Collegiate Sports Associates: What Hires Have They Helped Deliver?

Let’s examine Collegiate Sports Associates and the end results of their hiring process.

This is not a shameless plug for the sports executive hiring search firm, Collegiate Sports Associates headed up Todd Turner.  The University of Georgia Athletic Association has hired Collegiate Sports Associates to help in the process of filling the vacancy by ensuring privacy, performing background checks, helping to gauge interest and guiding UGA along the interviewing process.  They operate like any executive search firm (like Korn Ferry), but they are a boutique firm with a specific niche, which is the hiring of College Sports Coaches and Administrators.

Who’s notably helping shape the hiring process outside of the UGAA and boosters?  Former Wake Forest and South Carolina Head Coach Dave Odom.  

Now to the good stuff, who are their past clients and who ended up getting hired?  This firm was founded in 2010, which makes it rather obvious who the ultimate hires were after they were involved in the searches.

  • Bucknell:  Nathan Davis
  • Cleveland State:  Dennis Felton
  • Kansas State:  Bruce Weber (was fired by Illinois and hired immediately by Kansas State)
  • Liberty:  Ritchie McKay
  • Longwood:  Jayson Gee
  • Missouri:  Kim Anderson
  • New Mexico:  Craig Neal
  • Northern Illinois:  Mark Montgomery
  • Oklahoma:  Lon Kruger  (left UNLV and took the Oklahoma job immediately)
  • Old Dominion:  Jeff Jones
  • Pittsburgh:  Kevin Stallings  (left Vanderbilt to take the Pittsburgh job immediately)
  • Santa Clara:  Herb Sendek
  • Tennessee:  Rick Barnes  (was fired by Texas and hired immediately by Tennessee)
  • Virginia Tech:  Buzz Williams  (left Marquette and took the Virginia Tech job immediately)
  • Wake Forest:  Danny Manning  (left Tulsa and took the Wake Forest job immediately)
  • Winthrop:  Pat Kelsey

There’s a common theme among their clients in power conferences.  With the exception of Kim Anderson, they are poaching established coaches from other power conference programs.  Georgia is not hiring a mid-major coach based on the track record of this search firm.  This is a firm that commonly gets coaches who have been fired by other power programs or are looking for another opportunity.  The hires are not going to blow anyone away based on their track record, but they like to fill vacancies of current coaches.  There are no coaches who went on leave on this list from power conference programs.

Based on this track record alone: 

  • Low and mid-major coaches are likely not going to be considered.
  • Coaches who have a gap in their coaching resume are likely not going to be considered.
  • Coaches who were recently fired may be considered.
  • Coaches who are mega-stars are not going to be considered.

The coaching pool based on their track record are coaches who want out in these conferences:

  • American Athletic Conference
  • Mountain West Conference
  • Big East Conference
  • Atlantic 10 Conference
  • Southeastern Conference

Kevin Willard, Danny Hurley, Marvin Menzies, Leon Rice, Mike Rhoades, Andy Kennedy and Eric Musselman would be the likely pool based on this track record.  If Mark Turgeon is fired by Maryland, he instantly becomes a consideration as long as the vacancy remains unfilled.

This theoretical pool could expand, but this is the logical conclusion to make based on their track record alone.


  1. What are your thoughts on Matta if he is ready to get back into coaching? He interviewed for the Ole Miss job. I read your article on his health issues but what if things have changed in regards to his health.

  2. Worrisome. One thing I’ve noticed is that the debate is being misframed- the point is made that UGA has hired several mid major or inexperienced head coaches in recent years. Correct, but two of them were stodgeballers- Felton and Fox both preferred a slow, methodical style of play. (Ron Jirsa was just overmatched .)The problem is that the kids loathe this style; it hurts recruiting. We have never hired a fast paced innovator from a mid major.

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