FILE - In this Thursday, March 14, 2019, file photo, Buffalo head coach Nate Oats yells instruction to players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Akron at the Mid-American Conference tournament in Cleveland. Buffalo showing signs of shedding college basketball’s mid-major label in preparing to make fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five years. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

SEC Hoops Coaching Carousel Update

March is a defining time of year for some programs in college basketball. Some are hopeful they’ll be cutting down the nets on their way to a championship. While others are making necessary changes for the future of their programs.

That’s the case with four programs in the Southeastern Conference, who have moved on from their head coaches. Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Arkansas are all in the search for a new head coach of their basketball program. Meanwhile, Alabama announced their new head coach Wednesday.

Texas A&M

The Aggies Athletic Department made the decision to move on from Billy Kennedy as their head coach after eight seasons. They finished the 2018 season with a 14-18 record.

Under the leadership of Kennedy, the Aggies made two NCAA Tournament, which they made it to the Sweet 16 both times. The Aggies were 151-116 during his tenure.


After an 0-18 conference record, Vanderbilt let go Bryce Drew of his coaching duties. It was just Drew’s third year in charge. However, new Vanderbilt athletic director Malcolm Turner felt it was best the program went in a new direction.

The Commodores were just 40-59 under the direction of Drew. However, he did bring in solid recruiting classes, including the ninth-ranked class in 2018 according to ESPN.


After four years as head coach, Avery Johnson and the university reached a buyout, mutually agreeing to part ways. The Crimson Tide were 75-62 under the former NBA player and coach, making the tournament just once.

As a result of Johnson’s departure, four Crimson Tide players from the 2018 season have entered the transfer portal. Johnson could be a hot name in coaching searches across the country.

However, the university already has their new guy for the job. The Crimson Tide have hired Nate Oats to be the next head coach of their basketball program.

Oats was Buffalo’s head coach, where they’ve reached the tournament three out of the four years he was in charge. The Bulls had a record of 97-43 under Oats and won the MAC regular season and conference tournament the last two years.


The most recent coaching casualty in the SEC came Tuesday, when Arkansas relieved Mike Anderson of his coaching duties.

Anderson was in charge of the Razorbacks for eight seasons, where they made the tournament three times. They were 169-102 under Anderson.

Uncertain Future

While some programs in the conference have made decisions regarding their future, LSU is still facing one. Head coach Will Wade was indefinitely suspended earlier this month as result of a recruiting scandal.

LSU is currently in the Sweet 16 under the direction of interim coach Tony Benford. The university is expected to conduct an investigation on the matter that could determine Wade’s future with the program.

Changing Times in the SEC

The turnover seen in the conference at the head coaching position may be correlated to the upward trajectory of the conference. The SEC is growing as one of the more competitive conferences across college basketball. Athletic departments are seeing this and making changes in their programs to hang with the rising conference.

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