Most college coaches are given one real shot at making an impact and leaving a legacy. It’s a win or go home type career path, with tons of fame and fortune if you’re the former but endless disgust and resentment if you find yourself in the latter category.
Hopping Herb, could find himself on this list soon enough...
Sure, there’s plenty of bench bouncers and job jumpers, who seem to find their way from school to school, mid-major to mid-major or from Raleigh, NC to Arizona State (Hello, Herb Sendek and Lon Kruger). But, many college basketball coaches open and close their head coaching careers with one bad screw up.
The lucky are afforded another opportunity, or two, or five. But, how do they fare?
This year the likes of: Billy Gillispie, Mark Gottfried, and others were all given a second chance at life in the NCAA ranks. They’ve each enjoyed some success in their career but the questions still linger.
Will Gillispie prosper as he did in College Station or will he flounder like he did at Kentucky? Is Mark Gottfried the right man for N.C State, in the post Sidney Lowe era, or will his days of mediocrity in Tuscaloosa stick with him?
The queries will keep piling up amongst fans and foes alike. The unnerving “what if” scenarios will continue to fuel the fire if immediate gratification isn’t found in the form of wins and losses. And legacies will endure further criticism and scrutiny, as analysts and experts view the actions of each journeyman with a microscopic lens.
Here’s our first edition of Twithitters. Here’s the quick idea- have a rundown of important games, power polls, rankings, etc. with a brief “Twitter” response. So short and sweet. Mayo and Luke disobeyed the rules of Twitter but we’ll let it slide this time.
First topic, three best/worst off-season coaching hires.
Top 3 Hires:
Arkansas finds the perfect guy.
- Mike Anderson, Arkansas – Proven coach who has won with “40 minutes of hell” at 2 different spots. Bringing fans back to the Nolan Richardson championship days. Perfect fit.
- Lon Kruger, Oklahoma – All 54 places he coached at he has won. Sooners fans will be pleasantly surprised to have winning basketball before spring football.
- Ed Cooley, Providence – Getting a local boy who turned around Fairfield ain’t bad. Stealing one of Jim Calhoun’s top recruiters will get the Friar faithful excited.
- Mike Anderson, Arkansas – This isn’t rocket science. Not only does Arkansas get a coach with a proven track record, but also a guy who has been there before as an assistant. This hire has rejuvenated an admittedly stagnant fan base as memories of former head coach Nolan Richardson begin to percolate with Anderson’s arrival.
- Jim Larranaga, Miami – Miami looked doomed to make a desperation hire after being rebuked by Tommy Amaker, who thought that Harvard was a better job than The U. Yes, Harvard. Instead, they get a guy who has been to a Final Four and has a proven track record. Harvard?
- Bill Gillispie, Texas Tech – The Red Raiders go from a guy who used his nepoticious (ok, I made that word up—see Bob Knight) connections to get his head coaching job to a guy who has earned everything that he’s achieved. Gillispie was never a good fit personality-wise at Kentucky. Tech feels much more like Texas A&M where Gillispie put his name on the map.
- Mike Anderson, Arkansas: A gift! In Anderson, Arkansas is getting a Nolan Richardson clone. He’s a solid recruiter and a master motivator, always getting the most out of his players. With a solid class on it’s way the former Mizzou man could bring the Razorbacks back to national prominence once more.
- Dave Rice, UNLV: A former player and Rebel at heart, Rice should return the Runnin Rebels style of the early 90’s and reenergize college ball in Vegas. He did a terrific job at BYU and with some solid assistants -Stacey Augmon (Denver Nuggets)/Justin Houston (SDSU) – the Rebels should hit the ground running.
- Ed Cooley, Providence: After turning a seemingly non-existent Fairfield program into a conference champion two years running, Cooley has experience taking lemons and turning them into lemonade. Cooley is great on the recruiting trail and with a little luck could have the Friars back in the tourney in two years.
Bottom 3 Hires:
I guarantee I will make one NCAA tournament in the next seven years.
- Jim Larranaga, Miami – Because “The U” didn’t hire Frank Martin. A terrific basketball coach who actually wants to coach at Miami. Not settle down and retire like Jimmy boy.
- Mark Gottfried, NC State – Debbie Yow made this coaching search into a pissing match between her and Gary Williams. She threw her new coach under the bus in the process.
- Frank Haith, Missouri – Strike out on Matt Painter. Panic. Hire Frank Haith. Couldn’t get a hold of Paul Hewitt or Sidney Lowe?
- Frank Haith, Missouri – Missouri fans lost a guy they loved in Mike Anderson. Then, they thought they were getting Matt Painter from Purdue. Instead, they get the next best thing. Well, if not the next best then at least close, right? Wait, what? WHAT was his record in the ACC while at Miami? 43-and-what? 43-and-69? Uh oh…
- Brian Gregory, Georgia Tech – Usually when an ACC school hires a coach from a smaller, mid-major type program, it’s a guy who has achieved great success there and the whole program is sad to see him go. If the guy’s previous fan base is breaking out into song upon his departure, you might have wanted to re-evaluate.
- Mark Gottfried, NC State – Gottfried did have moderate success during his run as the Alabama head coach, but just because he will be an upgrade over Sidney Lowe doesn’t make him a great hire. Here’s a guy who want after a Wake Forest recruit the day after Skip Prosser passed away and walked out on his team mid-season in ’09. Yeah, he’ll be able to recruit against Roy Williams and Coach K…
- Larry Krystkowiak, Utah: Rick Majerus why have you forsaken us? Just because a guy can win at Montana and Idaho doesn’t mean he can compete with UCLA, Arizona and the PAC-12 crop. I’ll give it 4 years before Utah is looking for a new coach and Krystkowiak is back in the unemployment line.
- Frank Haith, Missouri: Really? I’m sure you’ll be receiving the complimentary fruit basket from Iowa State welcoming you to the Big 12 cellar any day now.
- Cuonzo Martin, Tennessee: Don’t dislike the coach as much as the situation. Martin did a great job at Missouri State but is entering a hostile situation in Knoxville. With an NCAA investigation pending, an already thin roster and possible penalties on the way this job would be a bad move for anyone.