Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 14 Coach Countdown of the 2016-17 season. We like to rank the players of the A-10 each season, but we’d also like to take a look at the brains of the operations. Who were the best coaches of the 2016-17 season? Who were the worst? Our site voted and compiled a list based on last season alone. This list is representative of how well each coach performed in the 2016-17 season, not in his entire career. Today, we feature #12 Jeff Neubauer.
1. 53-43 road win over Rhode Island
Jeff Neubauer had his ups and downs as Fordham’s head coach in 2016-17, but his best moments came when his team was playing good defense. Take a 53-43 road win over Rhode Island for example. The Fordham Rams stole the show and allowed only 5 points in the final 10 minutes. Jeff Neubauer’s defensive game plan stifled a Rhode Island offense that had been one of the best in the league. The Rams had no answer. Wins like this one not only gave Fordham some confidence, but they might have saved Jeff Neubauer’s job for a few more seasons. The two-year head coach has had his fair share of struggles, but there are definitely positives to take away from his coaching. He has coached his way to some big wins in Atlantic 10 play.
2. Overtime win over VCU
Fordham made one heck of a stride to beat VCU in conference play, and credit the head coach for helping his team win that game. Again, Fordham has had its fair share of bad losses, but a couple of good wins help counterbalance that. What separates Jeff Neubauer from Jim Ferry or Derek Kellogg was his closing ability. Neubauer could coach in late game situations and help his team pull out some unlikely wins. While it wasn’t a season to be remembered at Fordham, there were certainly memorable moments, like this one.
1. 6 game losing streak in non-conference play
A 6 game losing streak in non-conference play is never something that looks good on a team’s resume, especially when you’re playing sub-par teams like Sacred Heart and Manhattan. Quite frankly, I was surprised that Jeff Neubauer was able to pick his team up and win 7 conference games after this brutal showing. This team looked distraught after a home loss to Sacred Heart, a team that Kenpom ranked 301 overall last season. But again, Neubauer stuck to his guns and found a way to at least exceed low expectations in conference play. He didn’t let his guys quit or give up on a season that probably wasn’t going to end on a happy note.
2. A-10 Tournament loss to George Mason
According to Kenpom, Fordham had a 98.1% chance of finishing this game with a win when there was just over a minute left. Unfortunately, the Rams folded in the final seconds and allowed for a spirited George Mason comeback. That’s on the coach. Jeff Neubauer did not implement a good defensive game plan in the final minute of regulation, and allowing the Patriots to get what they wanted at the rim, Fordham would lose this game. This was simply Jeff Neubauer getting out-coached, and it hurts because Fordham played so well for the first 39 minutes. it’s moments like these where you realize there are still strides to be made if you’re Fordham.
With a number of transfers leaving the program, you can’t help but wonder if this Fordham team can even finish 13th in the league. This roster is almost depleted, and Joseph Chartouny is going to be the only true returning stud. Jeff Neubauer had things moving in the right direction this season, but next year could be an enormous step back. He’s going to have to get crafty and find a way to win some A-10 games with a lot of new faces.
Previously: #13 Derek Kellogg