Ranking the college basketball coaches in D.C., Maryland and Virginia
Ranking the college basketball coaches in D.C., Maryland and Virginia
Between a National Championship from Tony Bennett, the long list of NCAA Tournaments from Mark Turgeon, the storied success of Jeff Jones and the several up-and-coming coaches, the Mid-Atlantic region is ripe with coaches. Bennett and Turgeon sit at the top, but what about the other 25 Division I head coaches from the District, Maryland and Virginia.
1. Tony Bennett, Virginia Cavaliers
Accolades: 2019 NCAA Championship, 3x National Coach of the Year, 2 ACC Tournament titles
Analysis: Within the tri-state region, there is no coach that can compare to what Tony Bennett has accomplished. Bennett has turned Virginia into a national powerhouse that is one of the title-contending teams year-in and year-out. It finally culminated with a national championship in 2019.
Stylistically, he employs a system that runs other teams into the ground. A suffocating defense and an older-style offense that is slow but incredibly efficient.
It will take other coaches on this list a long time to surpass Bennett, if ever.
2. Mark Turgeon, Maryland Terrapins
Accolades: 2 NCAA Sweet 16s, 2020 Big Ten Regular Season Championship, 9 NCAA Tournaments
Analysis: Mark Turgeon has a history of turning around programs. He got Wichita State back into the national conversation, was able to have success at Texas A&M, and although he had big shoes to fill, has had moderate success at Maryland.
Never making it past the Sweet 16 will prevent him from taking the next step in the coaching ranks of national prominence. But he got a monkey off his back last year with a championship, perhaps he can get another one off soon.
3. Mike Rhoades, VCU Rams
Accolades: 2019 NCAA Tournament, 2019 Atlantic 10 Regular Season Championship, 2019 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year
Analysis: While Mike Rhoades does not have the success of other coaches at the top of this list, he does though have the most potential. VCU is a mid-major powerhouse and playing in the Atlantic 10, Rhoades will have plenty of opportunity to build his resume. Just look at former VCU coaches (Shaka Smart at Texas and Will Wade at LSU).
Making the NCAA Tournament in 2019 was the first in his career, where he was also named Coach of the Year in the A-10.
4. Mike Young, Virginia Tech Hokies
Accolades: 5 NCAA Tournaments, 5 Southern Conference Tournament Championships
Analysis: For years, Mike Young and the Wofford Terriers were the class of the SoCon. Finally, he got his chance when Virginia Tech came calling before the 2019-20 season.
While he only mustered a .500 record his first year in Blacksburg, the fact that he turned a team that was expected to be one of the worst in the conference is impressive. Combine that with his history at Wofford and the Hokies are trending upward with Young.
5. Ritchie McKay, Liberty Flames
Accolades: 2 NCAA Tournaments, 2 Atlantic Sun Tournament Championships
Analysis: If you can have success at Liberty, you can have success pretty much anywhere. This past year would have been McKay's second straight into the NCAA Tournament had it not been canceled. In those two seasons, a 59-11 record - mightily impressive. It resulted in a nice long term contract to keep him with the Flames for most of the 2020 decade.
McKay, at 55, likely could be the target of several top tier mid-major programs for the next couple of seasons.
6. Jeff Jones, Old Dominion Monarchs
Accolades: 1995 NCAA Elite Eight, 3 conference tournament titles, 8 NCAA Tournaments
Analysis: Everywhere Jeff Jones has landed, he's had success. Promoted to head coach of his alma mater, Virginia, in the early 1990s, he had them reaching the Elite Eight as well the NCAA Tournament multiple times. After resigning, he was able to have success at American and repeated it at Old Dominion. Every stop though, he's run into a speedbump and can't maintain postseason runs.
