckeyes.

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