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Andy Wittry | | July 11, 2018

12 college basketball coaching hires you may have missed

There were more than 50 college basketball head coaches hired this offseason. Between the excitement of Loyola's Final Four run, Villanova's second title in three years, the 2018 NBA Draft and this year's freshman class arriving on campuses across the country, there's a good chance a few of the hires got lost in the shuffle.

Here are 12 coaching hires that you may have missed.

Tom Crean, Georgia

  Tom Crean takes over as the head coach at Georgia after a year with ESPN.
Career head coaching record: 356-231 (.606)

Previous stops: Indiana (2008-17), Marquette (1999-2008)

Why it's significant: After spending a year doing color commentary and studio analysis for ESPN, Crean is back on the sidelines. He takes over a Bulldogs program that went 18-15 last season in a Southeastern Conference that sent eight teams to the NCAA tournament. Kirby Smart has overseen Georgia football's return to prominence and Crean, the owner of three regular season championships and nine NCAA tournament appearances, hopes to do the same on the hardwood.

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The Bulldogs have made the NCAA tournament just twice in the last decade and they haven't won a game there since 1996 (their participation in the 2002 NCAA tournament was vacated). Crean turned around Indiana's fortunes in the years following his arrival – from six wins in his first season in 2009 to 29 victories and a No. 1 seed in 2013 – and now he's tasked with leading the Bulldogs on a similar trajectory.

Chris Mack, Louisville

  Chris Mack led Xavier to a Big East regular season title and No. 1 seed last season.
Career head coaching record: 215-97 (.689)

Previous stops: Xavier (2009-18)

Why it's significant: Mack led Xavier to eight NCAA tournament appearances in nine years as the school's head coach. In his final season in Cincinnati, he led the Musketeers to an outright Big East regular season title and the program's first-ever No. 1 seed but he still left his hometown and alma mater for Louisville, which tells you where the Cardinals' program stands nationally and the opportunity Mack believes he has two hours southwest of Cincinnati.

The ACC's roster of accomplished coaches, which includes an upper echelon of national-title winners Coach K, Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim, as well as Tony Bennett, Mike Brey, Jim Larranaga and Buzz Williams, is even stronger with the addition of Mack.

Dan Hurley, UConn

  Dan Hurley led URI to an A-10 regular season or conference tournament title in the last two seasons.
Career head coaching record: 151-105 (.590)

Previous stops: Rhode Island (2012-18), Wagner (2010-12)

Why it's significant: In the four-year span from 2011 to 2014, UConn won 104 games and two national championships. In the four years since the Huskies' title in '14, they're 75-61 with just one NCAA tournament appearance as they've slipped below .500 in each of the last two seasons. While not mentioned among the traditional blueblood basketball schools, UConn has had just as much success as almost any program nationally in the last 20 years with four national titles since 1999.

Dan Hurley offers a chance to the Huskies to hit the reset button and try to regain their footing as a program after he led Rhode Island to 51 wins, both a regular season and conference tournament title, and two NCAA tournament appearances in the last two years.

Penny Hardaway, Memphis

  Penny Hardaway returns to his alma mater to coach the Memphis Tigers beginning in the 2018-19 season.

Career head coaching record: N/A

Previous stops: N/A

Why it's significant: Hardaway is a Memphis legend, a two-time Great Midwest Conference Player of the Year who averaged 20 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in his two-year college career. The 14-year NBA veteran was a four-time All-Star after being selected No. 3 overall in the 1993 NBA Draft.

After four years in a row of Memphis missing the NCAA tournament and the school now moving to its third head coach since the start of the 2016 season, Hardaway represents – if nothing else – hope. It's the homecoming of a Tigers legend in a move that's akin to St. John's hiring Chris Mullin or Georgetown hiring Patrick Ewing, except that the 46-year-old Hardaway is almost a decade younger and he's had recent success as a high school and AAU coach.

Jeff Capel III, Pittsburgh

  Jeff Capel stays within the ACC as he moved from Duke associated head coach to Pitt head coach.

Career head coaching record: 175-110 (.614)

Previous stops: Oklahoma (2006-11), VCU (2002-06)

Why it's significant: Capel, Coach K's righthand man at Duke for the last seven years, makes the jump back to the head coaching ranks after stops at VCU and Oklahoma, and he does so within the ACC. Capel played a major role in the Blue Devils consistently enrolling some of the most talented freshman classese in the country. With his previous head coaching experience and recruiting acumen, can he return Pitt to its prominence of early-to-mid 2000s, when the Panthers made 10 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances?

Pitt was winless in the ACC last season and went just 8-24 on the season but Jamie Dixon and Ben Howland before him proved that the Panthers can consistently earn a top-four seed in the tournament and crack the top 10 of the AP poll.

RELATED: South Carolina's Martin, Pitt's Capel give back to community

Travis Steele, Xavier

  Travis Steele could be the next successful Xavier head coach who was promoted from an assistant.

Career head coaching record: N/A

Previous stops: N/A

Why it's significant: In the last 40 years, Xavier has excelled at identifying and hiring future successful head coaches, even if they haven't held such a position at the DI level previously. The aforementioned Chris Mack, Steele's predecessor, hadn't been a head coach before Xavier hired him in 2009. Neither had Sean Miller when he was hired in 2004. Both coaches, who it should be noted were – like Steele – also internal candidates with experience as Musketeer assistants, took Xavier to the NCAA tournament on nearly an annual basis, won conference titles and made an Elite Eight.