7. Chris Mooney, Richmond Spiders
Accolades: 2011 NCAA Sweet 16, 2011 Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship, 2 NCAA Tournaments
Analysis: Within four years of getting the job at Richmond, Mooney had vaulted the Spider program back into the NCAA Tournament conversation. However, after such a quick ascent, the team has not been able to be a consistent threat to make the Big Dance since. Fans have been clamoring for answers for years, yet they're a lock to finish in the top half of the A-10 every season.
8. Patrick Ewing, Georgetown Hoyas
Accolades: 2019 NIT Appearance, 49–46 record in 3 seasons
Analysis: Patrick Ewing is still relatively new to the coaching ranks. Georgetown is his lone stop thus far and he's only three years in with the Hoyas. While he is still learning - five transfers last season - he's in a good spot where he will be able to build a program with a long leash from the administration. Despite all the craziness within the program, the team still has a solid record throughout his tenure.
9. Dave Paulsen, George Mason Patriots
Accolades: 2 NCAA Tournament, 2 Patriot League Tournament Championships, 2 NIT Appearances
Analysis: At Bucknell, Dave Paulsen thrived in the Patriot League, making the postseason four out of his seven seasons. Since he came to Mason and the Atlantic 10, he has not been fortunate. The best the team has done is making the CBI back in 2017.
Coaches 10 & 11
10. Jamion Christian, George Washington Colonials
2 NCAA Tournaments, 2 NEC Tournament Championships
As a young, up-and-coming coach, Christian is drawing attention around the country. Everywhere he goes it does not take long to turn around a program.
11. Mike Jones, Radford Highlanders
2018 Big South Tournament Championship, 2018 NCAA Tournament
Jones finally inherited his own program in 2011. It took some time to build, but he now has three straight Big South titles.
Coaches 12 & 13
12. Ryan Odom, UMBC Retrievers
2018 A-East Tournament Championship, 2018 NCAA Tournament
Odom will always be known for leading the Retrievers to their historic No. 16 over No. 1 upset in 2018. Many are just waiting to see where he lands next.
13. Mark Byington, James Madison Dukes
4 20+ win seasons, 2017 CBI Tournament
Byington was a long-term assistant that finally got his chance. At Georgia Southern, the Eagles emerged into a consistent threat. Now, he starts anew at JMU.
Coaches 14 & 15
14. Pat Skerry, Towson Tigers
3 20+ win seasons, 2014 CIT Quarterfinals
Towson is the only D1 school Skerry has led. When he first took the job, he spearheaded one of the biggest turnarounds in the sport - took a 1-31 team and gave them an 18-13 record the next year.
15. Ed DeChellis, Navy Midshipmen
2 NCAA Tournaments, 2009 NIT Championship
DeChellis' departure from his alma mater Penn State to take control of Navy is still an odd one. Navy is one of the hardest places to recruit and coach as evidenced by his tenure.
16. Edward Joyner, Hampton Pirates
3 NCAA Tournaments
After guiding Hampton to 3 MEAC titles, the school takes a step forward in the Big South.
17. Robert Jones, Norfolk State Spartans
2019 NIT Second Round
Norfolk State has been a top-four team in the MEAC in Jones' tenure.
18. Dane Fischer, William & Mary Tribe
20+ win season in his first year
Fischer replaced a legend in Tony Shaver and coached to a 21-11 record in his first season as head coach.
19. Mike Brennan, American Eagles
2014 NCAA Tournament
20. Kevin Broadus, Morgan State Bears
2009 NCAA Tournament
21. Tavaras Hardy, Loyola (MD) Greyhounds
26–38 record in two seasons
22. Griff Aldrich, Longwood Lancers
30–36 record in two seasons
23. Dan Earl, VMI Keydets
44–111 record in five seasons
24. Dan Engelstad, Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers
20–43 record in two seasons
25. Juan Dixon, Coppin State Eagles
24–72 record in three seasons
26. Jason Crafton, Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks
5–27 record in his first season
27. Kenny Blakeney, Howard Bison
2–20 record in his first season