Busting Brackets

Missouri Valley Conference Basketball: A look at the 5 new head coaches for 2024-25

Missouri v Arkansas
Missouri v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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After one of the Missouri Valley Conference’s better seasons in recent memory, the league is enduring a face lift like it has rarely seen. There are five new head basketball coaches and roster turnover that looks like a shift change at a car factory. There is one player remaining from last year’s three all-Valley squads.

Two of the departing coaches earned bigger paychecks elsewhere. Regular season champion Josh Schertz of Indiana State signed with Saint Louis University and tournament title winner Darian DeVries of Drake moved to West Virginia. Four of the remaining seven Valley coaches have been at their current posts, three years or less. None has enjoyed a winning record in league play.

Three long-time coaches remain. Ben Jacobson will enter his 19th season at Northern Iowa. Brian Wardle is heading into his tenth at Bradley and Belmont’s Casey Alexander is pressing in to his sixth in Nashville. 

The fact that all five of the incoming coaches have been head coaches before, will give fans a sense of security knowing their new leader isn’t a rookie in his role. But all five of those rosters have been decimated and the turnover at Belmont and Evansville isn’t far behind. Bradley and Valparaiso might have had the most stable offseason to date. 

Murray State and Illinois State sustained some significant losses but managed to hold on to some key contributors. Jacobson’s team underwent some very abnormal turbulence. Teams are starting to sign transfer players, but coaching changes and the ‘portal pandemic’ have made this the most disruptive Valley spring and summer since 2022. 

That was the year that Loyola Chicago left the Valley and Belmont, Illinois Chicago, and Murray State joined the MVC

Who are these coaches and what do we know about them? All five have resumes that hint at the ability to be successful in their new positions.