Second season sometimes a difficult one for Dayton coaches

Three of last four UD coaches have lost more games in second season

Anthony Grant began his second season as Dayton Flyers head coach on Wednesday with the goal of returning the program to contention in the Atlantic 10 Conference and competing for a NCAA tournament bid. That’s the goal every season, he has said multiple times since being hired in 2017.

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While Dayton has a chance to do that — or at least improve on last season — three of the last four Dayton coaches have taken a step back in their second season. Here’s a look at how Grant’s second team compares to the second teams of Jim O’Brien, Oliver Purnell, Brian Gregory and Archie Miller:

Grant (2018-19)

Previous record: 14-17

Returning starters (4): Josh Cunningham, Trey Landers, Jalen Crutcher and Jordan Davis.

Top player: Cunningham averaged 15.6 points per game as a redshirt junior.

Final record: To be determined. Dayton opened the season with a 78-70 victory against North Florida.

Miller (2012-13)

Previous record: 20-13

Returning starters (3): Josh Benson, Kevin Dillard and Devin Oliver.

Top player: Dillard averaged 15.3 points and 4.5 assists as a senior.

Season summary: Dayton, featuring six players who would play key roles for the Elite Eight team a year later, finished 17-14 and slipped from 9-7 in the A-10 to 7-9. The Flyers were 1-7 in A-10 road games. The team lost six games by two points or fewer.

» NORTH FLORIDA GAME: Five takeaways | Photos | Cunningham out |Notes

Gregory (2004-05)

Previous record: 24-9.

Returning starters (2): Mark Jones and Marques Bennett.

Top player: Monty Scott averaged 11.1 points and 4.6 rebounds as a sophomore.

Season summary: The loss of seniors Ramod Marshall, Keith Waleskowski and Sean Finn, three double-digit scorers the previous year, was too much for a young Dayton team to overcome. Gregory's second team finished 18-11 and fell from a 12-4 mark in A-10 play to 10-6. Two of the team's top-three scorers were freshmen: Brian Roberts (9.2 points per game) and Norman Plummer (9.1).

Purnell (1995-96)

Previous record: 7-20.

Returning starters (3): Ryan Perryman, Chris Daniels, Darnell Hahn and Jeffrey Brookins.

Top player: Perryman averaged 13.4 points and 9.3 rebounds.

Season summary: Dayton ended a streak of four straight losing seasons with a 15-14 mark and went from 0-12 in its last season in the Great Midwest Conference to 6-10 in its first season in the A-10. The program would suffer losing seasons in two of the next three seasons under Purnell before finding consistency in 1999-2000 with the first of five straight 20-win seasons.

O’Brien, 1990-91

Previous record: 22-10.

Returning starters (2): Alex Robertson and Wes Coffee.

Top player: Chip Jones averaged 20.2 points and 5.6 rebounds as a junior.

Season summary: Dayton fell to 14-15 overall and from 10-4 to 8-6 in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in O'Brien's second season. His first team had three double-digit senior scorers (Negele Knight, Anthony Corbitt and Noland Robinson) and won the MCC tournament and one game in the NCAA tournament.

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