The college basketball coaching carousel has been nuts. Here’s what you might have missed.

The college basketball coaching carousel has been spinning at a dizzying rate this spring. Look away for a day or two, and you likely missed something big.

And the biggest coaching change of the offseason could be imminent.

Kentucky’s John Calipari is in talks with Arkansas to become the next head coach of the Razorbacks, and a deal could be finalized as soon as Monday.

Meanwhile, there’s already been plenty of movement elsewhere. Several high-profile programs have had vacancies, two of Calipari’s most trusted lieutenants of the recent past — Kenny Payne and DeWayne Peevy — have been affected by the chaos, three in-state schools have already had to look for new coaches, and others with UK connections have been in the news.

There are still a few dominoes left to fall, obviously, but here’s a look at what’s happened so far, with a breakdown of every major-conference move and some other changes of local interest.


Last offseason was a fairly calm one in Kentucky’s conference, with ex-Texas coach Chris Beard replacing Kermit Davis at Ole Miss counting as the only coaching change in the league. The SEC will have at least two new head coaches among its existing schools next season, and it’s worth a reminder that Oklahoma and Texas — coached by Porter Moser and Rodney Terry, respectively — will also enter the league for the 2024-25 campaign.

Arkansas: Eric Musselman bolted Fayetteville for Southern Cal last week after five seasons, including two Elite Eight appearances and another trip to the Sweet 16 in the three NCAA tournaments preceding this year’s flop (a 16-17 record and 6-12 SEC mark after being picked to finish third in the league). Anyone surprised by the move might not be familiar with Musselman’s history of job-hopping. The five-season stay at Arkansas marks his longest in one place since he was a coach in the now-defunct CBA nearly three decades ago, and you’d need a third hand to count up all of his coaching stops since 2000.

Ole Miss’ Chris Beard and Kansas State’s Jerome Tang were immediately tied to the Razorbacks job, but neither will be the hire. The Herald-Leader was told Sunday — and several national outlets have reported — that there has been a push by some powerful people close to the Arkansas program to hire John Calipari, who is due to make $44.5 million over the next five years at Kentucky, another strange twist to this UK basketball offseason.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores cut ties with Jerry Stackhouse after five seasons and a disappointing 2023-24 campaign that ended with a 4-14 SEC mark, good enough for 13th in the league. Vandy hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game in 12 years, and the school has picked Mark Byington — previously the head coach at James Madison — to turn that around. Byington, 47, spent the last four seasons with the Dukes, leading the program to its first NCAA Tournament win in 41 years with an upset of Wisconsin last month.

Pat Kelsey was introduced as the new head coach of the Louisville men’s basketball team on March 28.
Pat Kelsey was introduced as the new head coach of the Louisville men’s basketball team on March 28.


The ACC will add three new teams for the 2024-25 season — California, SMU and Stanford — and two of those programs will have new head coaches.

Louisville: The Kenny Payne era lasted only two seasons, with the longtime UK assistant coach gone after a dismal tenure: a 12-52 overall record and 5-35 mark in league play. U of L hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game in seven years, and the Cards are looking to turn the page on several seasons of controversy and futility with the hire of Pat Kelsey, who comes to Louisville after spending the past three seasons at Charleston and the nine before that as Winthrop’s head coach. Kelsey, 48, has already energized the Cardinals’ fan base, and he’s won league titles in six of his past nine seasons as a head coach, including taking Charleston to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two years. Kelsey will earn $2.3 million per season over the next five years, with various performance-based bonuses also on the table.

SMU: The opening for Eric Musselman to head to USC was there because Trojans head coach Andy Enfield left the program for Dallas, where he’ll lead SMU into the ACC this season. Enfield, 54, rose to college basketball fame while coaching the “Dunk City” Florida Gulf Coast team in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and parlayed that into 11 seasons at USC, which made five NCAA tournaments (and one Elite Eight) in his tenure. The Trojans went 15-18 this past season — with Bronny James on the team — and Enfield will take over an SMU program that hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 1988.

Stanford: The Cardinal wade into a new league following years of mediocrity in the Pac-12, where departing coach Jerod Haase didn’t make March Madness in any of his eight seasons in charge. Kyle Smith, 54, got this job — bolting former league rival Washington State, which was left without a spot in a major conference following all of the recent league realignment around the country. Smith led the Cougars to their first NCAA Tournament in 16 years this past season.

Big East

There’s been just one opening in the Big East so far this spring, and the man in charge of filling that job was DeWayne Peevy, the former associate athletics director at UK and now the AD at DePaul.

DePaul: Peevy’s first hire did not go well, with longtime Oregon assistant Tony Stubblefield amassing a 28-54 record before being fired during the 2023-24 season. (DePaul ended up going 3-29 with an 0-20 mark in the Big East). His replacement: central Kentucky native Chris Holtmann, who was let go by Ohio State during the season but went to seven consecutive NCAA tournaments with Butler and OSU before hitting hard times the past couple of years. Holtmann, 52, will have a tough task. DePaul has won just one NCAA Tournament game in the past 35 years.

Big Ten

The 2024-25 season will bring a new-look Big Ten, with one third of the Pac-12 joining the conference. Oregon, Southern Cal, UCLA and Washington will all enter the league this year, and two of those schools will have new head coaches.

Michigan: Famous alum Juwan Howard was let go after five tumultuous seasons — and one Elite Eight appearance — and the new man in charge will be Dusty May, one of the hottest names in college basketball coaching circles after leading Florida Atlantic to the Final Four last year. May, 47, spent several years as an assistant at Louisiana Tech and Florida under Mike White before getting his first head coaching opportunity at FAU, where he had a winning record in all six seasons, including a 60-13 mark over the past two years. Michigan finished last in the Big Ten with a 3-17 league record this past season. May was closely linked to the Louisville job before going with the Wolverines instead.

