This is the latest in Stadium’s “Conference Chain of Command” series in which we polled a handful of veteran coaches in every league to determine the best JOBS in each league, all the way down to the ones that are the most difficult.
Here are the nine categories that were utilized to determine the overall rankings.
- Tradition – The history of the program
- Media Exposure – Games on national television
- Game Atmosphere – Includes attendance
- Facilities – Not just the arena, but also practice facilities, weight room, locker rooms, etc.
- Selling Pros – Being able to sell not only NBA players, but also those who play overseas
- Admission Requirements – Ranked from easiest to get into to most difficult
- Budget/Resources – Includes coaches’ salaries, recruiting budget, travel budget, private planes, cost of attendance, etc.
- Buy Games – Programs who are bought the fewest number of times will rank first
- Geographical Recruiting Base – Proximity to players
This is how polling in the CAA shook out among coaches who voted, with one being the best and 10 being the worst:
1. Charleston (73) – The program has been to five NCAA tournaments, with the latest coming this past season. Charleston made the move to Division 1 in 1991, and joined the SoCon in 1998 before moving to the CAA in 2013. It’s considered the best job in the league due to tradition, atmosphere, facilities and much more.
Where they win: “Campus is nice and you are the only show in town. It’s one of the best mid-major arenas in the country. In fact, it’s one of the best mid-major jobs in America.” – CAA assistant coach
The knock: “As good as the location and the city are, at times the weather can be a distraction because there are so many others things to do.” – CAA assistant coach
2. UNCW (68) – The Seahawks have made six NCAA tournament appearances. Jerry Wainwright took them in 2000 and 2002, Brad Brownell in 2003 and 2006 and Kevin Keatts in 2016 and 2017. But not every coach has had high-level success. Kevin Eastman failed to go in four seasons from 1990-1994, Benny Moss was 41-74 in a four-year span from 2006 to 2010 and Buzz Peterson was 42-80 in his four-year tenure from 2010 to 2014.
Where they win: “Location. Great place to live, great community – and terrific atmosphere.” – CAA head coach
The knock: “Facilities are good, but there are better in the league. The same can be said for the recruiting base. It’s solid, but not in the top three or four of the league.” – CAA assistant coach
3. Hofstra (65) – The Pride have gone to the NCAA tourney four times, but they haven’t been since 2001 when they made back-to-back appearances under Jay Wright. The two other times came back in the 1970’s, when Roger Gaeckler was running the program. The biggest advantage for Hofstra is the wealth of mid-major players in the area.
Where they win: “New York. There are tons of players in the area, especially guys that can play at this level. Hofstra also has great facilities – including a new practice facility.” – CAA assistant coach
The knock: “New York has a lot of talent, but it’s not easy dealing with all the bullshit surrounding kids in New York. Plus, so many of them get over-recruited, and now a lot of them are leaving to go to prep schools.” – CAA assistant coach
4. Northeastern (52) – The Huskies have made eight NCAA tournament appearances – most recently in 2015 under current coach Bill Coen. Jim Calhoun took Northeastern five times in a six-year span from 1981 to 1986 and Karl Fogel was the helm in 1987 and 1991. The program can also sell pros like the late Reggie Lewis and current NBA guard Jose Juan Barea.
Where they win: “The city of Boston. It’s a great city, and Northeastern has the advantage of being able to recruit the prep schools and in the New England area.” – CAA head coach
The knock: “The facilities are old and outdated, and people just don’t care about Northeastern basketball with so many other things going on in Boston. It’s a pro sports town.” – CAA assistant coach
5. JMU (48) – The program has been to the NCAA tourney five times, including a three-year span from 1981 to 1983 under Lou Campanelli, who left in 1985 to coach at Cal. That was the same year that JMU went into the CAA. Lefty Driesell took the Dukes to the NCAA tourney in 1994, but Sherman Dillard was unable to get there in his tenure (1997-2004), Dean Keener couldn’t do it from 2004-2007 and Matt Brady went once in eight seasons at the helm in 2013.
Where they win: They have a passionate fan base, and have a new arena coming in 2020. They support the program.” – CAA assistant coach
The knock: “Campus isn’t that easy to get to. It’s two hours from any major airport, 2-3 hours from any recruiting base. And the administration has unrealistic expectations for men’s basketball.” – CAA assistant coach
6. Drexel (45) – There have been four NCAA tournament appearances – in 1986, 1994, 1995 and 1996 when Bill Herrion was the coach and the program was in the NAC. It’s been up and down for the Dragons since they went into the CAA back in 2001. Bruiser Flint had some successful seasons, but was fired in 2016 after 15 years without getting to the NCAA tourney.
Where they win: “The administration gets it, and they have the resources to succeed. One of the best things about the job is the proximity to players.” – CAA assistant coach
The knock: “Facilities. The DAC is what it is. It’s the worst arena in the league.” – CAA head coach
T7. Delaware (43) – Steve Steinwedel took the Blue Hens to the NCAA tourney back in 1992 and 1993 and Mike Brey went with the program in 1998 and 1999. Since Delaware went into the CAA in 2001, there have been just a handful of seasons with at least a .500 overall record. David Henderson struggled in his tenure, Monte Ross had a good three-year stretch from 2011-2014, but the other seven were fairly forgettable. Delaware ranks towards the middle of the league in most of the categories.
Where they win: “Pretty good location and facilities, and a solid recruiting base. But the best selling point? Definitely that it’s the number one party school in the country.” – CAA assistant
The knock: “No real tradition, at least not in a long time. They have been to the tourney just once in the last 19 years.” – CAA head coach
T7. Towson (43) – Terry Truax took the Tigers to their lone NCAA tournament appearances in 1990 and 1991 back when they were in the ECC. Towson spent three years in the Big South (1992-1995), one in the NAC (1996), and four in the AEC (1997-2001) before landing in the CAA in 2001. In the first 11 seasons in the league, there wasn’t a single year with a record of at least .500. They won a single game in 2011-12, but Pat Skerry has won at least 18 games in five of his seven seasons.
Where they win: “The location and the arena. There are tons of players in the area, and the arena is awesome. But that’s about it.” – CAA assistant coach
The knock: “The resources are bad, really bad – and the program has no real tradition.” – CAA head coach
9. W&M (32) – The Tribe is still searching for the elusive NCAA tourney bid. The program is one of four original D-1 teams that hasn’t gone. W&M went into the CAA in 1982. Bruce Parkhill (1977-87) couldn’t do it, Chuck Swenson (1987-1994) was unable to, Charles Woollum (1994-2000) came up short, Rick Boyages (2000-2003) was 0-for-3 and current coach Tony Shaver has yet to do it since he took over in 2003.
Where they win: “They have a niche in recruiting because they go after academic kids. They can sell academics.” – CAA assistant coach
The knock: “While the academics are a blessing, they can also be a curse. They can’t get a large segment of players into school.” – CAA head coach
10. Elon (26) – The program went from the Big South to the SoCon in 2003, and into the CAA in 2014. Elon ranks dead last in four categories, and second to the bottom in two others. Matt Matheny has done a nice job in his four years in the league, and the Phoenix finished 10-8 in the CAA two years ago.
Where they win: “They have a new arena and an administration and a community that gets it.” – CAA head coach
The knock: “There’s no history, and they are the worst in the league in terms of spending. It’s the toughest job in the league. Clearly.” – CAA assistant