Unlike last year, I’ll leave out rankings for coaches as it just is an ever changing matter of opinion. So we’ll start a new installment of coaches rising up the ranks and some coaches who should be head coaches at a major program already.
Cliff Warren, Jacksonville
Warren was recently a candidate at Siena before the administration opted to remain within the program and hire Mitch Buonaguro. Warren was an assistant at Siena under Paul Hewitt from 1997-2000 and followed Hewitt to Georgia Tech where he was an integral part of Georgia Tech’s success until leaving to takeover the Jacksonville job in 2005. Warren started his career as an assistant at Mt. St. Mary’s as he is a Maryland native and MSM alum. At age 42, Warren is still in his prime and should be a candidate for any openings on the east coast at a level of a Siena or better.
With familiarity with the Siena program I was aware of who Warren was and later became reintroduced with a Jacksonville/Georgetown match up in the winter of 2007. It was clear Warren had come a long way with the Dolphins program only two years removed from a 1-26 win season. Warren has proved he can add talent and also coach it up.
His first year at Jacksonville he endured the one win season, and since that point, steady progress has been made:
2005–2006 Jacksonville 1-26 1-19 11th
2006–2007 Jacksonville 15-14 11-7 T-3rd
2007–2008 Jacksonville 18-13 12-4 2nd
2008–2009 Jacksonville 18-13 15-5 1st NIT 1st Round
2009-2010 Jacksonville 20-13 14-6 T-1st NIT 2nd Round
Warren has had success with a defensive lead unit in 2010 as well as the offense carrying the load in 2009. Both years resulted in NIT births and to me, that shows an ability to adapt and play different styles. Since Warren has taken over, the program has has also played at different paces, but one constant has shown, that being forcing turnovers.
While it is my belief he is deserving of a job right now, he appears content for the time being at Jacksonville and the administration is absolutely behind him.
As quoted in the Florida Times Union..
“If somebody wants to buy [Warren] out of his contract, they’re going to have to pay us several hundred thousand dollars,” Alan Verlander (AD) said. “I’m not losing him to just anybody.”
“Why do I need to go anywhere?” Warren said. “If you have 100 percent backing of your administration, that’s a secure feeling as a coach. I’m thankful. I’ve got it good here.”
With three starters returning and all of the bench, Warren should continue his progress and find his next stepping stone rather soon.