In just five seasons at the helm, Baylor head coach Marci Jobson has lifted the Lady Bears all the way to the top of the Big 12. Since taking over a squad coming off of a 5-11-3 (RPI 175) campaign, Jobson’s teams have only known major progress, improving their previous year’s win total by at least three in each of her five seasons. In this past season’s banner year, the Lady Bears achieved the program’s most wins in school history, its highest-ever NSCAA final ranking (and first since 1998), and its second-consecutive NCAA tournament appearance after a 12-year absence.
A handful of other fifth-year coaches also have their programs on the rise. Since his first year in 2008, Ryan Bush’s Oral Roberts squad has halved its RPI (251 to 124) and doubled its win total (6 to 12), the Golden Eagles’ most since 2004. Similarly, Liberty’s Jessica Hain and Iowa State’s Wendy Dillinger oversaw their respective schools’ best win totals since 2005. Over tenures in which both programs have risen 82 spots since their first-year final RPI rankings, Hain’s Flames have upped their win total from 3 to 11, while Dillinger’s Cyclones have recorded more wins each season despite playing in Baylor’s competitive Big 12. Finally, Tulsa’s Kyle Cussen led the Golden Hurricanes to their best win output since 2000, their second-consecutive Conference USA tournament, and their first C-USA championship game appearance.
The chart below displays each coach’s total win increase and RPI decrease since their 2008-2009 debut seasons.
Other young coaches who have non-traditional programs making comparable strides in just a few seasons:
After taking the Wildcats to their first NCAA appearance in five years, Lipsitz followed up last season’s success with the program’s first ever NCAA win.
Amato’s Ladyjacks secured their first NCAA bid since 2007 after going 17-0 in conference play over the last two years. Amato will coach at Arizona next season.
The Rebels’ eight wins to open 2012 marked the program’s best start in school history and their 13 total wins were two less than the school record and five more than Mott’s first-year total.
McNamara’s 2012 Skyhawks set a program record for win percentage, won their first outright Ohio Valley regular season championship, and qualified for their second-consecutive NCAA tournament.
After rising 52 spots in the final RPI standings from Ziyenge’s first year, the Red Wolves rose 22 more spots after a school record 11-win season.
The Big Green did a complete about face from their 4-12 (200 RPI) 2011 campaign.
The 2012 Lady Grizzlies may not have followed up last year’s NCAA appearance with another, but they did double last year’s win total of six, itself doubling the three wins from the year preceding Plakorus’ hire.
The Lady Eagles garnered a number of school milestones in Vanderspiegel’s second year: the program’s first winning season since 2002, its first Southern Conference Championship, and its first NCAA tournament appearance.