Let’s Speculate! Potential UMass 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 UMass, coached by Matt McCall for the last 5 seasons (fired on March 1).

  • Pat Skerry – Towson head coach
    • The MA-native played at Tufts, has coached at Tufts, Northeastern, Stonehill and was the head coach at D-III Curry in Milton earlier in his career. Has had a long run at Towson but is in the midst of probably his best season yet, finishing tied for first in the CAA with a great shot at his first NCAA Tournament berth. UMass fans might want someone with more postseason experience, but Skerry checks a lot of other boxes.
  • Matt Langel – Colgate head coach
    • Langel has run the Patriot League for the last five seasons, winning four-straight league titles and taking Colgate to two NCAA Tournaments (with a shot at #3 this week). He’s from New Jersey, played at Penn and coached both there and at Temple before getting the Colgate job in 2011, so he has a lot of experience coaching and recruiting on the East Coast.
  • James Jones – Yale head coach
    • We suggest Jones for a bigger job every year, but the 58-year-old continues to stay the course at Yale, winning a ton of games and bringing home five Ivy League titles. Jones is from New York but after graduating from Albany he has spent the majority of his coaching career in New Haven. His brother – Joe Jones – is at BU and might be a candidate for UMass, as well.
  • Bashir Mason – Wagner head coach
    • The Seahawks finished in 2nd this year but Mason has led them to three NEC titles in ten years as the head coach. The three-time NEC COY has yet to reach his 40th birthday but has a good of a resume as any mid-major coach you will find on this list. It’s only a matter of time before he makes the leap to a bigger and better job.
  • Jared Grasso – Bryant head coach
    • Grasso just led Bryant to its first-ever NEC title, finishing the regular season 19-9 (16-2). It’s the next step in the year-by-year growth that Bryant has shown in four years under Grasso, something that any struggling program would love to see from their new head coach. Grasso is from New York and has been on the East Coast his entire career, including his time playing at Quinnipiac and an eight-year stint under Tim Cluess at Iona.
  • Robert Jones – Norfolk State head coach
    • Jones will be the next coach that makes the jump from the MEAC to a larger conference, and the UMass job is seemingly a good fit for both parties. Norfolk State recently wrapped up their third MEAC title in the last four years – all under Jones, who will be leading them into the postseason for the seventh time of his tenure. The Queens-native coached in New York for several years before first arriving at Norfolk as an assistant coach in 2007.
  • Archie Miller – former Indiana head coach
    • If you are looking for someone who A) has had success in the A-10 (two regular season titles at Dayton), B) has been the postseason (four NCAA Tournaments, including one Elite Eight) and C) is available – look no further that the Miller brothers. Archie is probably the more realistic option here, but with the massive buyout he received from Indiana we wonder if he takes another year off before diving back into the grind. He’s only 43 and is going to have plenty of opportunities at the mid-major level, but it’s also possible some high-majors (at a lower stature than IU, for example) will come calling.
  • Sean Miller – former Arizona head coach
    • Keeping it in the family, Sean Miller checks all of the same boxes as his younger brother does. Sean won three A-10 titles at Xavier and has been to the NCAA Tournament eleven times between XU and Arizona, advancing to the Elite Eight four times. What was grounds for firing at Arizona is incredible success elsewhere, so if Sean (53) wants to get back into the game, he will have plenty of suitors.
  • Rick Pitino – Iona head coach
    • Do we think this will happen? No. But Pitino is the most famous UMass alum from a coaching stand point and is undoubtedly one of the greatest college head coaches in the history of the game. He’s 70 and reportedly working on a long-term deal with Iona, a low-pressure job where he can win easily and finish his career on a positive after the chaos at Louisville. This is the first time that UMass has been looking for a head coach and Pitino has been available, meaning not already in a better job (or in the case of 2017, blackballed by the NCAA), since 1983.
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