Ohio State: After severing ties with Chris Holtmann, the Buckeyes decided to stick with interim head coach Jake Diebler, who was an assistant under Holtmann for five seasons. Diebler, 37, has never held a head coaching position, though he led OSU to an 8-3 record with a 5-1 mark in Big Ten regular-season play and a trip to the NIT quarterfinals after taking over the program toward the end of the 2023-24 season.

Southern Cal: The Trojans should make a splash in the Big Ten with the addition of Eric Musselman, who spent much of his coaching career out west before bringing Arkansas back to national prominence over the past few seasons. Musselman, 59, is a proven recruiter who gets results on the court, so expect USC to be a player in its new league moving forward.

Washington: The Mike Hopkins era didn’t go as planned, with Jim Boeheim’s longtime assistant at Syracuse making just one NCAA Tournament in seven seasons at the helm. Enter Danny Sprinkle, a Washington native who took alma mater Montana State to two NCAA tournaments before getting Utah State to the round of 32 this past season, his first year at that school. Sprinkle, 47, takes over a program that has some historic success but has made just one NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 13 years.

Big 12

The Big 12 will lose Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC this offseason, but the league adds Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah from the Pac-12. (Arizona and Colorado finished first and third, respectively, in the Pac-12 this past season.)

Oklahoma State: Mike Boynton is out after seven seasons (and he’s already joined Dusty May’s staff at Michigan). The Boynton era will be best remembered by UK fans due to his hiring of Cade Cunningham’s brother as an assistant coach, swaying the future No. 1 NBA draft pick to Stillwater instead of a possible one-year stay in Lexington, where Cunningham might’ve been able to change the trajectory of UK’s ill-fated, 9-16 squad of the 2020-21 season. Boynton’s replacement is Steve Lutz, 51, who went 22-12 in his one season at Western Kentucky, returning the Hilltoppers to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years. Oklahoma State has been to six Final Fours, but only two of those happened after 1951, and the Cowboys have just one NCAA Tournament win in the past 15 years.

West Virginia: Bob Huggins and WVU parted ways after his offseason arrest last year, and he was replaced by interim head coach Josh Eilert, who went 9-23 with a 4-14 record in the Big 12. The new coach is Darian DeVries, 48, who was an assistant at Creighton for 17 years before getting his first head coaching opportunity at Drake, where spent the past six seasons, leading the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two years. Huggins led WVU to 11 NCAA tournaments in 16 seasons, including five Sweet 16 appearances and one Final Four.

Preston Spradlin had a 140-109 record at Morehead State, leading the Eagles to two NCAA Tournament appearances over the past four seasons.
Preston Spradlin had a 140-109 record at Morehead State, leading the Eagles to two NCAA Tournament appearances over the past four seasons.

Other coaching moves

Several mid-major programs have been involved with offseason coaching changes that feature local angles.

Charleston: To replace Pat Kelsey as its head coach, Charleston turned to the man who preceded Kenny Payne at Louisville — hiring Chris Mack for the vacancy. Mack, 54, never won an NCAA Tournament game in four years at U of L, but his 2019-20 team was projected as a 4 seed before that season’s March Madness was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he made the tournament in eight of his nine seasons at Xavier, advancing to four Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight there.

James Madison: Former Morehead State coach Preston Spradlin was picked to replace new Vanderbilt head coach Mark Byington at James Madison. Spradlin, 37, is a former UK basketball staffer who led the Eagles to two NCAA tournaments and one NIT appearance over the past four years. Spradlin signed a six-year contract with his new school.

Marshall: Dan D’Antoni, who turns 77 years old this summer, is out after a decade at his alma mater. His replacement is Cornelius Jackson, another former Marshall basketball player who spent the previous seven seasons on D’Antoni’s staff. Jackson, 46, will be a first-time head coach. Marshall has just one NCAA Tournament appearance in the past 37 years.

Missouri State: A familiar name returns to this program: Cuonzo Martin, who coached Missouri State from 2008 to 2011, returns to the school, which has not been to an NCAA Tournament in 25 years. Martin is best known to Kentucky fans for his two stints in the SEC, coaching both Tennessee (2011-14) and Missouri (2017-22). Martin, 52, went to three NCAA tournaments in his eight total seasons with those two programs.

Morehead State: As Spradlin’s replacement, the Eagles turned to a familiar face: Jonathan Mattox, who spent nine seasons in various capacities with the program. Mattox was Morehead’s associate head coach for the 2021-22 season before spending the past two years as an assistant at Murray State. This will be his first head coaching position.

Saint Louis: Former UK point guard Travis Ford was let go by the Billikens following his first losing season in seven years. Ford, 54, spent eight seasons at Saint Louis but made just one NCAA Tournament appearance. Before that, Ford led Oklahoma State, UMass, Eastern Kentucky and Campbellsville University, and he now has 27 seasons of experience as a college head coach, spending the last 24 at the Division I level. Ford’s replacement at Saint Louis will be Josh Schertz, who spent the past three seasons at Indiana State and was a highly successful Division II coach before that. Schertz, 48, led the Sycamores to the NIT championship game this past season.

Western Kentucky: With Steve Lutz leaving for Oklahoma State after just one season in Bowling Green, the Hilltoppers hired Hank Plona, who spent this past season as a WKU assistant and was the head coach at Indian Hills Community College (Iowa) for the eight years before that. Plona, 38, had a 225–35 overall record at the junior-college school.

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