Ivy League coaching carousel

After three years without any head coaching changes, things changed in a big way at the end of April.  Princeton’s Courtney Banghart left after 12 seasons and seven Ivy titles to rebuild the program at the University of North Carolina. The Tigers search lasted a month, ending with the hiring of former UConn guard and long-time Tufts head coach Carla Berube.

On the men’s side, the conference almost lost James Jones to St. John’s, but the Yale coach finished as the Red Storm’s runner-up.  Weeks later, Jones signed an extension that will keep him in New Haven until the end of the 2025-2026 campaign.  In May, Brown’s Mike Martin was reported to be at Holy Cross interviewing for the Crusaders job, but a probable extension kept him in Providence.

Several Ivy assistants made the jump to head coaching positions with Columbia’s (and former Harvard’s) Kenny Blakeney heading to Howard, Penn’s Bernadette Laukaitis returning to Holy Family, Brown’s Tyler Simms going to Clark, and Brown’s Sara Binkhorst moving to Wheaton.

In the off-season’s strangest coaching news, Dartmouth promoted assistant coach Pete Hutchins to associate head coach on March 19th, only to see him jump to an assistant coaching position at George Mason on May 2nd.

The complete list of changes, from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020, for all 16 Ivy teams are noted below.

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On The Vine Special: Jim Engles Interview

Introduced one week ago as the 23rd coach in Columbia history, Jim Engles has a lot on his plate: hiring a staff, meeting new players, replacing a legendary senior class… and finding decent cell phone service in Levien Gymnasium.

Once we switched to a land line, I spoke with Coach Engles in a wide-ranging interview for this special episode of On The Vine. Among the news that will interest Lions fans: Kyle Smith’s entire 2016 recruiting class has committed to being at Columbia next year, Jesse Agel is definitely coming on board as an assistant coach, and one of Engles’ goals for next year’s team is making the Ivy League Tournament.

One moment that stood out to me came from near the end of the interview (a full transcript of which is available below the audio file). I asked Engles to speak directly to Columbia fans, and here’s part of what he said:

I watched the championship game on TV, and I saw how the crowd reacted, and I saw the gym packed. Those are moments for these people, because they want to see those moments. They want to win a championship. And that’s exactly how I envision this. That’s what I want to do. I really want to win for all those people who’ve been with Columbia for such a long time, and have been fans through the good times and the bad times.

Many thanks to Coach Engles for coming on the show, Columbia Athletics for making him available, and Miles Johnson and Sam Tydings for contributing questions.

Here’s the full transcript of the interview. Any errors of transcription are mine alone.

Read moreOn The Vine Special: Jim Engles Interview