All the Reasons to Love the AAC Coaches in One Helpful PSA

Posted by mlemaire on November 20th, 2014

On Tuesday the American Athletic Conference released what they are calling a “public service announcement” that is really just a quick pump-up campaign featuring some video and stills of the league’s 11 coaches in action. I am probably the only one (at last count, only 38 people have even viewed it), but I loved every second of it and that’s because any content focused on this group of coaches is worth examining. The marketing folks over at conference headquarters are smart to use the coaches as the league’s primary selling point. This is not only because most casual college basketball fans would have trouble naming five AAC players even if we gave them Emmanuel Mudiay, but because the league’s coaches are characters with colorful backgrounds and track records that make it far more interesting to follow. I legitimately got fired up about the upcoming season. And since I was fired up, I decided to channel some of that energy into capturing some of the best moments of the 30-second video to help everyone else understand why these coaches are so awesome. I’m not the only one fired up either…

Haith is pump

That’s right, even #Haith is excited for the new season. But he isn’t the only colorful coach in the conference. We’ve got UCF‘s Donnie Jones, seen below looking out onto the court as he realizes that Isaiah Sykes graduated last season. Either that or he is just remembering that Kevin Ware never actually made it to campus and that he really shouldn’t have followed that convicted felon on Twitter.


We’ve also got Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, who is quite possibly at the top of the list of 5’7″ people that you wouldn’t want to see in a dark alley. He has built the Bearcats into one of the toughest and most physical teams in the country and the team’s defense is obscenely difficult to score upon. Now if Cronin could only coax some offense out of his team from time to time. Here he is laying down the basics of his offense by explaining to his team on which hoop they are trying to score.


UConn coach Kevin Ollie might say he is focused on the upcoming season, but nobody would blame him if he was still basking in the glow of last season’s National Championship. In fact, the conference apparently used some in-home footage of the newly crowned champ instructing the movers where to put the hardware in what we imagine is a pretty nice home.

Ollie Ollie

Most AAC fans probably don’t know much about veteran coaches Jeff Lebo of East Carolina and Ed Conroy of Tulane, and that is probably because their teams are never very good. Luckily the conference was able to uncover some footage from the happier days for both coaches.


Lebow 2

Oops. It actually turns out the conference couldn’t find any evidence of happier days for either Conroy or Lebo, both of whom should make these facial expressions upwards of 200 times this season as their teams fight to stay out of the bottom of the standings. Speaking of colorful characters, we found it a bit odd that the marketing folks chose to feature new Houston coach and noted rule-breaker Kelvin Sampson


…followed immediately by this…


…because nothing is more patriotic and American than having the unrestricted freedom to make over 550 recruiting phone calls at two different schools even after you were explicitly told that’s not okay. But this crop of coaches is also entertaining because they are so diverse. There are very young coaches, like Memphis’ Josh Pastner, who was photographed recently scanning the stands for a smiling John Calipari and wondering why he ever left his mentor’s well-oiled machine


…and South Florida‘s Orlando Antigua, who is in for a real shock when he realizes he got confused by the similarly shaped logos and he learns that he isn’t coaching at Texas.


But there are also the old hands like Temple‘s Fran Dunphy and SMU‘s Larry Brown, who have nearly a century of basketball coaching experience between them. They have been around the game so long that they have stopped caring what other people think of them. Both are refreshingly honest with their opinions and two of the better quotes in the conference. They are also old-school coaches who apparently studied at the same school of motivational clapping.


American Athletic Conference 2014 MBB PSA   YouTube

Regardless of which coaches you like the best and are rooting for, you have to appreciate the mix of personalities and backgrounds that these 11 coaches bring to the table. Calipari and Boeheim and Self and Pitino are all fun coaches to watch and to cover, but they also might be automatons created specifically to win as many basketball games as humanly possible. The guys in the AAC are still winging it to a certain extent, and that’s why we love them.

mlemaire (324 Posts)

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