The coaching carousel left a major impact on Atlantic 10 Conference men’s basketball this spring — seemingly for the good, though time will tell.
Three coaches with 1,074 victories between them — Fran Dunphy, Frank Martin and Archie Miller — took over A-10 programs as did three rookie head coaches. Davidson elevated Matt McKillop to the head coaching job Friday when Bob McKillop stepped down after 33 seasons.
Five months before the start of the 2022-23 season and seventh months before the start of conference play, the A-10 looks to be on the rise after dropping from ninth to 10th in the KenPom.com conference rankings this past season.
Dayton is an early pick to be in the top 25 when the 2022-23 season begins. Defending regular-season champion Davidson should be strong again. Saint Louis and Virginia Commonwealth have proven to be consistent winners and should contend again. If the new coaches can elevate programs that have struggled to compete in recent years, the A-10 won’t flirt with being a one-bid league when it comes to NCAA tournament berths. It hasn’t been that since 2005 but has almost been that the last two seasons.
Here’s a look at the list of A-10 coaches, ranked by how long they’ve been at their current school. The number counts the upcoming 2022-23 season.
1. Chris Mooney, Richmond (18th season, 312-244): Three years after a “Fire Mooney” billboard appeared in Richmond, he coached a veteran team to a surprising A-10 tournament championship. The No. 6 seed Spiders won four games in four days and beat Davidson in the championship game to earn their third NCAA tournament appearance under Mooney, 49, and first since 2011. With McKillop’s retirement, Mooney now has the longest tenure of any current A-10 head coach.
2. Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure (16th season, 268-195): Despite returning its entire starting lineup, St. Bonaventure couldn’t build on its A-10 regular-season and tournament titles in 2021. Nevertheless, Schmidt, 59, has built one of the most consistent programs in the A-10 with nine straight winning seasons and three NCAA appearances in the last 11 years.
3. Travis Ford, Saint Louis (seventh season, 112-77): The Billikens have finished in the top six in the standings the last five seasons but have not finished higher than fourth in Ford’s tenure. They earned their only NCAA berth in the last six seasons by winning the A-10 tournament in 2019.
Credit: David Jablonski
Credit: David Jablonski
T-4. Anthony Grant, Dayton (sixth season, 102-52): Dayton has been up and down in the A-10 standings in Grant’s first five seasons: ninth; third; first; seventh; and second. No current coach in the league has produced a better team than Grant’s 2019-20 group, which finished 18-0 in the conference. That team would have played in the NCAA tournament, possibly as a No. 1 seed, if not for the pandemic.
Grant, 55, is poised to have another strong team in the coming season. His sixth team returns five starters and seven of its top eight scorers and should be the preseason favorite. Grant’s overall record, with stops at VCU, Alabama and Dayton, is 295-162. The .646 career winning percentage is the best in the league among coaches with more than one season on the job.
T-4. Mike Rhoades, Virginia Commonwealth (sixth season, 102-53): Rhoades, 49, entered the A-10 in the 2017-18 season like Grant and has almost the same overall record. In A-10 play, Grant has a slight edge. He’s 62-26, and Rhoades is 57-29. Rhoades has led VCU to two NCAA berths. Neither Grant or Rhoades has won the A-10 tournament. Each coach has won one regular-season championship.
Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer
T-4. Keith Dambrot, Duquesne (sixth season, 71-71): Dambrot, 63, got off to a good start by improving Duquesne’s win total in each of his first three seasons, culminating in a 21-9 record in 2019-20. The Dukes slipped to 6-24 this past season and finished last in the A-10 with a 1-16 mark, their worst record ever in A-10 play.
7. Billy Lange, Saint Joseph’s (fourth season, 22-60): Saint Joseph’s reached the NCAA tournament seven times in Phil Martelli’s 24 seasons but has struggled to win under Lange, 50, finishing in the bottom three in the A-10 in his first three seasons.
T-8. Drew Valentine, Loyola Chicago (second season, 25-8): Loyola will join the A-10 in the 2022-23 season after making the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row and third time in the last five years. Valentine, 30, is the youngest coach in the A-10. He took over after four seasons on Porter Moser’s staff when Moser left for Oklahoma.
T-8. Kim English, George Mason (second season, 14-16): George Mason lost nine of its last 12 games in English’s first season and finished ninth after finishing sixth in Dave Paulsen’s final season. English, 33, was the youngest coach in the league last season.
T-10. Frank Martin, Massachusetts (first season): Martin, 56, is Grant’s former high school teammate, and they have been good friends since their days at Miami Senior High School. Martin will be the only coach in the league who has coached in the Final Four. He led South Carolina to the national semifinals in 2017. He lost his job at South Carolina after not making the tournament the last five seasons and now takes over a program that has played in the tournament once in the last 24 seasons. Martin has a career record of 288-201.
T-10. Fran Dunphy, La Salle (first season): The oldest coach in the league, Dunphy, 73, has not coached since the 2018-19 season when he stepped down at Temple. He led that program to the NCAA tournament that season and eight times in 13 seasons. La Salle did not finish higher than ninth in Ashley Howard’s four seasons. Dunphy has the second-best career winning percentage in the league with a career record of 580-325 (.641).
T-10. Archie Miller, Rhode Island (first season): The former Dayton coach won two A-10 regular-season championships in six seasons and earned four NCAA berths in his last four seasons at UD but did not approach that level of success in four seasons at Indiana. Miller, 43, takes over a program that did not make the NCAA tournament in David Cox’s four seasons.
T-10. Chris Caputo, George Washington (first season): Caputo, 41, has been the associate head coach at Miami, under Jim Larranaga, since 2015. George Washington has suffered five straight losing seasons and has not played in the NCAA tournament since 2014.
T-10. Keith Urgo, Fordham (first season): Kyle Neptune, 37, guided Fordham to a 16-16 record and an eighth-place finish, its best spot in the standings since it finished eighth in 2010, last season. Fordham finished last three times in the previous four seasons. Neptune took the head coaching job at Villanova in April, and Fordham hired Urgo, one of Neptune’s assistant coaches. Urgo, 42, spent 10 years as assistant coach at Penn State University and five years as an assistant at Villanova before joining Neptune’s staff.
T-10. Matt McKillop Davidson (first season): Matt, 39, replaces his dad, Bob McKillop, who had a record of 634-380 in 33 seasons. Matt played for his dad from 2002-06 and has been on his dad’s coaching staff since 2008. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2016.
Bob, 71, did not lose any steam at the end of his career. Davidson finished 27-7 last season and won the A-10 regular-season championship with a 15-3 mark. Bob guided the program to the NCAA tournament three times in eight seasons since joining the A-10. Davidson played in the NCAA tournament eight times in 22 seasons in the Southern Conference.
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