Can Steele, who has spent 10 years on Xavier's bench and the last three as the team's associate head coach, continue the program's strong track record of coaching hires?

RELATED: Wisconsin-Xavier among the best challenge matchups next season

  Kermit Davis took Middle Tennessee to the NCAA tournament three times in the last six years.

Kermit Davis, Ole Miss

Career head coaching record: 403-238 (.629)

Previous stops: Middle Tennessee (2002-18), Idaho (1988-90, 1996-97), Texas A&M (1990-91)

Why it's significant: After 20 years as a Division I head coach, Kermit Davis finally takes a crack at coaching at the high-major level. He has coached in the Big Sky, Southwest Conference, Big West, Sun Belt and Conference USA, winning eight regular season championships and four conference tournament titles, while making it to the NCAA tournament five times.

If your bracket got busted in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament, there's a good chance Davis is partly to blame. Remember when No. 15 seed Middle Tennessee upset No. 2 seed Michigan State 90-81? The Blue Raiders then made it back to the Big Dance the following year and took out another lower-seeded Big Ten team – No. 5 seed Minnesota. Davis has proven himself at Middle Tennessee – and Idaho before that – but now the only question is how he'll do at the high-major level in the SEC.

Mike Davis, Detroit Titans

  Mike Davis took Texas Southern to the NCAA tournament four times in six years.

Career head coaching record: 352-241 (.594)

Previous stops: Texas Southern (2012-18), UAB (2006-12), Indiana (2000-06)

Why it's significant: Mike Davis – yes, the Mike Davis that replaced Bob Knight and took Indiana to the 2002 national championship game, and more recently took Texas Southern to its fourth NCAA tournament in five years despite opening its season with 13 consecutive road games – is on the move again. After taking Texas Southern to heights it hadn't reached as a program, even with the challenges of playing in a one-bid league, Davis makes the jump to the Horizon League to lead a Detroit program that, like Texas Southern, has had limited success prior to Davis's arrival.

Detroit hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 2012 and it's heard its called on Selection Sunday only once this millenium, so if Davis is able to replicate the conference titles and automatic bids his team earned at his last coaching stop, his tenure with the Titans will be considered a success.

Joe Dooley, East Carolina

  Joe Dooley returns to East Carolina, where he coached in the late 1990s.
Career head coaching record: 171-110 (.609)

Previous stops: Florida Gulf Coast (2013-2018), East Carolina (1995-99)

Why it's significant: In a rare coaching move, Dooley returns to East Carolina, where he coached for four years some 20 years ago. He inherited a rising Florida Gulf Coast program on the heels of its Sweet 16 run in 2013, when the No. 15-seeded Eagles upset No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 seed San Diego State under the direction of Andy Enfield.

While it'd be next to impossible to replicate the team's 2013 magic, Dooley sustained a level of success FGCU hadn't seen before in its albeit brief 11-year Division I history. The Eagles won at least 21 games every year, they won the A-Sun regular season championship three times and they made two NCAA tournament appearances under Dooley.

Michael Fly, Florida Gulf Coast

  Michael Fly is the last remaining member from FGCU's 2013 Sweet16 team.
Career head coaching record: N/A

Previous stops: N/A

Why it's significant: First off, Michael Fly was born to be Florida Gulf Coast's head coach. Coaching a team named the Eagles and nicknamed "Dunk City" with the last name of Fly? That's just meant to be. More relevant, however, is that Fly has been on staff at FGCU for the last seven years and he's the only remaining member of the 2013 team that made history as a No. 15 seed that reached the Sweet 16.

Florida Gulf Coast has proven to be more than a two-week flash in the pan from five years ago. The Eagles have averaged more than 23 wins per season since the start of the 2012-13 campaign and they've made the NCAA tournament in two of the last three years. If Fly can continue to make Florida Gulf Coast at least a semi-regular participant in March, then the program can cement itself as more than a feel-good story from one NCAA tournament run and potentially become a mid-major to be reckoned with.

Tubby Smith, High Point

  Tubby Smith has nearly 30 years of head coaching experience at the Division I level.
Career head coaching record: 597-302 (.664)

Previous stops: Memphis (2016-18), Texas Tech (2013-16), Minnesota (2007-13), Kentucky (1997-07), Georgia (1995-97), Tulsa (1991-95)

Why it's significant: Tubby Smith embarks upon his seventh head coaching job at the DI level. The coach of the 1998 national champion Kentucky Wildcats will now coach at the smallest school of his career at High Point, where undergraduate enrollment is less than 5,000 students.

Smith led his teams to 14 consecutive NCAA tournaments during his tenures at Tulsa, Georgia and Kentucky, but his teams have appeared in just two of the last eight. Coaching at High Point, which has never made the NCAA tournament, provides Smith the chance to leave his mark in what could be the last coaching stop of his career.

Ashley Howard, La Salle

  Ashley Howard returns to La Salle after spending five years on Villanova's staff.
Career head coaching record: N/A

Previous stops: N/A

Why it's significant: Howard spent the last five years as an assistant coach at Villanova, which has arguably been the most successful college basketball program in the country during that stretch. Given his firsthand experience in helping run a program at the highest level and his Philadelphia roots – he was born in Philly, played collegiately at Drexel and previously spent time on La Salle's staff as assistant – can Howard turn around a La Salle program that has made the NCAA tournament just once in the last 26 years?

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