skip navigation

50 Most Impactful Coaches in JUCO Men's Basketball

By Jake Stanbrough, Editor , 04/15/20, 10:30PM PDT

Share

This is a list, not a ranking, of 50 current JUCO Men's Basketball coaches that have made and continue to make an outstanding impact on their players, programs, and the game itself. 

 

Kyle Smithpeters - John A. Logan

Smithpeters has drawn rave reviews as a head basketball coach from many different people in the basketball world during his time at John A. Logan.  Having six twenty win seasons in a row and eight "coach of the year" awards during his seven year tenure, his resume is among the elite when you think of the JUCO ranks.  Additionally, John A. Logan has produced a plethora of talent under Smithpeters, including a potential 2020 NBA draft pick, and has seen itself on the NJCAA's list of top 25 nationally ranked teams numerous times.  A job well done at the school located in Carterville, IL.

 

Jeremy Shulman - Eastern Florida

Shulman has been a coach that has captured the attention of many college coaches, JUCO experts, and more.  He has built the program into a national powerhouse, reaching the elite 8 of the NJCAA national tournament the past five seasons and having 20+ wins the past seven seasons. Many have applauded Shulman for the way he develops his players, markets his players & program, and for his work ethic on the recruiting trail.  This has paid dividends in the resurgence of not only the Eastern Florida program, but also the East Mississippi program that Shulman was at previously.

 

Hank Plona - Indian Hills

Plona has taken the JUCO world by storm with his success at Indian Hills.  He is the fastest coach to 100 wins in the history of the Indian Hills program, a perennial powerhouse.  In four years he has been responsible for five NJCAA All-Americans, four trips in a row to the NJCAA national tournament, and have now been rated in 48-of-49 polls since Plona took over as head coach.  He has been able to sustain great success at the school located in Centerville, Iowa by winning at least 25 games in every season he has been at the helm and has earned much respect from college coaches at four year programs who have recruited the 38 players he has produced during his tenure.

 

Eric Murphy - Florida Southwestern

Southwestern Florida won 30 games during 2018-2019 season and 29 games during the 2019-2020 season with Murphy at the helm. Additionally, Murphy was no stranger to the program before named head coach.  Murphy helped lead Florida Southwestern to a 56-10 overall record as an assistant coach before taking over for Martin Richter, who accepted a job as an assistant coach with Drake University.  Murphy has worked his way up through the JUCO ranks with stops at Vincennes and Wabash Valley, which earned him a spot on staff at Northern Colorado as a DOBO in 2013-2014 and as an assistant coach from 2014-2016. Murphy has earned the reputation as a great recruiter and has helped establish the program located in Fort Myers, Florida.  

 

Donnie Jackson - Northern Oklahoma Tonkawa

Donnie Jackson has revitalized the program Northern Oklahoma Tonkawa.  Since taking the helm six years ago, the program has seen some of the best seasons in school history.  Jackson has helped place 26 NCAA Division 1 players, 22 NCAA Division 2 players, 3 NCAA Division 3 players, and 17 NAIA players in his twelve year junior college coaching career.  Jackson has also led the Mavericks to two 6th place NJCAA finishes in overall team GPA in men's basketball. (3.06 in 2015-16 and 3.23 in 2016-17). 

 

Luke Strege - Mineral Area

With a coaching career that spans twenty years, Strege has seen consistent success. Mineral Area has posted five twenty win seasons in a row after Strege came over from the Eastern Kentucky University including a thirty win season this past year.  While at Eastern Kentucky, Strege helped guide the Colonels to an Ohio Valley Conference Championship in 2014 and a berth to the NCAA National Tournament.  Eastern Kentucky’s 49 wins from 2012-2014 are the most during any two years in program history. Quincy University saw much of their success during the later of Strege's tenure there as well, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history at the 2010 NCAA Division II national tournament.

 

Kevin O'Connor - Murray State

O'Connor came to Murray State from Arizona Western where he was an assistant from 2015-2017.  O'Connor helped boost the program to the NJCAA National Tournament in the 2016-2017 season before accepting the job in Tishomingo, OK.  He has completely turned the program around after multiple losing seasons.  O'Connor lead the Aggies to a 25-6 record in the 2019-2020 season and their first NJCAA tournament in years.  They were slated as a 14 seed going into this year's tournament.  O'Connor comes from the Bruce Weber coaching tree and spent time with the decorated coach at both Illinois and Kansas State.

