Coaching Carousel: Best and worst from largely underwhelming spring
With George Washington deciding Monday to fire coach Karl Hobbs, there are now just
Still, there was plenty to sift through as the changes came fast and furious over the last few weeks. Here, then, is your resident Hoop Thinker's take on the best and worst of the 2011 coaching carousel:
Martin has a proven track record. He spent eight years as an assistant at Purdue, and in just three years as the head coach at Missouri State he took the Bears from a middling Missouri Valley team to one that won the regular season championship. He has excellent playing credentials from his decorated career at Purdue and his brief stint in the NBA, which will go over well on the recruiting trail. Finally, he is a man of high character, which was revealed through his successful battle with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. If Tennessee fans give Martin the support he deserves instead of the derision he doesn't, he will reward them with a winner.
So I'm happy to see guys like Matt Langel (Temple assistant hired by Colgate), Paul Lusk (Purdue to Missouri State), Steve Masiello (Louisville to Manhattan), Archie Miller (Arizona to Dayton), Mark Montgomery (Michigan State to Northern Illinois), Rob Murphy (Syracuse to Eastern Michigan), Lewis Preston (Penn State to Kennesaw State), King Rice (Vanderbilt to Monmouth), Dave Rice (BYU to UNLV) and Rodney Terry (Texas to Fresno State) get their big breaks. Of course, now they also have a head coach's problems, so best of luck to them.
In Lexington he did not deal well with the public or the media, and had one notorious incident where he was so angry at a player (Josh Harrellson) that he ordered him to sit in a bathroom stall during the coach's halftime talk. Gillispie has also had multiple DUI arrests. He has since admitted to having a drinking problem and put himself through John Lucas' rehab center in Houston.
I'm hoping that Gillispie has straightened out his personal life and learned some valuable lessons about how to treat people, but time will tell whether his hiring in Lubbock is worth this considerable risk.
I like Haith and I do think he's a good coach, but in seven years at Miami he posted a .384 winning percentage in the ACC and made the NCAA tournament once. Had Haith stayed at Miami he would have entered next season at the top of everybody's hot-seat list. Part of an AD's job is to empower the coach he hires, and I fear Alden has put Haith in a position where it will be very hard for him to succeed.
Yes, a search firm can provide some helpful information, especially regarding salaries and buyout clauses, but the main purpose of the search firm is to keep the details of the process out of the media. Yet most of the time those details leak out anyway. Nor is it difficult to connect the dots between a search firm helping a school hire an AD to the AD's decision to use that same search firm to hire a coach. This part of the process is pointless and corrupt, and I predict its days are numbered.
In eight years at Dayton, Gregory brought the Flyers to two NCAA tournaments, and the last two years they finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Atlantic 10. Yes, Gregory spent six years as an assistant to Tom Izzo at Michigan State, but he's also a Midwestern native with no natural recruiting ties to the south. The Yellow Jackets are going to be really bad next year, so it would help Gregory's cause if he could sign a prominent local recruit or two to keep the local skeptics at bay for a little while.
If Capel is found to have committed wrongdoing, then Castiglione's decision to cut him loose will have been justified. But if Capel is exonerated by the NCAA, his firing will be one of the more egregious examples of the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mindset that has come to plague college athletics.
No disrespect to Fairfield, but if schools like Butler, Gonzaga, Richmond and VCU can lock up their coaches when they're in high demand, there's no reason why Princeton couldn't have done the same for Sydney Johnson. Princeton athletic director Gary Walters seems to be under the impression that it's such a big honor to coach at Princeton that the school doesn't need to pay its coach at market value. Johnson proved him wrong.