(Author Note: This article was originally written on 7/19/15)
A few Horizon League teams added big names to their coaching staffs. Here is the rundown:
Detroit Mercy added former Titan star and NBA player Jermaine Jackson, who most recently was Head Coach at Mt. Clemens High School for two seasons. He should be able to bring some added excitement to the program with his name alone. His son, Jermaine Jackson Jr., is one of the top high school juniors in the state and has already received offers from some power conference schools. The Titans likely offered him a scholarship prior to his dad becoming a coach. Coach McCallum undoubtedly hopes he will want to play for his dad in college. It should be noted that Jackson left his head coaching job at Mt. Clemens amid controversy about allegations of game stats being altered. I thought that former Titan star Rashad Phillips might be considered for the position. At the recent Detroit Titan Team Camp, I asked Phillips about this. He basically said that he is doing well with his basketball training company and is not interested in coaching teams now. When I asked him if he would “keep the door ajar” about the possibility of coaching in the future, he said he would. Although, the vibe I got from him was that the door was going to stay shut.
Illinois-Chicago added Brendan Mullins in a somewhat unprecedented intra-conference move. Mullins spent the past few seasons in the same position at Wright State. New Flames head coach Steve McClain is really looking to bring the Flames back to prominence quickly. The move makes since for Mullins, as he is originally from Illinois.
Northern Kentucky hired former Butler Bulldogs standout player Ronald Nored. Known as a defensive stalwart, Nored was a two-time Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a key contributor to Butler’s magical back-to-back National Championship game appearances. Nored spent the last couple seasons working in player development for the Boston Celtics. He is now the newest branch on the extensive Brad Stevens coaching tree.
Oakland added 24 year old Drew Valentine to its coaching staff. He is only two seasons removed from playing for the Golden Grizzlies. He spent the last two years as a graduate assistant at Michigan State. Both Greg Kampe and Tom Izzo have raved about Valentine in interviews, so it will be interesting to see how far he goes in coaching.