Carl Howell - Skagit Valley 

As the winningest coach (win percentage) in NWAC history, Coach Howell has had an amazing impact on Men's Basketball. Howell has the second best winning percentage of any NW coach across all levels, behind only Mark Few of Gonzaga. His impact has been felt from the Division I to NAIA as he has helped hundreds of kids play at the next level. Prior to returning to Skagit Valley, Howell boasted a 363-109 record. During his first year at Skagit Valley he started right where he left off, finishing with a record of 25-4. 

Bill Morosco - Independence

Morosco is one of the rising head coaches in the JUCO ranks.  Morosco played a huge role in the emergence of Eastern Florida under Jeremy Shulman in 2016-2017.  After winning 23 games in his first season at the helm and revitalizing the talent on the roster, the experienced coach is well on his way.  Expect Morosco to bring many of the things he's learned from his stops at Barry, Eastern Florida, Presbyterian, The Citadel, UC Davis, Florida, UCF, & VCU with the program at Independence.  His passion for the game, on the recruiting trail, and placement of his players has been a head turner.

 

Bryen Spriggs - Beaver County

Spriggs is someone who winnning follows.  Spriggs is 75-12 in his three seasons at the helm of the Community College of Beaver County.  During his tenure at Beaver County he is responsible for two conference championships and a coach of the year award.  Prior to Beaver County, Spirggs spent a season at Mineral Area College in an assistant coach role and played an intricate role in assembling one of the most talented Mineral Area teams ever finishing 28-3.  Spriggs got his start at Slippery Rock University as an assistant in 2012-2013.

 

Jake Williams - Dodge City

Many people have sung the praises of Jake Williams, the new head coach at Dodge City CC.  A large part of that is due to the success Williams was responsible for at USC Salkehatchie.  The Indians set the program record for wins (27) after playing one of the toughest schedules in all of NJCAA Division 1. For the first time in program history, the Indians have recorded back-to-back-to-back 20+ win seasons.  Additionally, Williams took the program to the NJCAA national tournament earning the highest seed in school history.  Williams will bring that experience and his past experiences at Northwest Florida, North Carolina Central, and Middle Tennessee State to Dodge City CC.

 

Brendan Foley - Chipola

After many years as an assistant at the perennial powerhouse, Foley has spent the last two seasons as head coach.  During the 2018-19 season, Foley led the Indians to a 27-5 overall record and were runners-up in the Panhandle Conference with a 9-3 finish. They made an appearance in the Region VIII tournament for the second consecutive year. The Indians were ranked in 11-of-12 NJCAA Top 25 polls climbing as high as #7 nationally.  A product of the Bob Huggins coaching tree, Foley has seen much success during his time in the JUCO ranks at Chipola and Santa Fe.  Chipola has consistently been a nationally ranked program both while he's been a head coach and an assistant.  Additionally, Foley helped lead the 2011-12 Santa Fe Saints to a 26-5 record; Mid-Florida Co-Conference championship; Top 10 NJCAA ranking; FCSAA Region VIII tournament appearance.  We expect Foley to continue the tradition at Chipola that he helped sustain and develop as an assistant.

 

John Mosley - East LA

Mosley has East LA rolling as one of the best JUCOs on the west coast.  Before arriving, East LA hadn't had a trip to the CCCAA state playoffs in over a decade. In his eight year tenure, Mosley has not only been named coach of the year four times, but has also been to eight straight CCCAA state playoffs.  They have won at least twenty games in each of his eight seasons and just completed a school record season with 29 wins this past year and only one loss.  In addition, the East LA basketball program has welcomed the television show "Last Chance U."  The hit television series has been filming the program all year and it is set to air later this year.

 

Josh Thomas - Santa Monica

In his second season in 2018-2019, Thomas led the Corsairs to the CCCAA State Tournament for the first time since 1988.  During the postseason run, the Corsairs secured three playoff victories, which ended a 16-year drought of not having a single playoff win.  His improvement continues.  After a 20-12 season a year ago, the Corsairs finished with a 21-9 record this year.  The resurgence has come as a result of Thomas' hard work on the recruiting trail and development.  He has brought in a number of good players and has made his presence felt in marketing them nationally.

 

Mark Lane - Cape Fear

Lane, who just completed his first season going 21-9 as head coach at Cape Fear, had spent eight seasons total as an assistant with the program before getting the job.  During those eight seasons, he was instrumental in helping the sea devils to three Region 10 Tournament Championships, three regular season titles, four national tournament appearances with an eighth place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas in 2010-2011.  During that time, Lane benefitted from four all-americans that Lane recruited.  Now that he's at the helm of the program, expect him to continue to bring prominence to the program and continue to make noise as a coach.

