The Eastern Kentucky University Colonels announced today that they would be parting ways with head men’s basketball coach, Dan McHale, after this season.
Coach Dan McHale was able to lure in great talent. The Colonels currently have the best player in the OVC, Nick Mayo, and over McHale’s three years have attracted promising young players such as Greg King, Paul Jackson (both of whom transferred after McHale’s first season at EKU), Asante Gist (transferred in January), transfer Jackson Davis from Butler, the outstanding Jarelle Reischel from Rhode Island (graduated after a single season), current senior Dillon Avare, freshmen Peyton Broughton, and another promising freshmen in Dedric Boyd, but for whatever reason, talent hasn’t translated to wins.
Coach McHale was 38-55 in three seasons at Eastern Kentucky and while his termination seems like a shock, it was foreseeable. The Colonels have made the NCAA tournament three times since 2004 and were coming off three promising seasons from former coach Jeff Neubauer. Things were looking up for the program, but under McHale, the Colonels have been lackluster in conference play with a record of 12-34 and had failed to make the conference tournament. The Colonels needed to make a splash this season and didn’t, posting a record of 11-20 and a mere 5-13 in conference play. The writing was on the wall.
It will be interesting to see where the Colonels turn for their next head coach. The Colonels stated a national search for their next head coach will begin immediately while assistant coach Reece Gaines will act as interim coach. It’ll be interesting to see if Coach Gaines will be considered for the position. He has the name recognition and a connection with the current roster that outside candidates won’t have. With Nick Mayo entering his senior season and hopefully most of the roster returning, Coach Gaines could be the guy to maximize the final year of Mayo’s collegiate career.
The Colonels definitely want to make a splash in the college basketball landscape. With Northern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University growing, the Colonels don’t want to be left behind. They’ll likely take their time and conduct a meticulous search for the perfect fit for the university.
Brandon Pence is the co-founder of “B2 Hoops,” EKU alumni, and serves as editor of “The Bulls Outsider.” Follow “The Bulls Outsider” on Twitter here.
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