Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS -


The At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence has two new coaches with very dif­fer­ent chal­lenges. After seven sea­sons at Mem­phis, new Ge­or­gia Tech coach Josh Past­ner re­placed Brian Gre­gory at a pro­gram that hasn’t been to the NCAA Tour­na­ment since 2010. “When I took over, (ath­letic di­rec­tor) Mike Bobin­ski looked me in the eye and said, ‘We’re go­ing to hit the restart but­ton — we’re blow­ing this up. You’re go­ing to start it from ground zero,”’ Past­ner said. Com­pare that to Pitts­burgh’s Kevin Stallings, who left Van­der­bilt after 17 years to re­place Jamie Dixon. The Pan­thers have been to the NCAAs for 13 of 15 years, though they could use a jolt after three straight 10-loss sea­sons. “We’ve hit the ground run­ning as fast as we can,” Stallings said. “Some days that feels like a crawl, and some days it feels like a sprint.”


Rut­gers is hop­ing Steve Pikiell can fig­ure out a way to make the Scar­let Knights com­pet­i­tive. The for­mer Stony Brook coach leads a pro­gram that hasn’t had a win­ning record since 2006 nor an NCAA trip in a quar­ter-cen­tury. After win­ning seven games and go­ing 1-17 in the Big Ten un­der Ed­die Jor­dan, the Scar­let Knights open against Divi­sion II Mol­loy.

BIG 12

The Big 12 brought in three new coaches: Ok­la­homa State’s Brad Un­der­wood, TCU’s Dixon and Texas Tech’s Chris Beard. Un­der­wood ar­rives from Stephen F. Austin to re­place Travis Ford after a 12-win sea­son. The Cow­boys open against Camp­bell on Fri­day. TCU wel­comes Dixon back to his alma mater after a 13-year run at Pitts­burgh. The Horned Frogs, who haven’t been to the NCAAs since 1998, open Fri­day against St. Thomas. And at Texas Tech, Beard — the for­mer Arkansas-Lit­tle Rock coach who spent less than two weeks in April as UNLV’s coach — takes over a Red Raiders pro­gram com­ing off its first NCAA trip since 2007. The Red Raiders face Hous­ton Bap­tist on Fri­day.


With Stallings’ de­par­ture to Pitt, Bryce Drew is try­ing to give Van­der­bilt a fresh look. The Com­modores were picked to fin­ish sixth in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence. And while Stallings was the pro­gram’s win­ningest coach, Drew’s pro­gram has seen a drop in home at­ten­dance in re­cent sea­sons. The for­mer Val­paraiso coach said last month the goal is to “work ex­tremely hard” and play an ex­cit­ing style, start­ing against Mar­quette on Fri­day in An­napo­lis, Mary­land.


New Stan­ford coach Jerod Haase is look­ing for an­other quick climb. The for­mer North Carolina as­sis­tant turned UAB into a 20-win pro­gram with an NCAA Tour­na­ment up­set of No. 3 seed Iowa State in 2015 dur­ing his four sea­sons. Now he takes over a Car­di­nal pro­gram that went to one NCAA Tour­na­ment in eight sea­sons un­der Johnny Dawkins. “As a coach, it’s hard be­cause we’re try­ing to in­stall ev­ery­thing and move quickly,” Haase said at the league’s me­dia day. “But our at­ti­tude has been try­ing to build a foun­da­tion and move slowly with our base of­fense, and our base de­fense.” Stan­ford, picked 10th in the Pac-12, opens against Har­vard on Fri­day in Shang­hai, China.


Tubby Smith has a new project at Mem­phis. The well-trav­eled coach who has won 557 games and the 1998 na­tional cham­pi­onship left Texas Tech after be­com­ing the sec­ond coach to take five pro­grams to the NCAA Tour­na­ment. Out west, UNLV is on its third coach of the cal­en­dar year with Marvin Men­zies. The Run­nin’ Rebels fired Dave Rice in Jan­uary and hired Beard be­fore he quickly bolted for Texas Tech. Men­zies, a for­mer UNLV as­sis­tant who led New Mex­ico State to five NCAA Tour­na­ment trips in nine sea­sons, opens his UNLV ten­ure Fri­day against South Alabama. At Santa Clara, Herb Sen­dek ar­rives after stops at Mi­ami (Ohio), North Carolina State and Ari­zona State over the past two decades. And fi­nally, long­time for­mer NBA coach Mike Dun­leavy Sr. be­gins his first sea­son at the col­lege level at Tu­lane.

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