|Photo by Dan Hunter, d3photography.com
Josh Loeffler, who led Johns Hopkins to three of the last four NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournaments, is returning to Division I. The Blue Jays head coach stepped down to take an assistant coaching spot at Division I University of Cincinnati.
The Bearcats announced the hiring on Friday.
“I’m excited to announce Josh Loeffler as a key addition to our staff,” said Cincinnati head coach Wes Miller in the University’s release. “He brings a strong head coaching resume to go with a wealth of experience at the Division I level. Josh is one of the bright young minds of college basketball.”
Loeffler started his head coaching career at Stevens where he won 46 games in two seasons. He then left Division III for an assistant position at Division I Lafayette where he spent four seasons. He spent one season as the Director of Operations at Rutgers and then moved to Loyola (Md.) for four seasons.
At the end of the 2016-17 season, Johns Hopkins’ long-time head coach Bill Nelson stepped down, opening the vacancy that Loeffler filled very successfully. The Blue Jays won 24 games and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Loeffler’s first season, earning him Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year honors.
Loeffler led Johns Hopkins to the NCAA Tournament three more times including a 25-5 mark and Sweet 16 performance this past season. Overall, Loeffler went 114-27 in five seasons at JHU, taking his record as a Division III head coach to 160-40. Loeffler was twice named regional coach of the year, once with Stevens and once with Johns Hopkins.
While Loeffler has left Division III for Division I before, this jump seems more permanent. He joins the staff of a Bearcats program that is moving to the Big 12 and could lead to an eventual assistant head coaching or head coaching post at that level. His prior move to Division I took him to the Patriot League, which has several ties to Division III basketball.