 

Mike Carpenter - Wabash Valley

Carpenter has brought consistency at Wabash Valley CC.  After a more than successful tenure at Danville Area CC, Carpenter has carried that over Mount Carmel, IL.  He has been named "coach of the year" three times in his seven year tenure and has won close to 150 games during his time at Wabash Valley.  During that time, Carpenter has lead the program to one NJCAA final four, three region championships, and a ranking in the NJCAA Top 25 ten times.  Additionally, he boasts a 94% graduation rate in 25 years as a coach, over 100 players have received scholarships to four year schools, and he has coached 4 NJCAA All-Americans.

 

Tom Parks - State College of Florida

- Parks is another head coach that comes from lineage of Jeremy Shulman at Eastern Florida.  Parks played a key role in Eastern Florida's success in both winning games, securing tournament berths, and producing high level talent including PJ Savory at Florida State, Xavier Jackson at Virginia Commonwealth University, TreDarius McCallum at DePaul University, Channel Banks at the University of Akron, Shaq Carter at Rutgers, and Ahmed Ali at Washington State.  After a 21-12 finish in his first year after many consecutive losing seasons before he arrived, expect to see Parks and his program rise.

 

Trent Skinner - College of the Desert

Coach Skinner had his hands full when taking over a collapsed Roadrunner program in 2018. Prior to his first year, the Roadrunners went 0-23. Upon taking over, Skinner lead the program to a .500 record for the first time in over six years. In his second year, Skinner's Roadrunners went 16-12. His growth as the head coach has been outstanding and he has proved himself as a top coach on the West Coast. 

 

Kris Baumann - Odessa

Baumann has 13 years of experience as a head coach at the community college level, including three seasons at Lamar Community College, six at Garden City Community College, four at Trinity Valley Community College, and now at Odessa.  With that experience has come consistent success.  After much success as one of the nations top JUCO programs for four consecutive years at Trinity Valley CC, Baumann will look to take much of that success to Odessa.  With the respect of many in the basketball community, many believe he will.

 

Cole Dewey - Garden City

Dewey is in the midst of a rebuild in his first year at Garden City.  However, the North Carolina native is no stranger to successful programs and rebuilding.  Dewey played a key role in the recent success at both Indian Hills under Hank Plona & South Plains under legendary Steve Green in years past.  Due to that, it landed him his first head coaching job at Otero CC where he hit the ground running with a program that had lost its identity.  Dewey brought success back to Otero in La Junta, Colorado winning twenty games in each of his two seasons and taking the program as high as number 5 in the national rankings in his second year.  We expect him to continue to do the same.

 

Perry Webster - Fullerton

In five seasons as the Fullerton head coach, Webster has an overall record of 120-32. He has led the Hornets to five 20-win seasons, taken the team to the Southern California Regionals four times, and to the CCCAA State Championship game twice in 2017 and 2019 (winning it in 2019).  Webster has been twice named as the Orange Empire Conference Coach of the year, as well as the CCCAA Southern California Coach of the year. In 2019 Webster was tabbed the CCCAA State Co-Coach of the Year.  Fullerton has become a destination for four year schools that have recruited the west coast.

 

Joe Eatmon - Shelton State

Eatmon, who has been at Shelton State since 2012, has been a part of four trips to the NJCAA National Tournament.  In his fourth season as head coach, Eatmon has guided the Buccaneers to two Alabama Community College Conference championships and owns a career record of 100-28 overall, including an 81-18 record at Shelton State and a 31-10 mark in ACCC play.  He has received the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 22 and District 12 Coach of the Year twice.  He is one of the most successful coaches in the JUCO ranks in the past ten years.

 

Russ May - Cerritos 

Coach Russ May has become one of the most exciting coaches in Southern California. May has led his teams to four straight 20-win seasons for the first time in his career. During the 2016-17 season, the Falcons qualified for the Southern California Regional Playoffs, where they were eliminated in the first round by Citrus College.  In his nine seasons, May has posted a 173-116 (.599) record with six South Coast Conference championships.

 

Chris Oney - Pearl River

Oney just completed his fourth season after taking over early in the 2016-2017 season.  Not including that 2016-2017 season, the program has won at least 20 games each year under his lead.  Oney has led the River to two MACJC tournament titles, two Region XXIII Tournament titles, and back-to-back berths in the NJCAA National Tournament.  The program had previously never been to the tournament.  Oney brings quite a bit of division one experience to Pearl River as well.  He has been an assistant coach at  Grambling State for two seasons, an assistant at Louisiana Monroe for four seasons, and assistant at Nicholls State for one season.  His Pearl River team went 28-0 during the 2019-2020 season.

