UTRGV men's basketball coaching search update and candidates

Photo courtesy UTPB Athletics

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It's an exciting time in the Rio Grande Valley, with the Vaqueros preparing to begin playing football in 2025. Add in the recent announcement that UTRGV will depart the Western Athletic Conference for the Southland Conference ahead of the 2024-205 season, and the Vaqueros athletic department is generating quite a buzz around the country.

But not everything is coming up roses quite yet at UTRGV.

One reason for the Vaqueros' reported move to the Southland is because their basketball programs have struggled against WAC competition, which led to a mutual decision to part ways with now former men’s head coach Matt Figger.

The UTRGV men’s basketball job was sure to attract a quality list of candidates before the announced move to the Southland. Now, the position is even more attractive since moving out of the WAC provides more accessible travel and a league where UTRGV can be competitive soon.

While the football program receives plenty of headlines for purchasing a stadium, shortly followed by the announcement of a new $20 million gift from supporters Robert and Janet Vacker, the basketball facilities are also undergoing multiple renovations. UTRGV began construction on a new atrium, the second phase of renovations to the UTRGV Fieldhouse. Support is high across the RGV for the Vaqueros athletic department, and the community will turn out in droves to support a successful program. 

Sources have indicated that UTRGV athletic director Chasse Conque is receiving help from a consultant who has reached out to multiple candidates. Conque is expected to conduct five interviews for the position, with one scheduled for today, March 25. Conque has a history of hiring coaches he has known from previous stops.  Many rumored candidates have connections to Chris Beard, who Conque hired at Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR). With that in mind, here are some names to watch at UTRGV.


Brian Burg, Ole Miss analyst

Burg is a name circulating on social media and is considered a favorite for the position. A current analyst at Ole Miss for Beard, Burg was 42-44 during three seasons as head coach at Georgia Southern from 2020-2023. Before his only stint as a head coach, Burg was an assistant for Beard at Texas Tech and UALR.

Luke Adams, Tarleton assistant coach

One name that has been mentioned is Mark Adams, who was the head coach of the program from 1992-1997, when it was known as Texas-Pan American. However, Adams departed the program during an NCAA investigation for improprieties and eventually resigned from Texas Tech after making insensitive comments. He is unlikely to be named head coach. 

But Adams's son, Luke, is a candidate after spending last season at Tarleton following a stint as Director of Player Development at Texas Tech for his father, who became head coach at Texas Tech when Beard left for Texas. Luke spent four seasons as head coach at New Mexico Junior College, leading the Thunderbirds to a 63-21 overall record, including a 32-16 conference record.

Clif Carroll, Mary Hardin-Baylor head coach

A name to watch for multiple openings, Carroll has shined at every stop during his career. The Meadow native remains the winningest coach in Sul Ross men’s basketball history after leading the Lobos to a 78-55 record and three American Southwest Conference titles in five seasons. Carroll spent two seasons as head coach at McMurry after Beard departed the War Hawks for Angelo State.

Carroll is 84-23 overall in four seasons with the Crusaders and led UMHB to consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament, including a run to the national quarterfinals and an ASC championship in 2022. 

Josh Newman, Pacific interim head coach

An under-the-radar name who could become a leading candidate, Newman spent the last three seasons at Pacific. He was promoted to associate head coach in November before being named interim head coach heading into the 2024 West Coast Conference tournament. 

Before joining the Tigers, Newman was head coach at UTPB for three seasons. Before joining the Falcons, Newman spent 12 seasons at Arkansas-Fort Smith. He led the Lions through a transition from NJCAA to NCAA Division II, guided UAFS to four Heartland Conference tournament championships, and has 277 career wins as a head coach.

Vinay Patel, Angelo State head coach

Patel is known for his ability to turn around a program quickly. He has spent the last two seasons at Angelo State, guiding the Rams to consecutive appearances in the NCAA DII tournament. Before joining ASU, Patel led Northwestern Oklahoma State to a 20-9 record following a three-win campaign the season prior. The Shamrock native led Oklahoma City University to an 82-42 record and four consecutive appearances in the NAIA national tournament before joining NOWSU.

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