18 Mid-Major Basketball Coaches on the Rise

In college basketball, the spotlight often shines brightest on the big-name programs in Power Five conferences. However, in mid-major basketball, talented coaches are gaining recognition for their coaching ability. 

Here are 18 mid-major men’s basketball coaches on the rise and ready to take the next step in their coaching careers:

Dusty May, Florida Atlantic

May is the country’s most famous mid-major basketball coach. He took over a Florida Atlantic program with minimal success and one NCAA Tournament appearance in its history. May has excelled, posting winning seasons in all six of his seasons. He guided Florida Atlantic to the Final Four last season, and the Owls can potentially make another deep run in the tournament this season. May is one of the premier coaching candidates in college basketball due to his proven success in building a program and developing talent. The lingering question remains: will May choose to leave Paradise?

Josh Schertz, Indiana State

After posting a .830 winning percentage and tons of postseason success at Division II Lincoln Memorial (Tenn.) in 13 seasons, Schertz has restored Indiana State into a competitive program. The Sycamores have won 20 games in the last two years and boast a .612 winning percentage in his three years at the helm. They also might make it to the NCAA Tournament this year for the first time since 2011.

Amir Abdur-Rahim, South Florida

Abdur-Rahim led Kennesaw State to its first winning season in its Division I program history, with a record of 26–9 last season. The Owls also won their first Atlantic Sun title and went to their first NCAA Division I tournament. Kennesaw State’s success led to South Florida hiring Abdur-Rahim last offseason. The move paid off, as he guided USF to a top-25 ranking and its first American Athletic Conference regular-season title.

Danny Sprinkle, Utah State

Sprinkle led his alma mater, Montana State, to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in program history before accepting the Utah State opening in the offseason. He then guided Utah State to a 26-5 regular-season record and the program’s second Mountain West regular-season title this season. The Aggies are an NCAA Tournament team with the potential to make a deep run.

Bucky McMillan, Samford

McMillan posted a 333-74 record in 12 seasons as an Alabama high school boys basketball coach. Samford made an unconventional move, hiring McMillan as its head coach in 2020. The move has worked out well. This season, Samford qualified for its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000. McMillan has led Samford to three 20-plus win seasons in his four years at the helm.

Pat Kelsey, Charleston

In his 12 years as a head coach, Kelsey has built two mid-major basketball programs into NCAA Tournament teams. He guided Winthrop to two tournament appearances and led Charleston to back-to-back appearances. Charleston is 75-26 in his three years at the helm.

Darian DeVries, Drake

Drake has had six consecutive 20-plus win seasons under DeVries. This year, the Bulldogs qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season. DeVries can be picky when it comes to his next job. Drake has developed into a top Missouri Valley Conference program and has a legitimate shot at making a run in the tournament this year. His son, Tucker, is a junior and the team’s best player.

Mark Byington, James Madison

In his four years at the helm, Byington has turned James Madison into an NCAA Tournament team after taking over a struggling program. This season, James Madison has a 31-3 record and can make a run in the tournament. Before James Madison, Byington had four 20-plus win seasons in seven years at Georgia Southern. 

10 Additional Mid-Major Basketball Coaches to Know: 

  • Niko Medved, Colorado State
  • Will Wade, McNeese
  • Leon Rice, Boise State
  • Eric Henderson, South Dakota State
  • Matt Langel, Colgate
  • John Becker, Vermont
  • Bryce Drew, Grand Canyon
  • Robert Jones, Norfolk State
  • Mitch Henderson, Princeton
  • Bob Richey, Furman

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Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of Mid-Major Basketball and has covered college basketball since 2013. He grew up around mid-major college basketball and has developed a strong passion for writing stories as an award-winning journalist. He has extensive experience covering the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Panthers and Nebraska Cornhuskers as a credentialed media member. His website,, is a leading source for MLB draft content.

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