Slam Dunk MBB Coaching Hires in The East!

Buzz abounds in the Big East and A10 conferences with big name coaching hires that are both highly-accomplished and have deep connections to their new employers. Let’s take a look at each of their resumes to see who hired the best coach in each conference.

New Big East Coaches 2022-2023

Shaheen Halloway | Seton Hall

  • 45 yrs of age with 4 years HC experience
  • Last coached 2021-2022 St Peters
  • MAAC COY 2020
  • 1 MAAC tournament championship
  • 1 Elite 8 as a 15 seed (with a school that has the athletic budget of a Winnebago)
  • .529 overall record
  • 3-1 (.750) NCAA Tournament record
  • Arguably the 2nd best Seton Hall player of the 90s (behind Terry Dehere)
  • Still holds Seton Hall all-time assist record with 681

Shaheen Halloway is coming off of potentially the best cinderella run in NCAA tournament history. However, we have seen low and mid-major coaches falter at the high-major level after deep runs in the tourney before. He will have to prove that he can be a successful coach at the Big East level. Make no mistake, this was a great hire for Seton Hall but Halloway is the most unproven new coach in the Big East.

Thad Matta | Butler

  • 54 yrs. old with 17 years HC experience
  • Last coached 2016-2017 Ohio State
  • 2 Final 4s, 4 Elite 8s, 6 Sweet 16s
  • 15x conference champion (Horizon, A10, B1G)
  • 5x conference COY (Horizon, A10, B1G)
  • .740 overall record
  • 24-13 (.650) NCAA tournament record
  • 2 year starter for Butler as a player
  • Coached Butler from 1997-2000 (assistant) and 2000-2001 (HC)

Thad Matta hasn’t coached since 2017 but if he can pick up where he left off he’ll immediately become the second best coach in the Big East (behind Jay Wright, of course). He’ll have to prove that he can adjust to todays college basketball landscape, with NIL, transfer rule, and play-style changes. It might take him a bit to shake off the rust and build Butler up from a team that hasn’t had a tourney bid since 2018. (Tbf, they would have certainly made the field in 2019-2020 had the tourney not been cancelled). However, if he can adjust well to the transfer portal it can fast-track Butler’s title contention timeline.

Sean Miller | Xavier

  • 53 yrs. old with 17 years HC experience
  • Last coached 2020-2021 Zona
  • 4 Elite 8s, 6 Sweet 16s
  • 4x conference COY (Pac-12/A10)
  • 12x conference champ (Pac/A10)
  • .730 overall record
  • 19-11 (.630) NCAA Tournament record
  • Coached Xavier from 2001-2004 (assistant) and 2004-2009 (HC)

It is worth noting that Sean Miller still faces an individual Level I charge for lack of head coach responsibility from his last stint at Zona. He will likely serve a 9-to-15-game suspension. However, that seems like a small price to pay for Xavier to bring in their guy, the once and future king of the Musketeers!

Verdict: Thad Matta is the most accomplished and likely still the best coach of the new Big East hires. Butler made the best hire with the information they have available today.

New A10 Coaches 2022-2023

Frank Martin | UMass

  • 56 yrs old with 15 years head coaching experience
  • Last coached 2021-2022 South Carolina
  • 1 Final 4, 2 Elite 8s
  • Big 12 COY 2010
  • Jim Phelan National COY Award 2017
  • .589 overall record
  • 10-5 (.670) NCAA Tournament record

Frank Martin and UMass might seem like an odd couple (aside from Martin just being a phenomenal coach and UMass needing just such a coach). However, Martin’s wife, Anya Forrest, was a track star at the school and remains well connected there. He also served as an assistant coach at Northeastern from 2000-2004 so he is not totally unfamiliar with Mass/Northeast recruiting.

Archie Miller | URI

  • 43 years of age with 10 years HC experience
  • Last coached 2020-2021 Indiana
  • 1 Elite 8
  • A10 COY 2017
  • 2x A10 Champ
  • .650 overall record
  • 5-4 (.560) NCAA Tournament record

The younger Miller brother didn’t see much success at Indiana but was a flat out great coach at Dayton. He obviously knows the A10 well and URI is a program that can compete at the top of that league with a solid coach like Miller.

Fran Dunphy | La Salle

  • 73 years young with 29 years HC experience
  • Last coached 2018-2019 Temple
  • 4x A10 & AAC COY
  • 16 conf champs (Ivy, A10, AAC) & the Ivy League did not have a conference tournament when Dunphy coached Penn
  • .641 overall record
  • 3-16 (.160) NCAA Tournament record

Fran Dunphy is an absolute Philly hoops legend. Once he coaches his first game at La Salle he may be the first person to coach 3 of the Philly Big 5. (I haven’t done the research to see if anyone else has done this before). Dunphy has also never been past the round of 32. He does know the high schools/coaches in Philly probably better than anyone else. I will expect him to bring La Salle back to respectability but not make any deep runs in the tourney. But I am sure the Explorers will take it as they have just 1 NCAA tournament appearance since 1993.

Chris Caputo | George Washington

  • 41 years old with 0 years HC experience
  • 20 years of assistant experience under Jim Larrañaga at Miami and George Mason
  • Knows the DMV area well according to u/SDFDuck on Reddit

Caputo is an unknown quantity as a head coach at this point. He does know the DMV area from his time at Mason but he doesn’t have experience in the A10 as the Patriots were in the CAA when he was there. He is a blank slate but as we saw with Tommy Lloyd this past season previous HC experience is not necessary for immediate success. Caputo will have the opportunity to build his own program in DC.

Verdict: Frank Martin is likely the best coach of the new A10 hires. URI made the best hire with the information they have available today.