Being a head coach in Division 1 basketball is a very demanding year round job. Recruiting is non-stop, and getting players to perform on the court and in the classroom are all part of the job description. There are some coaches who can do it for decades, while others don’t last.
However, there is one thing that a basketball coach must do in order to keep his job or land a more high profile one.That is to WIN. It is very simple. If you win, you will have a job. If you struggle, you might be on the unemployment line hoping a university will take another chance on you.
In this article we will go in-depth on who we believe are 5 coaches who must have a good season in order to keep their jobs as well as the 5 best coaching hires that were made this past off-season. Here is your “NCAA Basketball Coaching News”.
THE SEAT IS HOT FOR THESE 5 COACHES
(In no particular order)
1.Richard Pitino (Minnesota): The son of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, the 34-year old has really struggled the past 2 seasons, going a combined 26-38. After winning 8 total games in 2015-16, how much patience will the Golden Golphers athletic director have if the upcoming season resembles last year?
2.Kim Anderson (Missouri): A former Missouri player back in the 1970’s, Anderson entered a difficult situation when he took over in 2 years ago as the Tigers self-imposed a postseason ban. After winning a total of 19 games with only 6 SEC wins the past 2 seasons, an NIT berth at the very least is probably needed for Anderson to return in 2017-18.
3.John Groce (Illinois): It wasn’t too long ago that the Fighting Illini were among the Big 10 elite teams. Groce’s 4 years leading Illinois have not been very good. Having missed the NCAA tournament the past 3 seasons, will the passionate Illinois fan-base settle for anything less than not being a part of March Madness this season?
4.Mike Anderson (Arkansas): Anderson has a respectable 102-64 record in his 5 seasons as head coach at Arkansas. However, he only has 1 NCAA tournament appearance to show for it. The Razorback fans expect to be playing meaningful games in March and if they aren’t this season, a search for a new coach will probably be happening.
5.Lorenzo Romar (Washington): Having Romar’s name on this list may surprise some people. However, for all the high end talent that he has brought into the program and NBA first round picks that he produces, the Huskies haven’t been dancing in March since 2012. Incoming freshmen star Markelle Fultz might be the last hope for Romar at UW.
THE 5 BEST NEW HIRES
(In no particular order)
1.Jamie Dixon (TCU): Dixon enjoyed tremendous success at Pittsburgh, however the last few years were not up to the standards that Dixon was used to. In a surprising move to us, he jumped at the chance to help turn his Alma mater around. A former TCU player, Dixon we be asked to bring the Horned Frogs back to respectability. They haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 1998. A tough task is ahead of Jamie Dixon. However, if he can bring TCU to an eventual NCAA berth, he will be a legend forever.
2.Brad Underwood (Oklahoma State): Underwood isn’t a name known around the country, however he is a phenomenal head coach. He was previously the coach at Stephen F. Austin, where his teams lost one conference game in 3 years. He has also enjoyed success during March Madness, as the Lumberjacks upset 2 high seeds in 3 years. He will get the Cowboys to play defense. It may take a year or 2 but we expect Underwood to get the program back among the upper echelon in the Big-12.
3.Bryce Drew (Vanderbilt): The 41-year old ended up coaching at Valparaiso, where he was a former star. He won 4 Horizon League titles during his tenure there, as making a move to a bigger conference was only a matter of time. Vanderbilt fired Kevin Stallings, who is now the head coach at Pittsburgh. Drew is a very good coach, although we believe Vanderbilt is a hard job to consistently win at due to their high academic qualifications. The former NBA player will bring a needed jolt of youthful enthusiasm and leadership that seemed to be lacking at the SEC school the last couple of seasons.
4.Tubby Smith (Memphis): Every school Tubby Smith coaches at he wins. Although he is getting up there in age, he will provide structure for a team that seemed to be in flux under new Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner. He has taken 5 teams to the NCAA tournament. We will not be surprised in the least if he makes it 6 with the Tigers. If he does, he will be the only head coach in NCAA history to do so.
5.Steve Pikiell (Rutgers): Pikiell is going into a very difficult situation at Rutgers, who just couldn’t get anything going with ex-coach Eddie Jordan. Pikiell won 4 America East titles at Stony Brook. He will get Rutgers to play disciplined basketball even with a glaring lack of Big 10 talent currently on its roster. The one big benefit that he has going for him is the fertile recruiting area that is right around Rutgers. It is imperative that he starts landing top recruits from the New Jersey/New York area. It will take time but Steve Pikiell seems like the right man for this big rebuilding task.