 

Jeff Brustad - Monroe

Brustad, who just completed his 18th season as the head coach of the Monroe program, has amassed an impressive 474-130 (.785) record through 18 seasons, has coached numerous All-Americans and has moved dozens of student-athletes on to NCAA Division I institutions. Brustad has become a very decorated coach in his 16 years at Monroe, having been named District Coach of the Year on eight different occasions and Region XV Coach of the Year 11 times. His awards are directly correlated with his team’s highest successes, which include 12 Region XV Titles, eight District Championships, leading to eight appearances in the NJCAA Div. I National Championship Tournament.  Two of his former players have gone on to play in the NBA and twelve of them have been named NJCAA All-Americans.  He has built one of the most elite JUCO programs in the country.

 

Drew Kelly - Harcum

Kelly, who just completed his 16th season, has established the Bears basketball program as one of the top junior college programs in the nation. In the program's 15 year history, Kelly has led the Bears to a 375-98 overall record for a winning percentage of .793.  The Bears have never won fewer than 20 games in a single season during Kelly's 15 years as head coach.  The trademark of Kelly's team's at Harcum has been pressure defense and high octane offense, and the Bears have routinely averaged 100 points per game and have consistently been near the national leaders in points, 3 pointers made, and free throw made.  

 

Ken Hunter - East LA

Known as a great recruiter, Coach Hunter is a staple at top Junior College All American Camps, Showcases and Pro-Am basketball leagues such as JBL Pro-Am, the Say No Nike College summer league, and Nike Drew League Pro Am.  ELAC and LA Trade Tech, Hunter's previous school, have benefitted as a result. Hunter helped revive a LA Trade Tech program that was 3-27 prior to his arrival and won three South Coast Conference titles along with making elite 8 and final four appearances.  He has done the same at ELAC winning at least twenty games in every season and just completed a school record 29 wins with only one loss.  In addition, the East LA basketball program has welcomed the television show "Last Chance U."  The hit television series has been filming the program all year and it is set to air later this year.

 

Kevon Davis - Indian Hills

Davis has plenty of winning experience in the JUCO ranks.  The Philadelphia native amassed a 100-29 record in four years at Harcum, reaching the NJCAA semifinals in 2014, and compiled a 47-18 record in two years at Casper CC in Wyoming.  His success earned him a spot on staff with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he worked his way up from director of player development to assistant coach in 2018-2019.  Now, Davis is faced with yet another JUCO program that he looks to leave his footprint on.  His track record of recruiting and knowledge of the basketball landscape will pay dividends for the Indian Hills program and his future stops.

 

Adam Short - State Fair

Short is known for his relentless approach in the basketball world and has earned the respect of many for getting the most out of his players.  The Indiana native has brought in a boat load of talent during his stops at Cowley, Missouri West Plains, and currently at State Fair.  Additionally, Short is responsible for the Mokan 16U Elite team on the EYBL circuit.  He's 51-10 in two seasons on the circuit and has been responsible for overseeing the development of 30+ division one signees much like he has done at State Fair CC.  3 of them have gone on to play in the NBA and 2 of the players he recruited at State Fair have been named NJCAA all-americans.

 

Chad Donley - Daytona State

A tireless worker, Donley has been in a championship environment at almost every stop he has made. As a player, the Baker, Florida native was a Region XIII Champion on a Northwest Florida State team that reached the NJCAA semifinals and as a Sophomore at Liberty University Donley earned a bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament winning the Big South Championship.  After his playing career was over, Donley became a graduate assistant at East Tennessee State University for his former JUCO coach, Steve Forbes.  The program went to the SOCON finals in his first year and earned a bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament in his second year after winning the SOCON Championship.  After a stop at Pensacola State as an assistant, Donley landed in Daytona, FL.  Donley will look to continue to bring that championship mentality to Daytona State.  The Falcons finished 25-7 in his first year.

