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Meet the Big Ten's six new basketball coaches

On3 imageby:Brian Neubert04/23/24


Dusty May Introductory Press Conference Michigan Coach Talks Vision, Philosophy, Accepting Job

As is now normal, there will be a a ton of new players in the Big Ten next season. But, there will also be many new coaches. Here’s a quick look at the half dozen new coaches who’ll join the conference next season.


Profile: One of the hotter names in coaching-carousel world the past two seasons, May jumps to Michigan after taking Florida Atlantic to a Final Four last season, then having it in the top 25 much of this season before a first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Northwestern. May, 47, has only been a head coach for five seasons, so the sustainability/one-hit-wonder question will be there, as it would for any coach at this stage of their career jumping to a premiere job.
Style of Play: May’s recent teams at FAU were very good offensively and Michigan’s additions from the transfer wire have been largely been based on offensive skill. This looks much more like the John Beilein model at Michigan than not.
Recruiting Profile: Michigan has to load up on transfers right now, and presumably will keep in that market, along with recruiting the best players in the Midwest and nationally. Now, it’s important to note that systematic/commitment issues were part of Juwan Howard’s undoing. Terrence Shannon Jr. and Caleb Love were both denied admission as transfers and Hunter Dickinson left over NIL money, which one would think would never happen at a place like Michigan.
History with Purdue: There are none to speak of from his coaching career but May is an Indiana alumnus who served as a student manager in Bloomington during the Bob Knight Era. He also worked in administration at IU for three seasons after before first getting into coaching at Eastern Michigan, a stone’s throw from Ann Arbor. May was an assistant at Florida under Mike White when Purdue beats the Gators in 2015 to win the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at the Mohegan Sun.


Profile: The new Southern Cal coach jumped at the chance to get out of Arkansas after a disastrous season, the 59-year-old, sometimes-shirtless coaching vagabond adding another stop during his well-traveled career, this being his 16th job since 1989 and third head coaching job in less than a decade.
Musselman joins Indiana’s Mike Woodson as the two Big Ten coaches with NBA experience, though Musselman’s came from 1998-2007, a long time ago.
Style of Play: Remains to be seen as Musselman takes on West Coast talent and the sort of big-ticket players USC can draw, but at Arkansas, his teams were pressure-heavy on defense and tried to play fast on offense.
Recruiting Profile: Musselman has always been a transfer guy. That’s how he built Nevada, and it’s presumably a market USC and its NIL funding will really involve themselves in. Otherwise, SC is going to recruit SoCal, but also one-and-dones and five-star-types coast to coast. The likelihood of them recruiting very often in the traditional Big Ten footprint isn’t high. Purdue and SC likely won’t encounter one another much.
History with Purdue: Not much here, except for Purdue playing that charity game at Arkansas this season, an overtime Razorback win long before Arkansas’ season went sideways and Musselman got out ahead of the posse. A hardly relevant connection: Musselman coached legacy and former Purdue player Kendall Stephens at Nevada after he left Purdue.


Profile: An eventual Hall of Famer, the 65-year-old brings 755 wins, one Final Four appearance and three Pac-12 (RIP) Coach of the Year honors to the Big Ten, where he’ll wind down his career these next few seasons, but not before adding another heavyweight name to the league’s roster of coaches. Altman is at his fourth head-coaching stop, as Oregon followed runs at pre-Big East Creighton, Kansas State and Marshall.
Style of Play: Altman has always had access to the sort of talent to play fast offensively, but has also been able to get quality big men aligning with Altman’s long-held belief in playing through the post. Expect flexible and pragmatic offense from the Ducks, very similar to Purdue philosophically.
Recruiting Profile: Oregon has Nike. That’s what you need to know. Oregon has been one of the most feared recruiting adversaries in college basketball and that won’t change in the NIL Era. Purdue and Oregon likely won’t encounter one another much.
History with Purdue: None recently — Altman is one of the few prominent head coaches Purdue hasn’t faced under Matt Painter — but when Altman was at Creighton, it was a member of the Missouri Valley, same as Southern Illinois. So Painter would have faced Altman both in his one season as the Salukis’ head coach. but also the years prior when he was an assistant under Bruce Weber.


Profile: Diebler, 37, got one of the Big Ten’s top jobs after going 6-2 — with a win over Purdue in his first game — as interim coach following the in-season firing of Chris Holtman.
Style of Play: It’s too early to know what Diebler’s first team of his own will look like, but important to note that Ohio State played with real energy for him. Was that adrenaline on the Buckeyes’ part or something more?
Recruiting Profile: No matter who the coach is, Ohio State is the big dog in talent-rich Ohio, one of the biggest brands in the Midwest, a national player and one of Nike’s favored sons. They will always have players. Purdue has won a lot of head-to-head meetings with the Buckeyes in recent years, but on very specific types of player who’ve been inclined to commit early to the Boilermakers.
History with Purdue: Diebler’s first game was a shocking upset of the Boilermakers, brought on by Purdue’s season-long tie to defeat: Turnovers.


Profile: One of the better coaches in college basketball, though one whose name doesn’t always resonate widely in that context, Cronin, 52, seemed like a strange fit at UCLA, taking over a glamour program after leading gritty Cincinnati for years. But it’s worked for the most part. UCLA was bad this season, but went to the Final Four right away under Cronin, during the Bubble season. But how does Cronin work long-term with the sort of talent you have to get at UCLA? How does the NIL set-up stack up in L.A.? If UCLA doesn’t hit the ground running in the Big Ten, would Cronin look to move again?
Style of Play: He’s always been a defensive coach, teams built on physicality, rebounding and toughness. That fell off some at UCLA this season, but the year prior it was No. 2 nationally in defensive efficiency.
Recruiting Profile: Same as USC. UCLA is a national brand but obviously relies heavily on the West Coast for talent.
History with Purdue: Purdue lost to Cronin’s Cincinnati team in 2015, but Cronin did not coach that game as he was present, but on medical leave that season. Cronin said then he always considered Painter as being cut from the same coaching cloth as him since they came from philosophically aligned programs and both came up through the Ohio Valley, Cronin from Weber State and Painter Eastern Illinois. Purdue has never met UCLA under Painter, but obviously Boilermaker alumnus John Wooden made his name in coaching in Westwood. Also, a fun fact: UCLA’s 2021 Final Four run began with a win over Michigan State in … Mackey Arena.


Profile: Sprinkle, 47, did one of the best coaching jobs in college basketball this season, leading Utah State to 28 wins, the regular season title in the six-bid Mountain West and an NCAA Tournament win over TCU. This came after he and his staff basically recruited a whole new team after arriving at Utah State. He was previously the head coach at Montana State.
Style of Play: Hard to draw any conclusions based on Utah State, because that was a brand-new team assembled via the portal, but that Aggie team really reimagined positional roles, though that might have just been a luxury Great Osobor afforded them.
Recruiting Profile: Washington will be portal-heavy, especially early, but then typically Pacific Northwest- and West Coast-dependent. Purdue and Washington shouldn’t be butting heads often in recruiting.
History with Purdue: Sprinkle’s one season at Utah State ended with a blowout loss to the Boilermakers in Round 2 of the NCAA Tournament in Indy. By that point, the Washington job was open and it was pretty evident he’d be headed back to U-Dub, where his father played football.

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