- The NEC will have a different look this fall with coaching changes abound, including two of the top three schools from last season (conference champs Robert Morris and third-place finisher Mount St. Mary’s) undergoing changes at the helm.
- Mount St. Mary’s head man Jim Phelan never had to go through a change of address during his tenure, but Mountaineer fans will miss him and his famous bow tie pacing along the sideline. Phelan retired after last season, capping a career during which he amassed 834 wins over nearly half a century, all of which was spent in Emmitsburg.
- Postseason success remains hard for the NEC to come by. Despite Robert Morris giving Villanova all they could handle in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats escaped with a 73-70 overtime victory, leaving the NEC with an all-time 3-29 record in the Big Dance.
- Quinnipiac: The Bobcats lost a heartbreaker in the NEC final to Robert Morris, but a strong returning cast labels Tom Moore’s group as the NEC favorite heading into the fall. James Feldeine, the team’s leading scorer at 16.5 PPG game last season, exits, but Justin Rutty and James Johnson make for a returning duo who will bring their combined 27 PPG back to Hamden. Rutty, who averaged a double-double last year, also makes a living on the glass and is one of the best offensive rebounders in the college game. Seniors Jonathan Cruz and Deonte Twyman will also be counted upon to make key contributions.
- Robert Morris: The Colonials promoted assistant Andrew Toole when Mike Rice exited for a Rutgers program in shambles. As is often the case with coaches who guide mid-major teams to successful runs, Rice’s departure for a higher-profile school comes as one of the more predictable moves in the off-season. He had a solid three year run at Robert Morris capped off by a near upset of two seed Villanova in the NCAA tournament opening round. Toole is fortunate in that Rice’s recruits stayed committed to RMU when he exited, a definite benefit of promoting from within. Toole was able to finish off the recruiting class over the spring and summer months, and Toole is confident they will mesh with the returnees to continue the recent success.
- Mount Saint Mary’s - Losses include outstanding lead guard Jeremy Goode. The Mountaineers also lose an accomplished player and double digit scorer in 6’5 Kelly Beidler. Paramount among those need replacing is assistant coach Milan Brown who accepted the head coaching position at Holy Cross. Robert Burke, an American University assistant last winter and former Georgetown aide, is on board to replace Brown. The Mount has enjoyed recent success and Burke has a solid coaching pedigree. A lead guard replacement for Goode is a primary concern entering this season, and Jean Cajou, a returning starter, will look to fill that hole as a senior. Read the rest of this entry »