King Rice heads to the Hawks and a College Gameday-esque rivalry with Fairleigh Dickinson University. via graphics.fansonly.com
Vanderbilt assistant King Rice, a longtime associate of Kevin Stallings, has earned a promotion. The 41-year-old staffer will be moving to Monmouth University to be the newest head coach of the Hawks' basketball team.
Rice was a former point guard at the University of North Carolina before jumping into the coaching game. He began his career at Oregon before first working with Stallings at Illinois State. After five years with the Redhawks, he jumped to Providence to work as an assistant under Tim Welsh. When Welsh flamed out with the Friars, he returned to CKS's side at Vandy, where he's been a key recruiter for the Commodores. Players Rice has had a hand in bringing to Nashville (according to Rivals) include Dai-Jon Parker, Rod Odom, Steve Tchiengang, Brad Tinsley, and Keegan Bell.
Rice will be following in the footsteps of the man he replaced, former VU recruiting wiz Jeff Jackson. Jackson left the 'Dores in 2006 to take the head coaching position at Furman University. Jackson's success has been limited, though, despite beating his former team in his first season. The Palladins have won just 26 games over the past three seasons.
Monmouth, a New Jersey based school that plays in the Northeastern Conference, was just 9-21 this season and had only one win over a KenPom Top 200 ranked opponent. For the Hawks, that represented a bit of a turnaround, since they hadn't cracked Pomeroy's Top 300 as a team since 2006. Rice will inherit a squad that loses four seniors in 2012, but retains most of their rotational players. Fun fact: Monmouth's big in-state rival is Fairleigh Dickinson University, who they get to play twice in the same week under NEC scheduling rules - which is probably the coolest thing about the NEC. Unfortunately, the two teams combined for only 14 wins last year.