In this series, we’ll be giving props to some of the best assistants in college basketball.
For each conference, I polled at least 20 coaches (primarily assistants) and asked for them to name the top assistant coaches in their respective league. Is it a perfect way of determining the elite assistants? Maybe not, but it seems far more accurate than any other method.
I’ve also made sure to include some info on each coach that’s recognized — as well as quotes from both their boss and another assistant in the league.
Steve Curran, St. Bonaventure | The Merrimack College standout graduated in 1992 and began his coaching career in 1994 at his alma mater. Curran was an assistant at UNH (1999-2001), Robert Morris (2001-04), Siena (2004-05) and Central Connecticut State (2005-10) before joining the Bonnies in 2010.
“We have been blessed to have Steve as a part of our staff over the last decade. He has been instrumental in the program’s success. A true professional. Passionate, hard-working, loyal. A man of high character who is committed to our student-athletes. A great evaluator of talent. He has all the qualities to be an excellent head coach.” – St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt
“Works his ass off, to start. Is always on the road. He really complements Coach Schmidt well. They know exactly what they are looking for at St. Bonaventure, and he does a great job of identifying under-the-radar talent that fits them. Secondly, I think they do the best job in the league of developing players.” – A-10 assistant
Anthony Solomon, Dayton | Solomon played at Virginia in the mid-1980s and began his coaching career at Bowling Green in 1989 after one season as a grad assistant at Delaware. He was also an assistant at Manhattan (1992-93), Richmond (1993-94), Virginia (1994-98) and Notre Dame (2000-03) before spending four years as the head coach at St. Bonaventure from 2003-07. He spent one season at Dayton (2007-08), then went back to Notre Dame (2008-16) with Mike Brey before spending one year at Georgetown (2016-17) and landing with Anthony Grant at Dayton in 2018.
“Anthony Solomon is a great coach, mentor and leader. His coaching experience spans three-plus decades as an assistant and as a head coach at St. Bonaventure. His reputation and character are impeccable and we’re honored to have him as a teammate.” – Dayton coach Anthony Grant
“Anthony Solomon has experience throughout all parts of the profession. He uses the relationships he has formed during that time to always be in there on good players. In addition, he seems to play a big part in game-planning – not to meention just being a genuinely good person.” – A-10 assistant
Will Bailey, Saint Louis (now at South Carolina) | The Chicago native played at UAB in the mid-1990s, and also started his coaching career there as a student assistant coach and later as a grad assistant. Bailey was an assistant at Chicago State, Maine and ETSU before spending six seasons as an assistant at La Salle. Bailey was hired by Travis Ford at Saint Louis in 2016, and just joined Frank Martin at South Carolina.
“Will is an extremely hard worker. He’s willing to put in the time to help players become better on the court and off of it. He has great knowledge of the game and is a relentless recruiter!” – Saint Louis coach Travis Ford
“Hard worker, not a self-promoter, good recruiter and been to the [NCAA] Tournament at each place he’s been.” – A-10 assistant
Kevin Sutton, Rhode Island | Sutton both played and later started his coaching career at James Madison. He also spent time coaching in the high school ranks as a head coach at Montrose Christian, Bishop McNamara and Montverde Academy. Sutton coached at George Washington (2011-13), Georgetown (2013-16) and Pittsburgh (2016-18) before joining the URI staff in 2018.
“An incredible addition to my first coaching staff. Brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and connections. Kevin is a teacher. I’ve known and respected him as a great basketball mind for over 20 years. He’s a great man, father and mentor. Kevin is tremendously connected due to his 30 years of basketball experience as a coach. He has all the characteristics and prerequisites to be a head coach. Our program is stronger because of his presence — and quite fortunate!” – Rhode Island coach David Cox
“Great recruiter, great coach, you can tell the players enjoy working with him. He makes it a point to always say hello on the road or before the game. A veteran in college hoops and a truly genuine guy.” – A-10 assistant
Ricardo Greer, Dayton* | The former Pittsburgh star (1997-2001) played professionally for years, primarily in France, before getting into coaching at UCF as the director of player development. Greer joined Anthony Grant’s staff at Dayton in 2018.
“Ricardo Greer is establishing himself as one of the rising stars in our profession. His character, work ethic, passion and knowledge of the game have been instrumental in our growth and success over the past three years. I’m honored to have him as a teammate.” – Dayton coach Anthony Grant
“Ricardo is very knowledgeable about the game, a very unique strategizer in recruiting and an old-fashioned hard worker.” – A-10 assistant
Duane Simpkins, George Mason* | The former DeMatha and Maryland standout played professionally overseas and also in the USBL and ABA. Simpkins was the coordinator of basketball operations for one season at Towson, then spent three years at UNCG before arriving at George Mason in 2015.
“Duane will absolutely be a head coach soon. He has helped us make huge inroads in DMV recruiting, and is a great player development [mastermind] and strategist. A star!” – George Mason coach Dave Paulsen
“He is diligent, hard-working and detail-oriented.” – A-10 assistant
Marcus Jenkins, Richmond* | Jenkins played at Air Force before serving his three-year Air Force commitment as a logistics officer. Jenkins was hired as the director of basketball operations at Richmond in 2007 and spent four years as an assistant at Princeton (2011-2015) before returning to Richmond in 2015.
“Marcus has excelled in every aspect of college coaching. He has recruited incredibly well and has helped our players develop while in the program. He has established tremendous relationships in our community and beyond.” – Richmond coach Chris Mooney
“Marcus’ impact on Richmond has been evident in all facets of the program. Since his return, the program has taken great steps to return to a viable candidate to win the A-10 and make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Recruiting and developing multiple all-league players — coaching one of the best offenses statistically — shows that he has greatly impacted Richmond’s resurgence. No doubt Marcus should be running his own program soon.” – A-10 assistant
Rob Jones, Richmond* | The Jefferson City, Mo. native starred at Toccoa Falls College in Georgia. He was a varsity assistant and JV coach at Salem High in Conyers, Ga. before coaching as an assistant at Alabama-Huntsville in 2004-05. Jones then went to Richmond in 2005 as the director of basketball operations, and was elevated to assistant coach in 2008.
“Rob is the hardest-working person I know. He is fully dedicated to our players and their improvement. He is exceptionally detail-oriented while also understanding the big picture of how a program runs.” – Richmond coach Chris Mooney
“Consummate professional whenever you see him out on the road. Always appears to be someone (Chris) Mooney leans on from a tactical perspective. Appears to have a great connection to the players when you watch him interact with them in pregame. Overall, great dude.” – A-10 assistant
*Four-way tie for fifth place.