 

Dennan Morrow - Chipola

Morrow has become a natural of sorts as a JUCO coach.  The Kansas native made his debut at Barton Community College posting a 25-8 record and the highest GPA in the Jayhawk Conference at 3.17.  From there, he has gone on to Daytona State and now Chipola where he has seen quite a bit of success as well.  "Dennan is a guy I knew I could bring in and wouldn't have to groom. He can take some stuff off my plate. He's extremely good at teaching on the court, has extensive recruiting ties, and is one of the top junior college assistants in the country. He's hit the ground running and has been a great addition," Chipola Coach Brendan Foley said.  Perhaps his natural ability has come from his time spent with decorated division one college coaches Frank Martin and Bruce Weber at Kansas State.  Either way, the young coach is one to watch in the future as he continues to rise through the ranks.

 

Zach Settembre - Tallahassee

It hasn't taken long for Settembre to show that he's capable of running a program.  The Louisville native arrived in Tallahassee two years ago as an assistant coach and found himself as the head coach of the program this past year after going 22-7 in his year as an assistant.  This year, the eagles finished 27-6 and with a berth to the NJCAA National Tournament as a 12 seed.  Even more impressive, Tallahassee produced seven division one commitments off of this year's team.  Settembre attended Syracuse University, where he was a student assistant under hall of fame coach Jim Boeheim from 2009-12. Settembre needed only three years to graduate from Syracuse (in 2012) and did so Magna Cum Laude with a degree in public relations (and a minor in religion).  The success he has brought to Tallahassee has been quicker than expected as well and it likely won't stop anytime soon.

 

Kente Hart - Florida Southwestern

Hart, an assistant for Eric Murphy, one of the other impactful coaches on this list, has played a key role in helping Florida Southwestern be one of the premier JUCO programs the past two years they have both been there.  The school in Fort Myers, FL is one game shy of winning 60 games in two seasons, an unbelievably hard task when you think of the level of competition. Much of that has to do with the players Hart has helped continue to bring in for the Buccaneers.  After many years at the division one level and on some previous JUCO experience with Murphy at Vincennes, it will be exciting to see what Hart can continue to do as moves through the ranks.

 

Zac Kircher - Angelina

Kircher has quickly developed a respect in the basketball world with his easy going personality and relationship building qualities.  The second year assistant who has many deep rooted connections to basketball figures in the state of Texas and the south in general, has seen Angelina blossom already in his two years.  After an 18-14 record and the signing of five sophomores in his first year, the team just capped off a 24-9 record in his second year that earned them a 20 seed in the NJCAA national tournament in Hutchinson, KS.  This comes after being a successful AAU and high school coach in the Houston area.  Kircher won a state title and advanced to the state semifinals in his two years as a high school coach as well.  Many will be tracking him and his exciting future as a basketball coach.

 

Tyler Hurley - Sheridan

Winning has followed Hurley everywhere he has gone as a coach and as a player.  A player at the University of Montana for Wayne Tinkle and Montana Western under HOF coach Steve Keller, Hurley was a part of three teams that advanced to the NAIA national tournament.  From there, Hurley took his success as a player to New Mexico Junior College winning 21 games and then to Casper College where the team went 71-28 in his three years there.  Hurley, known as a relentless recruiter who taps in to many different connections on the recruiting trail to identify and execute on players, will look to do the same at Sheridan college.  If he continues to recruit like he has been doing, he will have a heck of a career.

 

Brian Swindlehurst - Salt Lake

While there has been a coaching change at Salt Lake CC, one thing has remained the same.  Brian Swindlehurst.  Swindlehurst has developed numerous relationships on the west coast and throughout the country that have helped sustain the success at Salt Lake Community College.  The program, which has produced many numerous division one and other four year level players over the years, has benefitted from Swindlehurst's time on the road developing these relationships.  The team has won at least twenty games each year that he has been there including some thirty win seasons.  This has amounted to a national championship and numerous runs in the NJCAA tournament.

 

Darrian Jones - Walters State

Jones has been at Walters State for a total of nine seasons.  The school, located in Morristown, Tennessee, has advanced to the three times during his tenure and has had at least twenty wins in nearly every year he has held his role.  At the same time, Jones has helped legendary coach Bill Carlyle, who is in his 43rd year as the Walters State head basketball coach, surpass 1000 wins.  Jones, who never fails to identify kids nationwide each year, is an aggressive recruiter.  His time as a head coach will come soon with the consistency he shows year after year.

