Laying the ground work here for current Charlotte coaching search, Mike Hill and staff are extremely quiet during searches. This is truly a unique search due to the timing (thanks, Ron!), with Charlotte being the only open job in Division One hoops one, I’m prepared for more noise than normal during a Charlotte search.
Does the timing hurt Charlotte’s chances at hiring a sitting head coach? I’d be lying if I said I knew. This should really have minimal impact on the ability to hire an up-and-coming assistant or a currently unemployed candidate. When I think about the search and what I feel Charlotte needs, the first criteria I think of is experience. Since the dismissal of Bobby Lutz (no, he’s not going to be the next head coach), Charlotte has hired 3 coaches that have failed to lead the Forty-Niners program back to the NCAA Tournament. It’s a drought that now spans 18 years. Those 3 coaches all shared 1 trait, no prior head coaching experience. It’s time to fix that and hire someone that’s not learning on the job. Therefore, my focus here will be either current head coaches or free agents.
Free Agent Options
Chris Mack, formerly at Louisville and Xavier
Mack is certainly a familiar name to Niner fans after the battles during Charlotte’s tenure in the Atlantic 10. This gives Mack a pretty good idea of Charlotte’s facilities, and what the environment here can be when the program is experiencing more success. He was fired from Lousiville during the 2021-22 season and settled his $12 million buyout for $4.8 million over three years. This could be favorable to Charlotte to get Mack at a discount initially and then terms could be renegotiated after 2 years or so.
Mack’s career record is 278-133 (.676), which includes 9 NCAA trips, where his teams won at least 1 game all but 2 times.
Chris Mack is my imaginary first call as AD.
Mark Turgeon, formerly at Maryland, Texas A&M, Wichita State and Jacksonville State
Turgeon has won everywhere he’s been, has 10 NCAA trips and 3 NIT appearances under his belt. During the course of his coaching career he’s amassed a 479-275 (.635) record. He was relieved of his duties during the 2021-22 season from Maryland after a 5-3 start to the campaign, and Maryland officials stated it was a mutual parting. The Terps honored terms of the agreement and paid a $5 million buyout to Turgeon.
Turgeon’s lack of tournament success was ultimately his undoing at Maryland, reaching only 1 Sweet Sixteen in his decade or so leading the program.
I think it’s safe to say his winning experience would align to what Charlotte needs while they jump up a level in competition to the American Athletic Conference.
Gregg Marshall, formerly of Wichita State and Winthrop
We’ll start out with the easy stuff here, the guy wins, a lot. I also have to mention that while he was at Winthrop he called Charlotte his “dream job”. My memory isn’t sharp enough to recall the circumstances, so if you of you Niner diehards can recall that, let me know.
His all-time record is 525-204 (.720). Nothing else needs to be said about that.
Now for the bad. After an internal investigation, Marshall resigned from the Shockers in November 2020, and received a $7.75 million settlement. He’s not coached since this occurred. Marshall was accused of verbal and physical abuse, in which Marshall replied with “In response to the allegations put forward in the media, I simply state unequivocally that I have never physically struck a player or colleague. Allegations claiming otherwise are false” (source).
There’s much to unpack with Marshall, and I have to believe if he still wants to coach, someone will ultimately give him a chance. Could it be Charlotte?
One more name here, though it doesn’t fit the “free agent” classification is Mike Brey, Notre Dame’s former head coach. He was rumored to be South Florida’s next head coach, but clearly that didn’t happen. He’s currently slated to be an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks next year. Seems a long shot, but never tell me the odds.
Active Head Coaching Options
Bart Lundy, Milwaukee
While I’m not sure the terms of his buyout, Lundy is making $350k annually on a 5 year deal, and he’s completed his first season with the Panthers. Lundy went 22-12 this year, with Charlotte ending their season in the 2nd round of the CBI. Lundy was previously at Queens and absolutely crushed it there, leading them to Division One hoops scene before jumping to Milwaukee. He was at High Point before that, and had a successful stint at Queens before then. He boasts a 455-201 (.694) record as a head coach. No buyout terms are listed anywhere.
Mark Byington, James Madison University
Byington’s style of play is a 180° change from Sanchez, ranking as the 38th highest adjusted tempo last season. The Dukes went 22-11 last year (12-6 in the Sun Belt). His career record is 188-133 (.586). His contract was a 6 year deal, with $375k in base + $75k in supplemental pay. It does not appear that he’s landed an extension at this point, so he’s now operating with 3 years remaining on his deal. No buyout terms are listed anywhere.
Takayo Siddle UNC Wilmington
Siddle as won 49 games over the past 2 seasons for the Seahawks, which includes a CBI championship in 2021-22. He’s now under contract, thanks to earning 2 extensions already, through the 2027-28 season, where he will earn $300k base + $200k supplemental annually. No buyout terms are listed anywhere.
Bob Richey Furman
Richey is a hot name after Furman’s run to the Round of 32 this past season, but he was pretty impressive and on Charlotte fans radar prior to the run. In his time with the Paladins he’s 139-55 (.716) and never finished worse than a tie for 3rd in conference. Richey and Furman agreed to an extension after this past season, though no details have been made public.
ADDED TO ORIGINAL LIST BECAUSE HOOP DIRT ARTICLE
Josh Schertz, Indiana State
Another coach that lead his team to the CBI this past season, losing in the Quarterfinals. He lead Indiana State to a 23-13 record this year (his second with the Sycamores). That was a 12-win improvement, which is certainly an great sign (still wouldn’t hurt to have more data at this level on him), but what persuaded me is his D2 success at Lincoln Memorial. During his time with the Railsplitters, his teams went 337-69 (that’s not a typo). His total compensation is $300k, though his buyout is 50% of his base salary ($248k). $124k is likely the lowest buyout of all options I’ve listed for a sitting head coach.
There are some younger head coach names to mention here, but personally, I think they need more of a track record (can they sustain any success? Post back-to-back good seasons?): Jordan Mincy (Jacksonville), Justin Gray (Western Carolina) and Mike Morrell (UNC Asheville)
While this is clearly a list based on names in my head, I’m sure I missed some good options! Hit me with those you feel I missed/overlooked on Twitter!