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Five Mid-Major Head Coaches Fired on Monday 3/11

It’s Monday of “Championship Week,” but with a huge percentage of mid-major teams already seeing their season end, we have seen our first round of head coaching firings. Here are the five guys who were cut loose today, but catch the rest on our (always updating) Coaching Carousel tracker:

Chris Casey (Niagara)

  • Casey was let go after six seasons at Niagara, going 64-129 during that tenure. The Purple Eagles reached the CIT a year ago, but Casey was unable to return the program to the NCAA Tournament after his predecessor, Joe Mihalich, had them there in 2013. Some ideas for Casey’s replacement include Hofstra (and former Niagara) assistant Mike Farrelly and Oregon assistant Mike Mennenga, who has made several coaching stops in the Buffalo area.

Phil Cunningham (Troy)

  • Just two years removed from an NCAA Tournament appearance, Troy has parted ways with six-year head coach Phil Cunningham. Outside of the 2016-17 Tourney season, Cunningham’s teams finished with losing records every year (80-111 overall). A couple interesting names for Troy: former South Alabama and Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey (currently an assistant in Tuscaloosa) and long-time Florida State assistant Stan Jones.

Jon Harris (SIU Edwardsville)

  • Harris was a very sensible hire in 2015, an Edwardsville-native and long-time assistant ready to turn a corner with a program that had been in Division I for less than a decade. But in last four years under Harris, the Cougars were just 31-88 and just finished their “best” season: 10-21 and tied for 7th in the OVC. SIUE is a tough job, with no history and a lot of competition in the local recruiting grounds. Look for a mid-major assistant with local ties to be the next Cougars head coach.

Bob Hoffman (Mercer)

  • In eleven seasons at Mercer, Hoffman is perhaps best known for knocking off 3-seed Duke in the opening round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. 2011-2014 was definitely the high point of Hoffman’s tenure, but he did manage to win 19 games in three of the last five seasons. Nonetheless, the school parted ways with the 61-year-old head coach on Monday following a 11-20 (6-12) campaign. Sensible replacements could include Georgia assistant Chad Dollar, who has also coached at Georgia Tech, South Florida and Auburn, or Mercer-alum and current Memphis assistant Sam Mitchell, who previously coached the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

Sydney Johnson (Fairfield)

  • After winning 22 games in his first season, Johnson was never able to recapture that success at Fairfield. In eight years on the job, Johnson’s Stags were 116-147 overall but finished with less than 10 wins three times, including this season. Johnson parlayed an NCAA trip at his alma mater, Princeton, into the Fairfield job, but was only able to reach the CIT (three times). Interesting names for the next Stags’ coach include Louisville assistant Luke Murray, Siena assistant Carmen Maciariello or potentially Yale head coach James Jones.


h/t to James P. McCoy/Buffalo News, Troy Athletics, @BrianMMunoz, Will Tharp/Mercer Athletics, Fairfield Athletics for the photos

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