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Coaching Changes Shake Up Big 12 Men’s Basketball This Offseason

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Saturday, Feb., 20, 2021. (Stephen Spillman)

Long-time West Virginia coach Bob Huggins often refers to the Big 12 as the best men’s basketball conference in America. His reasoning has long been that the Big 12 has the best coaches in the country. Huggins is a member of the 900-win club, Kansas coach Bill Self won a national championship in 2008 and Baylor’s Scott Drew has the Bears in this year’s national title game.

However, the coaching situation across the Big 12 figures to be very different when the season starts this winter, as at least four Big 12 teams will have new leaders next season.

Iowa State

Out: Steve Prohm / In: T.J. Otzelberger

The conference’s coaching carousel started up this offseason when Iowa State parted ways with six-year head coach Steve Prohm in mid-March. The Cyclones were the worst team in the conference this season, finished with a 2-22 record and going winless, 0-18, in Big 12 play.

Three days after Prohm was let go, ISU announced that former UNLV coach T.J. Otzelberger would replace him. Otzelberger, a one-time ISU assistant, coached for three seasons at South Dakota State (70-33 record) and spent the last two with UNLV (29-30 record).

Oklahoma

Out: Lon Kruger / In: Porter Moser

It was a bit of surprise when Oklahoma coach Long Kruger, one of the most accomplished coaches in college basketball history, announced his retirement after an 11-year stay with the Sooners.

OU spent a couple of weeks searching for a replacement before naming former Loyola-Chicago coach Porter Moser as the Sooners’ new coach late last week. Moser spent eight years with the Ramblers (188-140 record), making headlines with a Final Four run in 2018 and a Sweet Sixteen appearance this season.

Texas

Out: Shaka Smart / In: Chris Beard

The next domino to fall was Shaka Smart resigning from Texas after six seasons. The Longhorns had a bit of a breakthrough this season under Smart, rocketing into the top five this season. A first-round exit in the NCAA men’s tournament, however, did little to change the narrative that he has underachieved since arriving in Austin. The same day, March 26, it was announced that Smart would take over as the head coach at Marquette.

To replace Smart, UT went with a familiar face in Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard. Beard, a former Texas graduate assistant, coached the Red Raiders for five seasons (122-55 record), including a run to the Elite Eight in 2018.

Texas Tech

Out: Chris Beard / In: ???

With Chris Beard off to Austin, Texas Tech has the final vacancy in the Big 12 this offseason. TTU is currently in the middle of its coaching search, but a few names have been circulating as favorites.

UPDATE – 4/16/21

Just a few hours after publishing, Texas Tech announced Mark Adams as the program’s new head coach.

Kansas

In: Bill Self (forever)

One team that will not be looking for a new coach anytime soon is Kansas, as KU locked up head coach Bill Self with a lifetime contract over the weekend. The contract is a five-year rolling agreement that will automatically end another year at the conclusion of each season for the rest of Self’s career. Talk about job security.

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Cody spent the last two years getting his master's degree in journalism from WVU. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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