Which new coach inherits the most (and least) favorable situation?
Twelve major-conference teams changed coaches this offseason, and the situations they stepped into were far from equal. One re-secured his predecessor's entire, loaded recruiting class in a 36-hour tour (Wake Forest's
This week, when it was reported that junior center
He was aware, at least, of some of what would happen in Eugene; the personnel issues were part of the reason the Ducks' primary candidates had passed on the job. "We knew coming in that there were going to be some defections," Altman said. "[Athletic director]
What Altman couldn't have anticipated was that injuries among the remaining players -- to the point that the Ducks were practicing with just six guys -- would force him to postpone an exhibition tour of Italy until next year. Or that shortly after, Dunigan would head overseas on his own. On Tuesday, Altman addressed the Dunigan situation by saying only, "Some factors came up later in the summer that may have influenced his decision [to go pro]." Oregon would release a statement later that night stating that it had conducted an internal investigation into the eligibility of former players, with Dunigan reportedly being one of those who may have received improper benefits.
This is not the kind of debut offseason Altman wanted, but things aren't all bad: He has a seven-year contract, he has
Bzdelik said that leaving for Wake Forest was really a "no-brainer." But before he left the Buffs, whom he took over as a seven-win team in 2007, he said, "I thought hard about all the blood, sweat and toil of getting Colorado to where it is now, knowing that they're going to take off." That's why Boyle steps into an extremely favorable situation: The former Northern Colorado coach takes over the only major-conference post that was vacated by someone who upgraded jobs, and gets a roster that already includes a first-round NBA talent in sophomore guard
The only factor that keeps Bzdelik's gig from being No. 1 on this list? The level of expectations, given that he's replacing a guy who had a 61-31 record over the past three seasons and was fired for not winning enough in the NCAA tournament. There won't be any patience for mediocrity at Wake. What makes Bzdelik's situation such a good one is that he's stepping into a very stable program:
Willard will earn goodwill at the Hall for simply not being Gonzalez, who was fired for a "pattern of behavior" and then proceeded to behave even more absurdly after getting axed -- by allegedly
Senior shooting guard
The Tigers lost their best player,
I'm skeptical that St. John's can ever be a power again, for many of the same reasons
The Cornell squad that Donahue took to the Sweet 16 was far superior to the one he inherits at BC, but its roster is far from barren. The transfer of senior
Hoiberg's status as an Iowa State legend will earn him more patience with his fan base than, say, new Iowa boss
We discussed the bulk of the Ducks' issues above, but there a few things worth adding: Altman will face pressure to put a quality product in the Ducks' new arena in a relatively short time-frame, and therefore his biggest task is quickly re-focusing Oregon's recruiting. Kent had leveraged his connections in Chicago and Detroit to load the roster with Midwesterners, who mostly bolted during the regime change. "Our core needs to come from the West Coast," Altman said this week, recalling that Oregon's last great team, in 2002, was comprised of stars from the region. "We're going to make a concerted effort to recruit in the Northwest, as well as California, Arizona and Nevada." Currently the Ducks only have three scholarship players from those states:
The Tigers, like Oregon, are excited about opening a nice, new arena ... but they'll have even less to showcase in it this season than the Ducks will. Four of Auburn's five starters from last season were seniors. Their best returning player, junior guard
Rutgers would've been a very attractive team to take over had sophomore stars
Rice, whose Robert Morris team nearly upset second-seeded Villanova in this past NCAA tournament, doesn't have the pieces to avoid finishing in or near the Big East cellar. The reason his situation isn't the most unfavorable of any new coach, though, is because he has one decent building block (sophomore forward
Lickliter didn't have any NCAA scandals during his Iowa tenure, but it was a disaster in all other respects, with 5-13 and 4-14 Big Ten records the past two seasons, lackluster recruiting and a mass exodus of players.
Purnell left a stable situation at Clemson for a DePaul program that went 1-35 in the Big East over the past two seasons, and is at rock-bottom. He said the school is "very committed to restoring a tradition" -- and it's paying him a reported $15 million over seven years to do so. But can DePaul, with its depleted roster (its top two players from '09-10,
It could take 4-5 years before Blue Demons fans see any real progress, and given the amount of money they're shelling out for Purnell, how much patience will he be afforded? He likes rebuilding efforts, having pulled them off at Old Dominion, Dayton and Clemson, but the only thing that's enviable about this one is the paycheck.