The schools are Massachusetts, Duquesne, La Salle and St. Bonaventure. Their names are Steve Lappas, Danny Nee, Billy Hahn and as of Tuesday morning, Jan van Breda Kolff. Van Breda Kolff officially took over as the new head coach at St. Bonaventure, replacing Jim Baron, and continuing the fast-moving Atlantic 10 coaching carousel that has brought an experienced bunch to the conference.
Baron left the Bonnies program after a decade at the helm to resurrect another A-10 school, Rhode Island. The URI program, which advanced to the Elite Eight in 1997-98, lost 48 games during the last two seasons, leading to Jerry DeGregorio’s resignation at the season’s end.
Former Villanova head coach Steve Lappas will replace Bruiser Flint as the UMass head coach. Lappas left Villanova having led the Wildcats to two No. 3 seeds and a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament from 1995-97.
Lappas and Jan van Breda Kolff have a little tournament history together. When Villanova won the NIT championship in 1994, the team came from a double-digit halftime deficit to defeat van Breda Kolff’s Vanderbilt University squad. After six years at Vanderbilt, van Breda Kolff went to Pepperdine University where he coached the Waves for two seasons.
Lappas is not the only new A-10 coach with a NIT championship under his belt. Duquesne’s new head man, Danny Nee, took the University of Nebraska to its only NIT title in 1995-96. Nee’s team defeated A-10’s St. Joseph’s and Phil Martelli. Danny Nee left Robert Morris College after recording a 7-22 record and replaces Darelle Porter, who coached the Dukes to a 9-21 finish this season.
Billy Hahn, a longtime associate head coach under Gary Williams at Maryland, will get his first head coaching position at La Salle. Hahn takes over for Speedy Morris, who was fired after 15 years as the Explorers coach.