 

Ravi Bhambhra - Northern Oklahoma Tonkawa

Much like he has done in other places that he has been, Bhambra has come to Tonkawa, OK and hit the ground running.  NOC Tonkawa advanced to the NJCAA national tournament in Bhambra's first year and San Francisco City College went 33-1 and took home the CCCAA state championship the previous year after Bhambra helped secure two Cal transfers and mentored the state player of the year in Terrell Gomez (New Mexico State).  Success has followed him elsewhere too.  An experienced high school and junior college coach, prior coaching assignments include Palo Alto High School (2015-17), Cañada College (2009-13), Pima College (2007-08), and Tucson High School (2006-07).  In two seasons with Palo Alto, the vikings reached the Northern California State Championship game.  Additionally, in Bhambhra's first season with Cañada, the team improved from two wins to 10. In year two, the Colts improved to a 20-win team, ranked as high as 3rd in the state, and earned their first playoff berth (and win) in over 10 years.

 

Matt Williams - South Plains

Williams has an impressive resumé when it comes to wins, recruiting, championships, player placement, and player accolades.  South plains won the NJCAA national championship in his first year, went 30-5 on their way to reaching the NJCAA national semifinals in his second year, and reached the NJCAA national tournament again in his third year. Williams recruited five D1 players in his second year including Gaige Prim, who was the Region 5 player of the Year and an NJCAA first-team All American.  He has just as impressive of a tenure at Georgia Highlands, the program was with for four years before South Plains.  In his final three seasons, Williams helped the Chargers go 96-11 reach the NJCAA National Tournament three times, including back-to-back Final Four appearances and one berth in the Sweet 16.  While at GHC, Williams recruited two All-Americans including First Team All-American Kyvon Davenport who signed with Memphis University.  A coach that is on the rise!

 

Lester Stewart - Casper

Stewart, yet another coach that has a track record of winning on this list, has been proven as a high level recruiter.  Always visible in west coast gyms and around the country, Stewart spent two years at College of Southern Idaho before coming to Casper College.  In his two years at CSI, 16 players went on to four-year colleges and 14 of them signed with division one schools.  Due to the talent that was brought in, CSI posted a 55-14 record and were the NJCAA National Tournament Runners-Up.  Before his time at CSI, Stewart spent six years as a head high school coach in Idaho from 2011-2017. Named Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013, Stewart’s teams qualified for the state tournament three times, and he led two different teams to that tournament.  Much of that same success has continued in his first year at Casper, with his team finishing 25-6.

 

Eric Nitsche - Cowley

Nitsche is well respected in the JUCO space and in the basketball world in general.  Known to help out every year at the Mullen's JUCO Showcase, Nitsche has made an effort to establish connections in the space to further himself and the programs he's been a part of.  Nitsche, who has been at the school for six years, helped the Tigers increase their win total for three straight seasons (2016-18) and assisted the Tigers en route to their second place finish in the Jayhawk East during the 2018-19 season.  Additionally, the Tigers advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament in 2019-2020 earning a 19 seed.

 

Alex Birge - Santa Fe

Birge, who has tremendous qualities as a coach in the way he conducts himself and with his approach, compiled 21 wins in his first season with Santa Fe.  That year, the Saints made it to the Mid-Florida Conference championship game. Birge developed two First-Team All Mid-Florida Conference players in Darrell Jones and D-Juan Taylor-Hodge. He also developed three Second-Team All Mid-Florida Conference players in Malik Morrow, Alsean Evans, and Ivan Smith.  Birge helped assist all 10 sophomores move on with scholarships to four-year universities.  Prior to arriving at Santa Fe College, Birge served as interim head coach at Indiana University Kokomo during the 2016-2017 season. He led them to 15 wins, 2nd most in the program's history. The program also garnered their first all-conference first team player in Trent Elliot.

 

Brian Davis - Vincennes

Davis just completed his 15th season at Vincennes, a national powerhouse located in southern Indiana.  Since Coach Davis has been a member of the staff, the Trailblazers have averaged over 28 wins per season, had an overall record of 423-85, won the 2019 Division I national championship, been ranked No. 1 in the country, advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament ten times with four Final Four trips, tied the school record home court win streak of 52 games, and sent many players on to the NCAA Division I level.  Coach Davis has recruited and coached 15 All-American players that have gone on to play in the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC among several other major Division I conferences. He is considered by many as one of the best JUCO assistants in the country.

 

Aaron Anderson - Indian Hills

Anderson just completed his first season with Indian Hills going 30-3 and advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament.  Prior to Indian Hills, Anderson was on staff under Jared Phay at College of Southern Idaho, a perennial powerhouse.  The program won at least 20 games in each of the five seasons he was there and advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament five times.  Additionally, CSI sent 35 players on to four-year colleges with Anderson on the staff there.  Prior to CSI, Anderson spent five years at Gonzaga learning under legendary coach Mark Few as a video coordinator.  In his five years at Gonzaga they had a record of 139-34, made five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and won at least one game in each of those trips.

