Let’s Speculate! Potential Georgia Tech head basketball coach candidates
Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.
Today’s program is Georgia Tech, coached by Josh Pastner since 2016 (fired on Friday).
- Ron Hunter – Tulane head coach
- Hunter has proven to be a winner everywhere he has gone, dating back to his tenure at IUPUI where he took the Jaguars to the NCAA Tournament in just their fifth year of Division I competition. He spent seven successful years as the head man at Georgia State, going 171-95 overall, running the Sun Belt and reaching the Big Dance three times. Now at Tulane, Hunter (58) has his team clicking in year four and should be postseason bound – the program hasn’t been to an NCAA Tournament or NIT in more than 20 years.
- Dusty May – Florida Atlantic head coach
- One of the biggest stories in mid-major basketball this year has been May and the Florida Atlantic Owls, who have been ranked as high as #19 in the country and won their first-ever Conference USA title. May is a young coach who paid his dues as an assistant for 13 years before getting the FAU job back in 2018. He spent seven years before that on Mike White’s staff at Louisiana Tech and Florida.
- Ryan Odom – Utah State head coach
- Odom is still a hot name in coaching circles, and for more reasons than just the earth-shattering upset of 1-seed Virginia in 2018. Finally leaving UMBC in 2021 to take over at Utah State, Odom had the Aggies in the NIT in year one and is on the NCAA bubble this season. The North Carolina-native had only coached in the Eastern Time Zone before USU and will certainly continue to be a candidate whenever bigger jobs come up back East.
- Amir Abdur-Rahim – Kennesaw State head coach
- Three years of steady improvement has culminated in one of the best stories in college basketball in 2023. Abdur-Rahim has Kennesaw State headed to its first-ever D-I postseason appearance (NCAAT or otherwise), just three years removed from winning ONE (1) game in his first season on the job. It’s a historic year for the Georgia-native, who has also guided the Owls to their ever winning season and 20+ win season at the Division I level. A former Georgia Tech staffer himself (DPD during the 2011-12 season), Abdur-Rahim also had stints at Georgia, Texas A&M, Charleston and Murray State before getting the KSU job in 2019.
- Bob Richey – Furman head coach
- Richey finally got himself and the Paladins over the hump this year by securing a NCAA Tournament auto bid – the first for Furman since 1980 after so many close calls over recent years. That was the only thing missing from the soon-to-be 40 year old coach’s resume, as he has proven he can win and sustain success over six seasons at the SoCon program. Someone is eventually going to hire Richey, but coming off a NCAA appearance it seems destined to happen during this cycle.
- Mark Byington – James Madison head coach
- Someone we have thought of a candidate at Georgia Tech for several years now is Byington, who recently left Georgia Southern to take over as head coach at James Madison. He won a share of the CAA title in his first year and now in his third has gotten the Dukes to 20 wins for the first time since 2016. Byington doesn’t have the accolades as some others on this list but he does know how to recruit and win in the state of Georgia.
- Pat Kelsey – College of Charleston head coach
- Kelsey just signed a nice new deal at Charleston that could allow him to build something special there. But power conference ADs love to poach successful mid-major coaches and this year, Kelsey is among to top few. Sometimes a flashy single season is enough to land a better job, other times ADs are looking for long, sustained success. Kelsey has both. Coming off a stellar nine-year tenure at Winthrop where he won four Big South titles, he took the CofC job in 2021 and has already taken the program to new heights: the first AP Top 25 ranking in 20 years, the most wins (31 and counting) in their D-I history, and riding CAA regular season and Tournament titles into the Big Dance.
- Charlton Young – Missouri associate head coach
- We listed the current head coaches first, but Young is still a realistic candidate for the job. Fired after four seasons as head coach at alma mater Georgia Southern, Young was slowly improving the program (14 wins combined in years 1-2 to 29 in years 3-4). The Miami-native actually spent four seasons on Paul Hewitt’s staff at Tech and after nine seasons at Florida State landed at Mizzou in 2022, playing a role in the fantastic season that Dennis Gates and company have put together.