Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: 10 best first-year head coaches through January of 2023-24 season

Brigham Young v Texas Tech
Brigham Young v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages
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4. Danny Sprinkle – Utah State

This situation is a bit different from many of the others we’re considering today. Utah State has been in great shape in recent years, with three NCAA Tournaments in the last five seasons under Craig Smith (now at Utah) and Ryan Odom (now at VCU). The Aggies were thrust into another coaching search with hopes of maintain this momentum and it certainly seems like they’ve succeeded.

Sprinkle bounced around on the West Coast as a D1 assistant, but was most notably a player, assistant, and head coach at Montana State. He returned to his alma mater to begin his head coaching career in 2019 and had a prosperous four seasons, leading the Bobcats to the last two NCAA Tournaments. It’s fair to say he was one of the hottest names in the mid-major coaching circles last season and his quick success with the Aggies only supports that.

Utah State sits at 17-2 and has been nationally ranked for several weeks this season. They’re sitting pretty at 5-1 in a very competitive Mountain West and have some nice wins already, including Colorado State, San Francisco, and UC Irvine. What stands out is how Sprinkle has come into this program, reloaded the talent, and kept Utah State right there with some of the strongest mid-majors in the nation.