Five Basketball Coaches ETSU Will Consider Hiring (and a few more they probably won’t)

Marky Billson
10 min readMar 13

Athletic Director Richard Sander historically always hires the best. He’s back now to find the man who will lead the Buccaneers back to prominence.

Marky Billson

Who will be ETSU’s next men’s basketball coach?

Athletic director Richard Sander has a track record of hiring good coaches. He hired Steve Forbes to lead the Buccaneers in 2016, and the result was two conference titles, a school-record 30-victory season in 2020, and annual Southern Conference championship contention.

Sander (left) hiring Steve Forbes

Back at Virginia Commonwealth, he brought in Sonny Smith from Auburn in 1989, just one season off taking the Tigers to five straight NCAA Tournaments.

Smith took VCU to the NCAA Tournament in 1996. His successor was Mack McCarthy, himself a year removed from taking Chattanooga to the Sweet 16 of March Madness.

After McCarthy posted a 20-victory season at his final year in Richmond, Sander hired Jeff Capel to be the Rams’ head coach in 2002. Just eight years off of playing for a national championship as a freshman at Duke, Capel guided VCU to the NCAA Tournament in his second season at the helm before departing for Oklahoma. Today he’s the coach at Pitt, where the Panthers figure to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016 this season.

Anthony Grant followed, hired right off Billy Donovan’s staff at National Champion Florida. Grant proceed to post a 76–25 record in Richmond, taking the Rams to the NCAAs twice and the NIT once in three years at the helm.

So forget local Division II coaches or anyone that isn’t from the big time. Even when Forbes came from Wichita State to ETSU, the Shockers were only a year off an undefeated regular season.

Here’s a look at five candidates who Sander might be looking at to fill the void:

  1. Kellen Sampson, Houston assistant.
Marky Billson

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