 

James Barrett - Monroe

Barrett, a New York native, has deep roots in the empire state and northeast region in general.  A former assistant at the legendary Lincoln High School in Brooklyn that has produced many high level players and on the EYBL circuit with the New York Rens, Barrett has developed meaningful relationships with the tight knit basketball community that makes up the region.  Additionally, working with high level players like Hamidou Diallo & Jordan Nwora, a NCAA third team all-american, boosted his resumé.  From there, Barrett took his relationships to Seward County where he was instrumental in developing Seward County’s players into leaders in the country, including Isiah Small, who earned All-American honors. Barrett also recruited Freshman of the Year and Region 6 Tournament MVP, Marco Morency.  Seward County finished ranked No. 13 nationally after winning the Region 6 championship. Seward also had three players move on to play basketball at Division I institutions. Isiah Small went on to play at Texas State University, Reggie Miller - Abilene Christian University and Yarden Willis - Binghamton University.  Barrett will bring much of that same value to Monroe College, a school that went 24-9 in his first year there and advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament

 

Daven Vo - Butler CC

Vo has made quite the impression on JUCO experts.  A tireless worker, Vo got his start under respected head coach Jeff Capel at the University of Oklahoma as a graduate assistant. After his time in Stillman, he moved on to be the head coach at South Mountain Community College where he spent seven years with the men's basketball program.  In that time, he transferred 34 student-athletes to four-year universities, coached four All-Americans, 13 All-Conference players, four Academic All-American teams, and led his team to a national tournament appearance.  Coach Vo’s most successful season at SMCC came towards the end of his tenure, where he led the program to an eighth-place finish at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. The team received NJCAA Academic All-American honors with a 3.1 team GPA - the first time in the SMCC Men’s Basketball 32-year history.  In addition to team academic honors, Vo had two players named to the All-American team, three All-ACCAC members, and transferred nine players to four-year universities while being recognized as the 2016 NJCAA Region 1 Coach of the Year.  He has helped improve Butler's win total each of the three years he has been there and the team just finished this season 25-8.

 

John Ball - Harcum

Ball just completed his second season in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The team has gone 50-13 in his two seasons.  The Bears lit up the scoreboard in 2019-20, averaging 101.3 points per game, and finished in the top 10 nationally in three pointers made, assists, steals, rebounds, and blocks.  The Bears shot 48.7% from the field, the 2nd highest FG% in school history. Prior to Harcum, Ball was on staff at Lasalle as the video coordinator under Dr. John Giannini.  Ball got his start as student manager for Pat Chambers at Penn State and was known to numerous events Hoop Group and the Nike EYBL to establish connections in the basketball world that he has been able to utilize at Harcum.

 

Mike Nesbitt - New Mexico

Nesbitt, an Indiana native, has turned in two 23-9 seasons in his first two years as a JUCO coach.  The first coming at Panola in Carthage, TX and the second coming at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, NM.  Last season at Panola, the team recorded a second place finish in Region XIV. He recruited and coached four players that ended up signing Division 1 (Cleveland State, Prairie View A&M, Mississippi Valley State, and South Carolina State). Nesbitt was the Ponies Academic Coordinator and oversaw a team GPA of a 3.0 in the Fall Semester, which was the highest in the Grant McMillan era at Panola. In the year prior to that,  Nesbitt was a part of a staff that nearly tripled their D1 win total from the previous season and appeared in the school’s first semifinal contest at the Big Sky Tournament.  A bright future is in store!

 

Todd Shelton - Panola

Shelton brings a variety of experience to the JUCO level.  Shelton has worked in positions at the NBA level (Cleveland Cavaliers), the division one level (North Texas), the AAU level (Mudiay Elite & Dallas Showtyme), and most recently at the JUCO level (Garden City & Panola).  With deep roots in Texas, the fairly new JUCO coach should hit the ground running with some of the connections and experiences he has gathered along the way.  Shelton has genuine relationship qualities, recruiting ties, and should have Panola reaping the benefits quite soon as a result.  The program, located in Carthage, Texas turned in a respectable 19-12 record in his first year.

