Beat 'Em, Then Join 'Em: Non-League Game Becomes Coaching Job Audition

"Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time." - Arnold H. Glasow

Overlooked amid several coaching changes this year - LSU, New Mexico and Seattle - is possibility the job switches stemmed from a one- or two-game job audition. The shifts resemble 1970-71 when Digger Phelps guided Fordham to its winningest season in school history. But what likely really impressed Notre Dame's administration was a 94-88 victory that season over the Irish. He was UND's bench boss the next campaign and went on to win seven games against nationally top-ranked opponents in his career at South Bend.

Non-conference schedules frequently are frustrating for fans of power league schools because of what seems like feasting on a steady diet of cupcake opponents. But you never know when a single game can become a career changer. Similar to almost any job, timing is everything. Following is an alphabetical list of impressionable coaches such as Jim Hayford, Will Wade and Paul Weir generating such favorable reviews after defeating a school in a non-conference game they were hired by that institution in the same role before the next campaign:

Coach Departing School Triumph(s) Over Non-League Foe Hiring Him Next Season
Tommy Amaker Michigan Defeated Harvard, 82-50, in 2006-07
Duggar Baucom Virginia Military Defeated The Citadel, 66-65, at Army* in 2014-15
John Brady Samford Defeated Louisiana State, 53-50, in 1996-97
Tom Brennan Yale Defeated Vermont, 84-75, in 1985-86
Jim Calhoun Northeastern Defeated Connecticut, 90-73, in 1985-86
Joe Callero Seattle Defeated Cal Poly, 60-59, in 2008-09
Ben Carnevale North Carolina Defeated Navy, 51-49, in 1945-46
Charles "Lefty" Driesell Davidson Defeated Maryland, 83-69, in 1968-69
Pat Foster Houston Defeated Nevada, 92-80, in 1992-93
Jim Hayford Eastern Washington Defeated Seattle, 80-76 in 2OT and 93-88 in 2OT, in 2016-17
Maury John Drake Defeated Iowa State, 87-63, in 1970-71
Ed Kelleher Fordham Defeated Army, 68-42, in 1942-43
Lake Kelly Austin Peay State Defeated Oral Roberts, 80-76, in 1976-77
Billy McCann Washington & Lee (VA) Defeated Virginia, 73-69, in 1956-57
Neil McCarthy Weber State Defeated New Mexico State, 62-56, in 1984-85
Dan Monson Gonzaga Defeated Minnesota, 75-63, in 1998-99
Don Monson Idaho Defeated Oregon, 56-53, in 1982-83
Donald "Dudey" Moore Duquesne Defeated La Salle, 74-55, in 1957-58
Stew Morrill Colorado State Defeated Utah State, 68-59, in 1997-98
Richard "Digger" Phelps Fordham Defeated Notre Dame, 94-88, in 1970-71
Elmer Ripley Georgetown Defeated John Carroll (Ohio), 73-53, in 1948-49
Les Robinson East Tennessee State Defeated North Carolina State, 92-82, in 1989-90
Lorenzo Romar Saint Louis Defeated Washington, 71-70, in 2001-02
Charles "Sonny" Smith Auburn Defeated Virginia Commonwealth, 85-79, in 1988-89
Charlie Spoonhour Southwest Missouri State Defeated Saint Louis, 66-59, in 1991-92
Bill Strannigan Colorado State Defeated Iowa State, 65-57, in 1953-54
Bill Wade Virginia Commonwealth Defeated Louisiana State, 85-74, in 2016-17
Raymond "Bucky" Waters West Virginia Defeated Duke, 90-88, in 1968-69
Paul Weir New Mexico State Defeated New Mexico, 84-71, in 2016-17
Tim Welsh Iona Defeated Providence, 68-62, in 1997-98
Gary Williams Boston College Defeated Ohio State, 87-74, in 1985-86
Matt Zunic Boston University Defeated Massachusetts, 75-55 & 61-56, in 1958-59

*Competed in season-opening Military Classic before VMI defeated The Citadel twice in Southern Conference competition.