Over the summer we identified the coaches we thought would need to pull some magical seasons to likely retain their job. At the very least starting to sweat a little. Here is that list and the underwhelming seasons they were coming off of. In some cases, we thought it was more of a cumulative mediocrity building up at places like Clemson.
|Patrick Ewing||Georgetown||6-25 (0-19) #194 NET|
|Jeff Capel||Pitt||11-21 (6-14) #193 NET|
|Kevin Keats||NC State||11-21 (4-16) #139 NET|
|Josh Pastner||Georgia Tech||11-20 (5-15) #157 NET|
|Mark Fox||California||12-20 (5-15) #150 NET|
|Bobby Hurley||Arizona State||14-17 (10-10) #100 NET|
|Chris Collins||Northwestern||14-16 (7-13) #91 NET|
|Mike Hopkins||Washington||17-15 (11-9) #113 NET|
|Brad Brownell||Clemson||17-16 (8-12) #81 NET|
|Jay Ladner||USM||5-26 (1-17) #341 NET|
|Brian Gregory||USF||8-23 (3-15) #245 NET|
|Jeff Jones||Old Dominion||13-19 (8-10) #201 NET|
|Ron Sanchez||Charlotte||17-14 (10-8) #188 NET|
|Billy Lange||Saint Joseph||11-19 (5-13) #182 NET|
|Wayne Tinkle||Oregon State||3-28 (1-19) #255 NET|
Even as bad as it could get it would be hard to fire some of these coaches. Jeff Capel for example who is the 16th highest paid coach in the nation and under contract until 2027. Financial situation may dictate if these schools can even move on. The college basketball season is nearly a third of the way in for many teams so lets take a look where these teams are now.
|Bobby Hurley||Arizona State||9-1||30|
|Kevin Keats||NC State||8-2||56|
Mr. Ladner this is how you turn a program around. We thought Southern Miss had a nice off-season adding, but two quality Mercer transfers including Haase, who we ranked as one of the top transfers. This is still beyond anything we expected. While I think this is still really noisy, and they likely drop back to 100-125th, I would move him into the safe category. I believe all the other coaches are currently doing well and off the hot seat for the time being too. It’s especially impressive when coaches like Sanchez and Collins lost major transfers in Nance and Young and have started like this. Of course, there is a lot of seasons left and things could change quickly.
|Josh Pastner||Georgia Tech||6-3||137|
|Jeff Jones||Old Dominion||6-4||157|
These seats still have a lot of warmth to them given investments in the coach or support overall. In some cases, they are just starting to wear their welcome out after years of not breaking through. They are doing enough that you could see them being retained but these could still go either way.
|Wayne Tinkle||Oregon State||4-5||224|
|Billy Lange||Saint Joseph||3-5||303|
I think these coaches should be making arrangements. If that means finding an off ramp to another job, planning a vacation whatever is the next step. I can’t see any of them returning if these rankings remain 175+ at these levels of jobs. Frankly, I’m surprised most of them were even allowed back after last season.
Many of them had predictable outcomes as their last head coaching jobs as well. Gregory was fired at Georgia Tech. Fox did little at Georgia in nearly a decade, Lange was 93-114 at Navy when he was hired. Ewing has no other real successes, and Tinkle has no consistency even when he does good things. These are all contributing factors as well as how bad it has gotten currently.
|Leonard Hamilton||Florida State||1-9||291|
It would be easy to say Jim Boeheim gets to set his terms and walk when he wants and not include him on this list. The problem is he’s pretty much set his terms of exit for the last half-decade. I think most Syracuse fans thought he would retire after his sons left and have given that space. Maybe he should have retired after a 16-17 (9-11) last year where his net wasn’t even as high as his age (78 years old).
Boeheim is a legend and no doubt he wants to go out on a high note, so this is a hard situation. The bigger problem I see if you are in this situation is that he signed more freshmen than anyone. The only schools signing as many included Duke, Arkansas, and FSU. Duke and Arkansas also signed some quality transfers too. While other coaches were out heavy in the portal and college basketball is older than ever with covid super seniors you can’t sign freshmen IMO. What was he planning for, 2 or 3 years from now? If any coach needed to microwave a program for a quick turnaround it was Boehiem given the few remaining years regardless.
We’ve seen a similar situation like this play out with legendary coaches after 75 like Bobby Bowden. I expect this will be less drastic than that, but you would have to imagine there will be a group of people saying it’s time to retire and that’s how this ends if there isn’t a significant turnaround. If not this season he certainly enters next season with less patience and a seat that is ablaze.
This is a very similar situation with a 70-something-year-old coach that went heavy on freshmen coming off a 104 ranked NET season. His top freshman Baba Miller is suspended which will give him an excuse, but still there isn’t much excuse for being 1-9 #291 NET currently. He’s also not the legend at Florida State Boeheim is. I do believe he will be retired or get the Bobby Bowden treatment, unfortunately.
Lanier might not get fired, but his seat has been fired up and will be warm if this continues with what SMU pays. We highly disliked this move this off-season. Tim Jankovich was fired / retired for literally being the first team left out of the NCAA’s and the #1 seed in the NIT. They also had probably the best guard in the nation returning. They paid 2 million a year to Lanier to blow it up after one auto bid at Georgia State where the team was like 130th NET. He also had previously been fired at Sienna for a 6-24 season in year 4.
This is another move I didn’t understand with Louisville’s resources. They could pretty much have 90% of the coaches in college basketball, and they went for an older coach with zero proven head coaching experience. The reasoning seemed to be pretty much because he was an alum and coached in the state. I said at the time I’d rather have had Chris Mack.
I think Payne could have survived a 200th ranked type of bad season with no problem, but he’s currently 360th, nearly the worst team in college basketball with probably top 5 basketball resources. How the hell does that happen? It’s almost unbelievable with 1800 transfers available this off-season that Louisville couldn’t snag enough to be top 200 of 363 teams. There are 5 D2’s moving up this year that he’s currently behind, and they got beat by an 11-win D2 in an exhibition without 2 of their top players and nearly lost to another one to put it into perspective.
Louisville is projected to go 4-27 with a 296 NET. That might actually be enough to get buyout talks started and a chance to start over. It’s that bad and unprecedented a situation to have a school like this project as a 300 ranked team, especially in this new age of free agency and transfer.