The search for the next LSU men’s basketball coach was nowhere near as long as expected.
Per CBS Sports Jon Rothstein, LSU is finalizing a deal with Murray State’s Matt McMahon to be the next head coach of the men’s basketball team. Terms of the deal have not yet been released nor has it been confirmed by LSU, but an announcement is expected soon.
McMahon’s made Murray State one of the top mid major programs over the past seven seasons. The Racers have made three of the last five NCAA Tournaments—one of the years they missed was the 2020 tournament that was cancelled— and have won the Ohio Valley regular season conference championship four of last five years; Murray State’s also won the OVC conference tourney three of the last five years and, again, one of the two years they didn’t was in 2020.
Murray State struggled in the 2020-2021 season going 13-13 overall but bounced back in a big way this year. McMahon’s Racers went 31-3 this past season including ripping off 21 straight wins before being eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday by St. Peter’s. In seven seasons at Murray State, McMahon compiled a 154-67 record and only had one season under .500.
McMahon’s other claim to fame is finding and developing Ja Morant who went on to be picked second overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. In Morant’s last year with Murray State he was the OVC’s player of the year, All-American, and a finalist for both the Wooden Award (best player in the country) and Bob Cousy Award (best point guard). Morant’s turned into one of the NBA’s best players, winning Rookie of the Year in 2019-20, and made his first All-Star appearance this year. Memphis currently has the second most wins in the entire NBA and Morant’s in line to make his first All-NBA team and will surely score some MVP votes. If Eric Gaines were to stay he’d fit the Morant role pretty well in my opinion.
Considering the circumstances, this is a great hire by Scott Woodward and I’m glad he made the hire so quickly. Now that one big question has been answered we can hopefully get to the bottom of the other two big ones: what NCAA sanctions are coming, and who from this 2021-2022 team can McMahon and his staff convince to stay?