College Basketball 2012-13: 10 Most Intriguing First-Time Coaches

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IMay 22, 2012

College Basketball 2012-13: 10 Most Intriguing First-Time Coaches

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    Every year, many colleges and universities fire their head basketball coaches and look for a fresh start.

    Some of those schools go to the extent of hiring a new leader who has never been a Division I college coach.

    Here is a lightning-fast look at 10 first time head coaches that are worth keeping track of in the 2012-13 season.

10. Joseph Price (Grambling State)

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    Joseph Price brings a full resume of basketball experience to Grambling State.

    Following a standout career at Notre Dame under then-coach Digger Phelps, Price was a seventh-round draft pick of the Washington Bullets.

    He played professionally overseas for 13 seasons.

    Price has been a college assistant since 2002, with stops at IUPUI, Ball State and Morehead State before joining Lamar's staff in May of 2011.

9. Bashir Mason (Wagner)

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    Bashir Mason will be the youngest D1 head coach (28) as he takes the reins at Wagner.

    Mason was an excellent player at Drexel (2003-07) before spending two years as an assistant coach at Marist before joining Dan Hurley at Wagner in 2010.

    Mason takes over a program that just three years ago was 5-26, but last year went 25-5.

8. Richard Pitino (Florida International)

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    Good or bad, Richard Pitino is going to be followed by some college basketball fans simply because of his famous father, Rick.

    Pitino takes over for Isiah Thomas, who never could quite get things going at FIU.

    Pitino, 29, worked his way through a maze of assistant jobs at schools such as College of Charleston, Northeastern, Duquesne before serving under his dad at Louisville for two years, under Billy Donovan at Florida for two years. and then back to Louisville again for the last three years.

7. Nick Robinson (Southern Utah)

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    Nick Robinson, 32, is going to jump out into the wonderful world of college coaching at Southern Utah.

    Robinson has spent the last several years playing for and coaching under Trent Johnson.

    He played at Stanford, and then served on Johnson's staffs at both Stanford and LSU.

    Robinson will lead the Thunderbirds as they move from playing in the Summit League to the Big Sky Conference next season.

6. Bennie Seltzer (Samford)

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    Bennie Seltzer brings both a comprehensive playing and coaching resume to the job at Samford.

    He had an outstanding playing career at Washington State, where he still holds the all-time record for career assists (473) in the conference.

    Seltzer then played overseas for four years.

    He has been considered one of the top collegiate assistant coaches over the last several years.

    Seltzer served nine years under Kelvin Sampson at Oklahoma, before working under Tom Crean for the last six years at both Marquette and Indiana.

5. Dan Muller (Illinois State)

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    Dan Muller has learned what he knows about basketball and coaching primarily from Kevin Stallings.

    Muller played for Stallings at Illinois State, and then coached under Stallings for 12 seasons at Vanderbilt.

    He is returning to ISU where he led the Redbirds to two regular season and Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championships and four postseason appearances, including trips to the NCAA Tournament in his final two seasons.

4. James Johnson (Virginia Tech)

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    James Johnson jumps into the job at Virginia Tech with the hopes of finally getting the Hokies back to the NCAA Tournament.

    Johnson has spent all of his playing and coaching days in the region,

    He played at Ferrum College, before being an assistant at Longwood College, Old Dominion, Elon, College of Charleston, Penn State, George Mason and Virginia Tech (where he has served on Seth Greenberg's staff for the last five seasons).

    It will be interesting to see how long it will take Johnson to move the Hokies back into the upper-tier of the ACC. 

3. Tony Benford (North Texas)

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    Tony Benford is finally getting his break by coaching at UNT.

    Benford had an excellent collegiate career at Texas Tech, was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the fourth round of the 1986 NBA Draft before playing overseas for six years.

    He has held assistant coaching positions at a wide assortment of high-level programs, such as New Mexico, Arizona State, Nebraska and, for the last four years, Marquette.  

    In building his staff, Benford was able to hire Rob Evans, who Benford served under at Arizona State.

    UNT is a program that is on the cusp of taking off!

2. Jerod Haase (UAB)

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    It was only a matter of time before Jerod Haase would launch out and become a head coach at a solid college basketball program.

    After playing for Roy Williams at Kansas, Haase has served on Williams' coaching staffs at both KU and North Carolina over the last 13 years.

    If Haase coaches like he played (with reckless abandon), look for UAB to be a pesky program that causes "big conference" schools to have second thoughts about scheduling the Blazers.

1. Danny Manning (Tulsa)

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    The most intriguing first time coach in 2012-13 college hoops has to be Danny Manning.

    After a celebrated college career where he led Kansas to a NCAA Championship in 1988 and an exceptional 15-year NBA career, Manning has served on Bill Self's staff since 2003.

    He has been given credit for the exceptional development of several of the Jayhawks' front court players who have gone on to star in the NBA.

    Tulsa has been the launching pad for such renowned coaches as Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith and Bill Self.