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 #13 Derek Kellogg.
1. 74-65 road win over Georgia State
Sure, this isn’t an incredible win by any means, but it was a point in the season where Derek Kellogg seemed to be turning the table. If Massachusetts’ coach could bring a young team to a 10-3 start in non-conference play, the sky was the limit in conference play. There was a lot of confidence surrounding DK at this point in the season, and Massachusetts fans were optimistic about the direction of the season. In addition to this impressive road win, Massachusetts had taken down Harvard and Temple, and near losses to UCF, Providence, and Mississippi really weren’t anything to lose sleep over. Utilizing his young roster well, Derek Kellogg had a good thing going.
2. Upset win over Dayton
While the Minutemen disappointed early on in conference play (playing horrendous defense and giving up 80+ points in 3 straight games), they bounced back with an inspiring win over Dayton. Credit Kellogg for getting his team in the right mindset to face a difficult Dayton team at home. Massachusetts really locked down on defense and pulled out a confidence-boosting win over the eventual league champions. The bad news? Derek Kellogg was unable to carry any of that momentum into the remainder of conference play. In fact, after the big win over Dayton, the Minutemen lacked energy and direction on both ends of the floor for the rest of the season.
1. Home loss to Fordham
Don’t get me wrong, Fordham’s not an awful team, but this is a game Derek Kellogg and the Minutemen have to find a way to win. Massachusetts came out flat in the first half, suffering a double digit deficit, and even after it took a lead late in the game, it was unable to finish the deal at home. With almost 7 minutes to play, Fordham apparently only had a 20.8% of winning the game according to Kenpom. Derek Kellogg’s offensive game plan crumbled, and the Minutemen were unable to get anything going in the final minutes of a brutal game.
2. 96-66 road loss to Duquesne
It was this point in the season where it seemed likely Derek Kellogg was getting the boot. Massachusetts gave up 96 points to a Duquesne team that played more like a D3 team last season. No offense to the Dukes, but they shouldn’t be able to beat anyone by 30 points. Massachusetts had one of its worst performances of Derek Kellogg’s tenure, and this entire program looked absolutely devastated after getting destroyed in the Palumbo Center. It was disappointing that Derek Kellogg couldn’t be an effective coach down the stretch, but he didn’t bring much energy or efficiency to this team at all, and despite all of this team’s talent, he was unable to harness it.
It’s been a roller coaster of an offseason for Massachusetts fans. Pat Kelsey from Winthrop took the job after Derek Kellogg got fired, but he backed out 20 minutes prior to the introductory press conference. The Minutemen ended up landing Chattanooga coach Matt McCall who seems like he’s going to be a great fit. It’s going to take some time, but the Minutemen have a chance to get back to the top of the league. A number of talented players have decided to transfer, leaving this roster somewhat depleted. Depending on how well Matt McCall can shape and coach this team, the season could go a number of different ways.
Previously: #14 Jim Ferry