The good, the bad and the ugly in offseason coaching carousel
While this spring shined unflattering light on the restrictions players often face in trying to switch programs, the annual coaching carousel showed once again that coaches' freedom to move remains unfettered. This year's carousel wasn't packed with big-name openings, but there was still a significant amount of intrigue generated as men cashed in on NCAA tournament success and conference realignment continued to exert pressure on straggling programs.
Here's a rundown of the most notable coaching changes as hiring season comes to an end:
The Ponies' convoluted/desperate search can't hold a candle to what went down in Blacksburg, Va., last month. The Hokies waited three weeks after the Final Four to can nine-year man Seth Greenberg, who did a credible job in charge at Virginia Tech but seems to have ticked off just about everyone associated with the program. After numerous assistants fled for other jobs, athletic director Jim Weaver called a press conference to fire Greenberg without even telling the coach he was getting the gate. Weaver then brought back former lead assistant James Johnson, who had left two weeks earlier for an assistant role at Clemson. The combination of events is very unflattering to Greenberg, who suffered some legitimately bad luck/timing/injuries in Tech's near-misses for the NCAAs and now has been outed as a bad guy whose development/direction of the program is not the primary reason he got fired.
In the meantime, Currie underwhelmed in landing former Illinois coach Bruce Weber as Martin's replacement. There's a good chance Weber can follow in Frank Haith's Big 12 footprints and win in the short term with the Wildcats' solid returning cast, but as nice a guy and decent a coach as Weber is, this doesn't feel like a very good fit in the medium-term and beyond. Plus, it enhances K-State's little brother image, as Kansas hired a coach away from Illinois while the Wildcats hired a coach Illinois told to go away. Not a good look, but Weber's rep as a "clean" head coach may also speak to some undertones as to how Currie wants things to run. He also got rid of a coach he didn't want without having to pay him off, which is a neat budget-boosting trick. Final judgment on the move will have to wait.