Busting Brackets

NCAA Basketball: 10 best mid-major hires of 2024 coaching carousel

The 2024 coaching carousel saw a flurry of activity, especially at the mid-major level
Morehead State v Illinois
Morehead State v Illinois / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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Brian Earl - William & Mary Tribe

One of the more underrated hires in the 2024 coaching carousel cycle, Brian Earl, the brother of Chattanooga head coach Dan Earl, brings an accomplished resume worthy of recognition to William & Mary. An Ivy League coach through and through, Earl played at Princeton, and served as an assistant coach at Princeton from 2007-2016 before taking over the reins at Cornell. Aside from a three-year blip of success under current Penn coach Steve Donahue in which the Big Red went to the Sweet 16 in 2010, there hasn’t been too much success at that school.

Earl changed the fortunes, however, leading Cornell to three-straight .500+ win seasons including a 22-8 (11-3) mark in 2023-24 in which the Big Red went to the NIT. Now out of the Ivy League ranks, it will be interesting to see how he fares at Williamsburg and given how the past three seasons went at Cornell, it's safe to assume the upside is high under Earl at a school looking to get their first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.

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Justin Gray - Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Justin Gray, the former Wake Forest star, jump-started his coaching career as the DOBO at Wake Forest in 2018 before being elevated to an assistant coach under Pat Kelsey at Winthrop in 2019 after a lengthy professional career overseas. After spending three years under Kelsey, Gray took over at Western Carolina, improving the Catamount's win total from 11 to 18 to 22 in just three years.

Western Carolina is a difficult job with their lone NCAA Tournament appearance coming in 1996 -- and Gray got the program back on track in no time. Now tasked with replacing the long-tenured Cliff Ellis at Coastal Carolina, Gray will look to catapult his recent success in Coway, South Carolina.