Tuesday, May 11, 2010

D-I's youngest coach

Andrew Toole, pictured, became the youngest head coach in Division I men's college basketball when he was promoted Tuesday to the position at Robert Morris.

Toole takes over for Mike Rice, who left for the Big East and Rutgers, and at age 29 becomes the youngest head coach in NCAA men’s Division I basketball. Toole was the school’s associate coach for three seasons.
Toole was the only candidate interviewed for the job and was recommended by a coaching search committee. He is a former player at Elon and Penn and was an assistant for one season at Lafayette.

Previously, Appalachian State’s Jason Capel was the youngest Division I head coach. Capel is 30.

"Andy is the perfect candidate to provide leadership to our program," Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman said. "He has been instrumental in helping to get the program to the heights that it's already achieved, and for that reason we believe the continuity that he provides for our program is important. I'm extremely pleased to welcome him as our newest head coach."

While the hire keeps some continuity within the program and is a popular one with the players, it's a risky move for Robert Morris. It's rare that a program that has made the NCAA tournament two years in a row – and outplayed Villanova in an overtime loss this past season – is turned over to a 29-year-old with no head coaching experience and only four years as an assistant. It will be interesting to see if Toole can continue the success the Colonials had under Rice.


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