The constant churn of players is one of the things that keeps fantasy college basketball continually interesting (or frustrating, depending on your point of view). Coaches tend to stick around a little longer than players, but this year's merry-go-round featured plenty of turnover. College coaches can dictate their teams' style of play perhaps more than any other major sport. Many of these new guys will have to create recipes using their predecessor's ingredients, and the early results may not be that tasty. Let's take a look at the high profile coaching changes. This week, we'll look at eight coaches east of the Mississippi River, saving the west coast teams for next week.
Archie Miller After nine inconsistent years under coach Tom Crean, the Hoosiers decided it was time to go in another direction. Under Crean, Indiana won the Big 10 regular season title twice and made it to the Sweet 16 three times, but also missed the Big Dance five times. Miller will stay in the Midwest after guiding Dayton to four straight NCAA Tournaments out of the A10. In six years with Miller, the Flyers won two thirds of their conference games. Miller will have his work cut out for him in his first year because Indiana will look to replace three of its top four scorers from 2016-17. The backcourt of Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk will bring experience, but will have to be aggressive defensively to satisfy Miller. Sophomore forward De'Ron Davis should anchor the team's defense and could be a nice offensive option with Thomas Bryant gone.
Anthony Grant To replace Miller, Dayton found a coach who had success at a similar level. Before a modest six-year run at Alabama, Grant had helped VCU win three Colonial Athletic Association championships in a row from 2007 to 2009. Grant was not able to translate that success in the SEC with just one NCAA tournament experience, and was fired after the 2015 season. He had returned to Billy Donovan's side at Oklahoma City, but seems like he could be a good bet to keep the good times rolling for the Flyers. Dayton has some returning pieces in forwards Xeyrius Williams and Ryan Miksell, but the key for the team could be redshirt freshman Kostas Antetokounmpo, Giannis' younger brother. He had a year to develop and could help the full-court press that Grant favors.
Mike Rhoades Grant's former school also had to find a new coach after Will Wade left for the more purple pastures of LSU. Rhoades began his coaching career as a 25-year-old phenom with Division III Randolph-Macon before becoming the associate head coach for the Rams under Shaka Smart from 2009 to 2014. For the past three seasons, Rhoades led a turnaround at Rice that was fueled by guard Marcus Evans. The guard showed his loyalty to Rhoades by transferring to VCU, but he will have to sit out in 2017-18. The team returns forward Justin Tillman and could be buoyed by a pair of transfers in forwards Khris Lane and Isaac Vann. Guard Johnathan Williams will continue to run the point and should be excited to play for Rhoades.
Patrick Ewing After the reign of John Thompson III stuttered to its finale, the Hoyas went in search of a big name coach. They could not have found a bigger in name in their history than Ewing, who led Georgetown to the 1984 championship and was a three-time first-time All-American as a Hoya. Ewing had been waiting for his opportunity to coach an NBA team with stops as an assistant with four franchises. With his wealth of coaching experience and hope to prop up his school, Ewing could be an inspired choice for the Hoyas. The team does not return its high-scoring pair of guards in L.J. Peak and Rodney Pryor, but junior center Jessie Govan could be inspired under Ewing's tutelage. Guards Jonathan Mulmore and Jagan Mosely will look to be more productive in extended playing time.
Brad Underwood Underwood's stay at Oklahoma State did not last long: just one season. He led the Cowboys to the NCAA Tournament, then jumped to Illinois to replace John Groce. The Illini had failed to reach the Big Dance or finish higher than seventh in the Big 10 in the last four seasons. Underwood will attempt to reach March Madness for the fifth straight season, but he will have to fashion a new team quickly to do so. Forward Leron Black (7.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg) is the team's leading returner. Underwood may be able to form a solid albeit young backcourt with four-star recruits Da'Monte Williams, Mark Smith, and Trent Frazier.
John Groce From 2008 to 2012, Groce led the Ohio Bobcats to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in his final season. He used that run to vault to the Big 10 where the Illini made the Big Dance in 2013, then had to settle for three NIT appearances. Groce is back in Ohio and the MAC with hopes that his time spent in the Land of Lincoln did not affect his Buckeye mojo. The Zips have not gone dancing since 2013 and had to replace Keith Dambrot who moved to Duquesne. Under Dambrot, Akron had won at least 20 games for the last 12 seasons. Groce can base his guard-oriented attack on Jimond Ivey, who started as a sophomore. Keep an eye on 6-11 freshman center Mark Kostelac.
Kevin Keatts When a coach takes a smaller conference team to multiple NCAA tournaments, he may be in line for a promotion. Keatts led UNC-Wilmington to a dominant three-year run in the CAA by winning 75.9 percent of its conference games and three straight postseason appearances (one CIT, two NCAAs). He replaces Mark Gottfied, who excelled in recruiting but had troubles turning talent into wins. Keatts should be able to fashion an interesting team with players such as guard Torin Dorn, sophomore center Omer Yurtseven, and graduate transfer Al Freeman from Baylor. Senior forward Abdul-Malik Abu could see a nice bump in production under Keatts' fast-paced style.
Keith Dambrot Dambrot left Duquesne as the school's winningest coach with an impressive 13-year run. He still may be most famous for coaching LeBron James in high school. Jim Ferry was the previous coach and he only managed a .500 record once in his five-year tenure. Dambrot will have his work cut out for himself in his first year in the A10. He has guard Mike Lewis, who scored 13.9 points last season, but the practice team will give the starters plenty of challenges. Dambrot has five transfers sitting out in preparation for 2018-19, including two of his former Akron charges – guard Tavian Dunn-Martin and center Michael Hughes – as well as guards Frankie Hughes (Missouri) and Marcus Weathers (Miami, OH).