There are three new hires this year, but we’ll go down our usual list of schools so everyone’s clear on where people stand.
UAF: Greg Sparling is going into his second season with the Nooks after spending 22 years at CWU. Finished playing at CWU in ’90, and so we assume he’s about 50 -in other words: he has a lot of time left in his career.
UAA: Rusty Osborne is going into his 16th season with the Seawolves. Got his BS at the University of Texas in ’88 and so we assume he’s early mid-50s and thus has plenty of years left.
SFU: Steve Hansen is going into his third year with the Clan and graduated from high school (‘scuse us: secondary school) in 1992, making him approximately mid-40s. He’s got a lot of years left in the tank and looks to have the Clan on a great trajectory.
WWU: Tony Dominguez is going into his eighth season with the Vikings and this will be our fourth year calling for his head. He’s never made the tournament with his own guys and when the NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR has transferred out of your program, it’s time for the admin to pull the trigger. For those wondering: He’s also about 50 years old, having graduated from WWU in ’94.
SPU: Grant Leep is going into his fourth season as the head coach of the Falcons. He is rapidly approaching 40, having graduated from the University of Washington in ’02.
SMU: Alex Pribble has moved on to become an assistant at D1 Seattle U.! He spent four amazing seasons with the Saints.
CWU: Brandon Rinta is entering his second season with the Wildcats. He graduated from CWU in ’01, so congrats to Brandon on hitting the big 4-0.
NNU: Paul Rush is entering his third season as the head coach of the Nighthawks. It’s unclear how old he is seeing as there is zero alma mater information available about him -we assume he’s mid-late 30s, seeing as he started coaching high school in 2003, and it wouldn’t surprise us if he was doing it concurrently with his undergraduate enrollment.
MSUB: Mick Durham is entering his second season with the Yellowjackets after spending seven years at UAF. He graduated from Montana State in ’79, and thus is likely to be approaching or just past 60.
CU-PDX: Brad Barbarick has stepped down after 25 years at CU-Portland. He’s in his mid-50s, having graduated from Columbia Christian in the mid 80s, so still plenty of years left in the tank.
WOU: Jim Shaw has bumped back up to D1, becoming an assistant at WSU after spending four years with the Wolves. He graduated from WOU in ’85, thus is in approximately his mid-late 50s.
TL;DR: Alex Pribble/SMU —> Seattle U. assistant; Jim Shaw/WOU —> WSU assistant; Brad Barbarick/CU-PDX —> stepped down.
Aside from Tony Dominguez (and maybe even including Tony Dominguez) everyone is pretty safe. Greg Sparling, Mick Durham, and Brandon Rinta are all early on; Rusty Osborne continues to underperform but should still be safe especially with the institutional instability; and Steve Hansen, Grant Leep, and Paul Rush is doing well -the three should all receive contract extensions.
Now, let’s talk about who the new coaches are:
Saint Martin’s: AARON LANDON!!!!!!
We love this hire. He comes via South Puget Sound Community College, so he knows the area, he knows the guys, he’s come to a ton of SMU games, and his players have been great both on the court and as human beings. We go to a lot of SMU games and so we’ve talked to a ton of his formers and… All we can say is that SMU knocked this hire out of the park, AD Bob Grisham is still king. He had a huge task post-Prib because the expectations have risen, and… Again, we’re just thrilled. While Coach Landon does have a bit of a rebuild on his hands, we would more term it a regeneration because he’s already been coaching in the area, guys already know him, so all of those connections are already there. It is absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to get down there.
CU-Portland: Rodrick Rhodes.
We’re pretty cool to this hire, just because he has minimal background in the Northwest. He’s originally from Kentucky, went to UK before transferring to USC in ’97 (meaning he’s mid-40s), played in the NBA and overseas, then went home and coached in the east for a long while. He’s got elite pedigree as a former Mac All-American and first round NBA draft pick, but… He’s from back east. While he most recently coached at NNU for a couple of years, we are partial to hires within the west coast coaching fraternity. That said, his pedigree suggests he has a great basketball mind and so it’s awesome to have that in the GNAC coaching realm, and to a point it’s good to bring in new blood from the basketball Taj Mahal. ‘Taj Mahal’ not Mecca because the basketball mecca is Indiana no ifs, ands, nor buts.
Western Oregon: Wes Pifer.
We’re mixed about this hire. Again: he’s not west coast and it leaves a bad taste in our mouth. That said he’s clearly a super smiley person and smiley people are the best. We feel warm happy feelings just looking at him AND he has a fantastic resume and background in D2, so… We’ll see. Western Oregon returns pretty literally nothing (Riley Hawken isn’t using his final year of eligibility) which means it’s all on Coach Pifer and so… It could be a big rebuilding year or they could be relatively fine. We’ll see. Again: We’re trying to acclimatize to the idea that it is good to get new knowledge in the ranks, but… Can’t we just do that via participating in coaching conferences back east and call it good?
That’s all for this week. Next week we’ll take a look at the returning players.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!