ESPN reports that Miami is going to speak with Tommy Amaker about its vacant head coaching position, which got me thinking: how little success can you have as a major Division I basketball coach and still continue to get jobs? In the same report, sources say that The U has no interest in speaking with Frank Martin, who was rumored to be interested in the job. All Frank Martin has done at Kansas State is have success there. Before his recent moderate success at Harvard, what has Tommy Amaker done as a head coach in college basketball? I’m not going to bore you with the numbers, but suffice to say that in his ten combined years with Seton Hall and Michigan, Amaker made one NCAA Tournament. Most recently, his Harvard squad lost a one-game playoff to rival Princeton for a chance to go to his second big dance–incidentally, Harvard was heavily favored in that game.
Look, I hate to come at Amaker so hard, but this is more of an indictment of the college system right now. For instance, why did Sidney Lowe ever get hired at NC State? He never won as a coach and then, shocker, he didn’t win with his alma mater. What on earth did Frank Haith do to land the Missouri job? Was having exactly zero winning seasons in ACC play during his time at Miami what they were looking for in a new head coach? There are countless other examples that I just don’t have the sanity to go through right now, but my point is: is just having been a coach at the major-conference level enough to keep getting these guys jobs? At some point, don’t you have to demonstrate your ability to win, and win on a consistent basis? I am almost dumbfounded at this point.
I’d love to see more guys from the mid-majors who are proven winners get their crack at some of these coaching jobs in the major conferences. It just doesn’t seem like that is the trend right now. Since when did paying your dues and proving yourself not mean anything in college basketball anymore?
**UPDATE: Reports are that Amaker is saying he will be staying at Harvard. I’m not sure if that means that he isn’t interested in The U or The U isn’t as interested in him as maybe we originally thought. Either way, probably a good move for Amaker. He wouldn’t be inheriting all that much at Miami, whereas he has a pretty good thing going at Harvard in terms of building a program, and there is most definitely a longer shelf-life coaching at Harvard than Miami. Stay tuned.