Photo by Ian Feldmann.
UMBC men’s basketball Director of Basketball Operations, Griff Aldrich is heading to Longwood University to become their head coach according to various reports. Aldrich just completed his second season with the Retrievers, serving one season as an assistant coach, and this past season as the Director of Recruiting, and Basketball Operations.
With all of the insanity surrounding the NCAA tournament, and the historic win by the Retrievers against the #1 overall seed Virginia Cavaliers, murmurs about Aldrich’s departure had gone under the radar, but reports from Longwood have been mentioning Aldrich’s name for weeks.
Due to the hype surrounding UMBC, this will probably not be the only part of the staff to be affected. With the many head coaching vacancies in college basketball, assistant coaches Eric Skeeters, Bryce Crawford, and Nate Dixon are all likely to get extensive looks from other schools that are trying to duplicate UMBC’s recent success. Under head coach, Ryan Odom this group of coaches has collectively turned around UMBC’s basketball program, winning only 4 and 7 games respectively in the two seasons before their arrival.
Of course, the biggest name being discussed is Ryan Odom himself. At a national level, Odom’s name has been linked to job openings, such as that at the University of Pittsburgh. However, Athletic Director Tim Hall has reportedly reached out to coach Odom, and offered him a new deal. Odom was previously under contract for 7 years, but with 5 years remaining on his deal, he has achieved enough to earn a pay raise, and with power-5 conference schools being linked to Odom, Hall had to get ahead of the game.
Many power-5 teams spend more on their basketball teams alone, than UMBC does on it’s entire athletic department. UMBC has no shot to outbid any of those teams in regards to retaining Odom’s services, so their best bet is to keep him as happy as possible by including incentives on his deal, and hope that none of those schools decide to offer Odom a contract. Though he is still under contract, it is customary in the sports world for teams to allow coaches to pursue better opportunities, so that they may attract other coaches with high aspirations in the future.
For now, there is only speculation on the remaining coaches futures. Griff Aldrich left his mark on this program, helping to recruit freshman-forward Brandon Horvath, freshman-center Daniel Akin, and freshman-guard Josh Rosario. Aldrich also helped to get 3-point marksman, and red-shirt junior-guard Ricky Council II from Providence. Upcoming recruits from Aldrich include freshman-guards Jack Schweitz, RJ Eytle-Rock, and Jose Placer. He also recruited junior-guard Kaelin Jackson from Temple College, who averaged 25.8 points per game last season.