 

Kyle Campbell - Coffeyville

Campbell is in his second stint with Coffeyville.  The Nebraska native spent six successful seasons as an assistant coach with a combined record of 164-43 in his first stint.  Campbell helped lead Coffeyville to four Jayhawk East conference championships in his six-year tenure and two Region VI tournament championships, while helping lead the ravens to third- and fifth-place finishes at the NJCAA National Tournament. During his six years at Coffeyville, he coached two Jayhawk East MVPs, 20 all-conference players and 11 all-region players. Due to their success, Campbell landed his first head coaching job at Dodge City Community College.  He put together three twenty win seasons in his final three seasons with Dodge City and took the program to the NJCAA Region VI Tournament Championship game for the first time in 33 years.  It landed him a job at Sam Houston State where he spent the last two years and featured a trip to the CIT semifinals in his second year.  Coffeyville went 26-8 in Campbell's first year back with the program and earned a bid to the NJCAA National Tournament.

 

Hayden Sowers - Pearl River

Much like Coach Oney from Pearl River that is also on this list, Sowers has played a big hand in the rise of the Pearl River program.  Sowers has helped Pearl River to two MACJC tournament titles, two Region XXIII Tournament titles, and back-to-back berths in the NJCAA National Tournament.  The program had previously never been to the tournament.  Additionally, Pearl River has yet to fall below twenty wins since Sowers has arrived.  He previously spent one year at Massanutten Military Academy and two years at Ole Miss as a graduate assistant under Andy Kennedy.  At Massanutten, he helped the team to a 26-7 record and directly had a hand in recruiting a number of athletes who went on to play at Georgetown, Auburn, Penn State and Rhode Island, among other desirable destinations.

 

Amaurys Fermin - Alan Hancock

A decorated high school player in the Bronx, Fermin learned from legendary coaches John Mathis and NBA Hall of Famer Tiny Archibald.  He landed in the JUCO ranks and in two years earned a scholarship to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he facilitated the team and was responsible for one of the more successful seasons in the program's history. After graduation, Fermin played alongside NBA players Al Horford, Karl Anthony Towns and Francisco Garcia on the Dominican Republican National Team that under the direction of John Calipari won a gold medal in the 2012 CentroBasket Championships.  After a professional career that spanned four years, Fermin started his own AAU program and has recruited several four year players that have bolstered the Alan Hancock roster.  After a 23-9 finish this season, it's clear that his reputation as a recruiting relentless recruiter is paying off for the program located in Santa Maria, CA.

 

Ben Mandelbaum - Tallahassee

Mandelbaum has spent two years at Tallahassee and has helped with two successful ones.  After going 22-7 in his first year, the eagles went 27-6 in his second year with a berth to the NJCAA National Tournament as a 12 seed.  Even more impressive, the team sent seven players off of this year's team to division one schools.  Mandelbaum came to Tallahassee via UAB where he spent two years as a graduate assistant under Rob Ehsan.  In addition, he served as a student manager for Richard Pitino at Minnesota.  Expect Tallahassee to be a prominent program in years to come with the success that Mandelbaum has helped generate. 

 

Justin Labagh - CCSF

Coach Labagh may have one of the most impressive win loss records in the entire country sitting at 455 - 60 (.883). During the 2019-2020 season Labagh's CCSF squad went undefeated before the season was cut short due to Covid - 19. Over his 18 years at CCSF, Coach Labagh boasts 14 Coast Conference Championships, three State Championships, two times as State runner-up, four Final Fours, two Elite Eights, and five Sweet Sixteens. He has helped send 50 players to the Div I level and 24 Div II/III/NAIA levels, with 1 NBA first round draft pick. Labagh has been named the California coach of the year eight times. 

Coaches On the Rise 

 

Malik Bray - Glendale

In just his first year as the assistant at Glendale, Coach Bray has become a staple in Southern California Gyms. His tireless recruiting efforts a and personable coaching style make him a favorite amongst young athletes and his knowledge of the game translates to the summer, where he coaches in the UAA for West Coast Elite. With his connections, work ethic, and ability to recruit, Coach Bray is going to make waves on the coaching scene. 

Allan Brown - Lower Columbia College

Another unbelievable recruiter, Coach Brown has become one of the top assistant coaches in the entire NWAC. He has spent 5 years at LCC helping lead them to the playoffs in each of these years, with multiple final 4 appearances. Brown played JC basketball at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento for head coach James Giacomazzi.  While at Cosunmes, he was Top 5 in California JC assists and as team captain led the Hawks to the Sweet 16 playoffs. Coach Brown then moved on to Montana-Northern were he started two years under head coach Shawn Huse. 

 

 

Top Headlines

Siteheader

Quick Links